MISANDRY – The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

And building on my last post, here’s something from the UK

This is about socialization. This article refers to a study of school children in Britain over a period of years that looked at gender stereotypes. Researchers surveyed children about their perceptions of which children were clever or well-behaved according to gender. The results were sickening,though expected. Researchers also tracked grades given to the children and noticed patterns of discrimination which mirrored the stereotypes the children expressed.

Doris Lessing noticed a broader pattern of this disparagement and that it was a form of discrimination ten years ago.

This is reminiscent of the attitudes that older women report girls used to face in generations past in schools and in higher education.

The gender of the teachers would have been a useful variable to study. It would have been interesting to see if the negative perceptions of boys influenced the boys’ self-perception when they were taught by male teachers. Perhaps with men in the classroom negative comments about boys and other socializing influences would be less convincing. But of course for that to have been studied it would have been necessary to find boys taught by male teachers, and they are nearly non-existent these days. This is disadvantage the girls in earlier times I mentioned above presumably did not labor under until they entered university settings.


1. Examine your own attitudes and perceptions for misandry, not only because you will pass your misandrist attitudes along to your sons but also because misandrist attitudes can blind you to misandrist actions and situations you observe.

2. Scrutinize your son’s classroom setting:

2.a. Disparate enforcement of norms – are boys punished more frequently or more harshly for misconduct than girls? Are boys graded lower for the same quality of work?  Are boys stigmatized for  behavior that is expected of and promoted in girls?.

2.b. Disparate valuations – Is misconduct more associated with boys punished more often or more harshly than misconduct most often associated with girls – i.e . are pushing, running around or loud talk punsished while tattling, dog-like compliance and lack of initiative, or crying are permitted or even celebrated as “more mature”? Are work assignments designed to accommodate girls more than boys? Remember this can negatively affect your daughters too, since these gender biased methods may not be best for them either.

2.c. Disparate outcomes – yes, what we are looking for is equality of opportunity rather than mandating identical outcomes, but in order to identify opportunities you often have only the outcomes to signal that there is a problem. Disparate outcomes MAY reflect disparate opportunities and that makes them a red flag, and since it’s your child and the stakes are high, you can’t afford to ignore a red flag.

3. Examine the teacher specifically and then go beyond that to then environment in the whole school. Indicators:

3.a. Patterns of which students get awards and recognition

3.b. School-wide patterns of discipline and punishment

4. Expect for find strongly pro-boy women teachers and rather misandrist male teachers. Yes, our children need affirmative action in their schools to achieve full gender parity among their teachers, but it is counter-productive to assume that all men will be good for boys and all women negative. It simply does not turn out to be like that, as you will find when you start looking.

5. Likewise do not expect fathers of other students to be allies. You will often find that it is the mothers of boys who are the most likely to fight this kind of discrimination against their sons. There may be lots of reasons for this but one certainly is that the fathers were subjected to this themselves – it’s not really all that new –and they will have accepted it. The mothers were probably unaware of this growing up even if they witnessed it every day, but then when its directed at their child, the mama grizzly comes out.


It’s obvious that boys are first order victims here, but that does not mean that girls aren’t harmed too. Here are some ways they are harmed:

1. Bigotry deforms your personality. Bigoted stereotypes of males will interfere with healthy relationships with brothers and husbands.

 2. Failure to discipline girls for bad behavior will foster a princess attitude of immunity.

3. It also leaves the female victims of female aggressors less protected than if their aggressors are male.

4. A false sense of superiority will put them at a disadvantage in their work life (and probably already does, and probably accounts for a lot of their complaints of sexism in corporate and other settings in later life. 

Does anyone really think this is happening only in Britain, or only among these children?

29 thoughts on “MISANDRY – The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

  1. Careful with disparate impact stuff.
    It’s possible the rules are stupid and/or anti-boy to an extent that they weren’t say, 50 years ago. Certainly all the medicating of boys going on, indicates an issue with typical classroom management. But that doesn’t mean boys don’t violate more of the rules than girls, whatever the rules are.

  2. “Careful with disparate impact stuff.”

    Absolutely. It is inherently shaky. And it is never, to my mind anyway, dispositive. It is an indicator of a probelm, not evidence of a causal factor. I tried to bring that out in that paragraph.

    “But that doesn’t mean boys don’t violate more of the rules than girls, whatever the rules are.”

    I am almost certain that is true. That merely states the problem though, it does not explain it or excuse inaction. The question is what conditions that disparity. After all, when girls stay out of STEM courses, we leave no stone unturned or specious theory or accusation untried to analyse what is turning them away from courses, what is making them feel unwelcome in clases, why they complete the courses but then fail to advance in those careers. Oh, and they are never, ever blamed for any of their choices or failures. Boys on the other hand, even little boys, are blamed right and left. They are just misbehaving, the wicked oppressors; nothing the fragile, dainty female ADUILT in the room can do anything about……..

    As I say, it would be interesting to see how well boys behave with male teachers vice female teachers. I doubt any such study exists.

  3. Gingko:

    Ok, you are right.
    And clearly no-one is going to do any such study of boys/male teachers versus boys/female teachers. No one is really interested in finding out, it would violate too many taboos about how all normal behavior is “female” behavior and about how males and females are exactly the same, on average, in learning styles.

    This being said, I’m sure there are good female teachers even if boys *hypothetically* did turn out on average better with men. Most female teachers aren’t downright misandrists, and some ( I’m sure and would be willing to bet) even have more male friendly teaching styles. And of course there are female teachers who favor males over females.

    There’s lots of ways to screw kids up. This gets complicated.

  4. “This being said, I’m sure there are good female teachers even if boys *hypothetically* did turn out on average better with men.”

    I was trained by one, my son had at least two who were outstanding, and I encountered some really good ones during the time I taught. The teacher who trained me was given all ther ADHD boys because she was so good with boys in genral and with ADD kids in particular – even the girls, who often go unnoticed and get ignored.

    Part of her secret was just that she was not your average fill-in-the-worksheet kind fo teachers, althought that style fits some kids perfectly. Teachers used ot all tkae the same personality test that really worked to help them understnad their own mental styles and understand when they did not connect with this or that kid. This teacher was “”concrete/random” which happens to be what a lot of boys are – it makes you a good creative thinker. A lot of girls are “concrete/sequential” and worksheets and repetitive, highly structured tasks work for them. As you age annd grow you supposedly drift toward the center of these quadrants. The point is that regardless of your own profile, you need to offer the material in at least these wtwo ways because in any class you are going to have about 80% in one or the other of these styles.

    ” it would violate too many taboos about how all normal behavior is “female” behavior …’

    Which has the effect of really shortchanging girls who have different style of behavior. They don’t even have the buffer of gender to cushion their misalignment.

  5. Thanks for posting this, it’s interesting.

    I wonder how much of the bias you describe is being driven by the parents, with teachers reacting to the parents? Are parents more protective of daughters than sons?

    When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember having this American literature teacher who was, without a doubt, biased against the boys in class. Not over-the-top biased, but it was pretty damn obvious that girls’ responses were were more valued than boys’ responses.

    I got so frustrated by the situation, I typed a satirical list of advice, including ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’, on how to succeed in her class and I posted it on bulletin boards around the school. It said stuff like:

    DO: Wear a dress, grow your hair long and talk in a high-pitched voice.

    DON’T: Have a penis.

    I had a teacher say it was “hilarious” and he pinned a copy in the teachers’ lounge.

  6. “The gender of the teachers would have been a useful variable to study. It would have been interesting to see if the negative perceptions of boys influenced the boys’ self-perception when they were taught by male teachers.”

    There is a study that goes well beyond this and cuts much deeper. The results of the study show that female teachers give boys lower marks. So to answer your questions, female teachers don’t simply talk about boys as if they were lesser, they actually grade boys as if they were lesser than they really are. It’s goes without saying that lower results means that boys will have less opportunity, less engagement (which was also shown in the study), and lower self esteem.

    Article on study: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/female-teachers-accused-of-giving-boys-lower-marks-6943937.html

    >>Ground-breaking research shows that boys lower their sights if they think their work is going to be marked by a woman because they believe their results will be worse.

    >> It also shows their suspicions are correct – female teachers did, on average, award lower marks to boys than unidentified external examiners. Male teachers, by contrast, awarded them higher marks than external examiners.

    >> He said the research, carried out among 1,200 children in 29 schools across the country, had shown a possible reason for the glaring gap in performance between girls and boys right through schooling.

    >>It also revealed that girls tried harder if they had a male teacher because they believed they would get better marks. Their suspicions were not borne out, though, as the male teachers tended to give them exactly the same marks as the external examiners.

    >Professor Smithers said: “It is fascinating research. It does stress the importance of independent marking for high-status examinations.”

    In summary, female teachers do directly hurt boys, as part of a gender bias,and in contrast to male teachers. So adding more male teacher would help to close the gender gap born of gender bias.

  7. Another reason for the gender gap has to do with teaching style as shown in this article. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23389856-boys-do-better-than-girls-when-taught-under-traditional-reading-methods.do

    Part of the reason I bring this up is because the study found that boys learning under the traditional (boy friendly, and technically girl friendly) teaching method had less behavioral problems.

    So boys behavioural problems can partly be attributed to a male unfriendly teaching method.

    While you might have been pointing out the bias against male behavior as leading to poorer grades, causal arrow can also be reversed.

  8. Typhon, thanks for this article. No issue can be more important than this.

    I would add another item:

    6) You can tell a great deal about a school’s attitude towards boys by the classroom layout. On average, boys respond poorly to distraction and peer-centric teaching environment. Do the chairs face the teacher, or do the students work in groups? The best environment for boys is tablets arranged on the long axis of the classroom; the worst environment for boys is “circle – 1″ and four pack “dinner table” arrangements. Side by side “caffeteria” and U-shaped “seminar” arrangements are an acceptable compromise that allows boys to focus, and also prevents girls from feeling isolated/intimidated.

  9. I am very concerned about over-medicating children, and it is primarily boys? Interested in any stats people have… do you look on pediatric sites for these? They don’t seem to divide them up by gender as much as they do by race and region. Cobb County, GA (where my husband is from) is one of the highest-medicated areas in the US. Can’t find any gender stats on that, though.

    I would like to write a post about the medicating of boys, so any info (or if you can point me to where they lock it up away from everyone!) is appreciated.

    As I have said, PRAXIS! Show me the privilege, I said… well, this is a good example of, SHOW ME THE MISANDRY, when you start forcibly drugging one gender more than the other, you’ve got some bang-up proof there.

    In fact, in the 60s, that was one thing the Second Wave had: incontrovertible proof that women were getting a huge majority of the psychoactive meds, heavy ones like Miltown, “Valley of the Dolls” etc. (Recommend Phyllis Chesler’s WOMEN AND MADNESS, and yes, I do know she has joined up with David Horowitz, before you tell me.)

    But yes, forcible drugging is likewise hard proof of what yall are saying, and I am on board with that, 100%.

  10. If I didn’t make it clear, above, I also think SOUTHERN BOYS get it worse… at least it appears these areas have much higher medication rates.

  11. Well, sadly the education doesn’t matter, the unidirectionals will cling to the wage gap, never mind how many occupational deaths or unscheduled overtime or the gender ratio of the population of Alaska are thrown back in response.

    Well now I’m depressed, time to eat fattening food.

  12. Wow, a raft of excellent cmments!

    Fondueguy, I was going to include referneces ot those studies you cite ebcause they are totally apposite, but then I forgot. This is a big enough subject that there will eb tiem for other posts.

    Daisy is really on to somethiong – the drugging of boys to make them docile and “girl-like” although there are plenty of girls who suffer by being jammed into that mud-pie amking gender norm too.

    I do think that Southern bouys get more of this. Partly it is cultural – i think especially blue-collar boys in the South get fed a cultural norm of redneck resistance culture and the bad boy image to live up to and this predisposes them to fall in with this kind of mistreatment, and of course predisposes others ot think it’s acceptable.

    If Daisy didn’t say this, I still think I heard it from her: these ADD meds are amphetamines and they are a gateway drug for meth. For various reasons the meth epidemic in rural America has not gotten the media or policy attention that the crack epidemic did – and looking at the Drug War carnage, that is probably a very good thing – but it has still been devastaing in its own right.

    Valerie, don’t let it get to you; dawn is breaking.

    Upthread, parents certainly are more protective of daughters, especially fathers. As I say, female teachers are often more pro-male than male rteachers are, even thought the mere presence of a male, any male, teacher is generally helpful, regardless of his actual attitudes.

  13. If Daisy didn’t say this, I still think I heard it from her: these ADD meds are amphetamines and they are a gateway drug for meth. For various reasons the meth epidemic in rural America has not gotten the media or policy attention that the crack epidemic did – and looking at the Drug War carnage, that is probably a very good thing – but it has still been devastaing in its own right.

    Yes I did say this, and thank you for remembering. It is one of my major CAUSES!

    In fairness, I first heard people talk about this in 12-step groups: “first they gave me Ritalin and then I took 4 of em, then I moved on to meth, same high…” and I thought whaaaat? I couldn’t believe (still can’t) that this isn’t being discussed as one of the major factors leading to meth addiction (in droves!) .. I would very much like to see some stats for the increase in ADD meds correlating with increases in meth addiction, accompanied by a MAP, which would really tell the tale.

  14. Daisy, so I did hear it from you. Thanks – it’s an important point and it needs to be made into a cause.

    “6) You can tell a great deal about a school’s attitude towards boys by the classroom layout.”

    Good catch, Anthony. I should have thought of that. It’s absolutely valid and I have perosnal experience of teaching (subbing in someone else’s room set up like this) with this arrangement, and it sucks. It was a language class and it was supposed ot facilitate conversation, which it did, but all in English unfortunately. The teacher was a useless macarena anyway, an overgrown Popular Girl who was less than committed to actually teaching anyone anything. The class spent weeks making pinatas when they should have been learning vocabulary. This was f*cking high school for God’s sake.

  15. I don’t know where to begin.

    First off when I was a kid in the 70′s and 80′s school seemed fair to me, regarding gender. These days, to me, it certainly seems that boys are deemed to be trouble. But it doesn’t only apply to boys. Girls are expected to be able to sit still and quietly all day long. I have three daughters all in public elementary school.

    Secondly, school is now about teaching for the tests. Work comprises asking questions in 12 different formats….11 of which are simply awkwardly worded nonsense. For example instead of asking for a definition of evaporation they’ll ask some oddball “how” or “why” question where the answer is simply “because reality is such that it is!!!!!!” (these oddball questions really infuriate me, I tell my wife that (and sorry for being offensive) “I don’t speak retard!”. There’s 20 different ways to ask the same question of “define evaporation”. Math isn’t about teaching how to solve problems it’s about using shortcuts to answer stupid questions. Kids aren’t taught standard algorithmic math (like us older folk were taught). It’s bad. Really bad. Just search for “everyday math” to get a taste of how bad.

    Thirdly, regarding ADD pills. One of my daughters is super smart (she has my brain it seems). Her memory is awesome but in school her maturity level is lower than the other kids. (Don’t even get me started on kids who are born, for example, in November having to ‘compete’ with kids born in January. And never mind those parents who decide to enter their children to school late so that now my already young daughter has to compete with student over a year older than her). Anyway we brought her to a neurologist at the schools suggestion and in 10 minutes she’s “diagnosed” with ADHD and prescribed Vyvanx (or something like that). Before giving it to her, I tried one. It’s fucking speed. Ridiculous. Anyway we told the teacher she’s been taking it, even though we aren’t giving it to her (the pills have been flushed), and like fucking magic the teacher is happier with my daughters behavior.

    Fourth, I’ll just mention that where the school lacks in academics, I pick up the slack. The school only seems to care about teaching to do well on those state tests. (Fuck you no child left behind). And having kids who can sit still and quiet. For me, school is not really about learning it’s about socialization with the other kids. So in this sense, I value it. But the academics are pretty bad.

    Fifth, I’m starting to get angry just thinking about it, so I’ll stop here. And again, my apologies for my terrible quality posts of late. I can not spend much time writing and editing, especially when it just makes me angry and on a topic that is HUGE in my everyday dealing with life. Arrgghhh.

  16. “And again, my apologies for my terrible quality posts of late.”

    We must be looking at different posts, debaser. I am about this far from posting that comment above as a post with only a few intepolated comments.

    One para that espeiiclaly hits home is about teaching the gimmicks instead of the substance of the course. Does it make people feel clever to know how to game a probelm instead of understanding it? And how irrepsonsible is it to teach kids to prefer that approach?

    BTW your daughter’s experience mirrors mine in elementary school.

  17. Debaser, they pressured my daughter also, I should have thought of doing what you did. I refused, got real loud and obnoxious about it, which I know hurt my daughter. :(

    I remember going to pick her up from school when she had become ill … I rounded the hall to the nurses station, and the kids were lined up all the way down the hall, I’d guess at least a hundred, maybe more. They were all CHATTERING and it reminded me of when my mom took me to the diet pill doctor as a teenager, and everybody was there lined up the same way, chattering and twitching like speed freaks. It was exactly the same! Deja Vu all over again! They were lined up to get their ADD drugs of course.

    The parents think this will give their kids an academic edge… doing medical transcription, I learned that some of them “agitate” to get the ADD diagnosis, so they can get the drugs for their kids. They doctor-shop until some doctor agrees with them. Seriously! (Also, I think some of the parents want them for weight loss or for their own nefarious reasons.)

    At this medical center (where I worked), the weeks before school started up again every autumn were primarily taken up with pediatric appts to get ADD drugs… a steady stream of kids drugged. Weeks and weeks, I would type the same things: more or less normal behavior deemed pathological. What I saw was mostly boys, I would estimate 70-30 percentage, boys to girls. But the girls who are drugged are (like the boys) the more spirited ones, so this cuts both ways, as Gingko said.

    This is tantamount to judging some personalities as lesser, as diseased. It makes me as angry as it does Debaser.

  18. “For me, school is not really about learning it’s about socialization with the other kids. So in this sense, I value it. But the academics are pretty bad. ”

    The socialization part of school scarred me for life. I could have done without the beatings, the bullying, the ostracization, finger-pointing to learn that humanity was shit. Give ultimate power to 10 years old, even better in High School…and you’ll get hell for the weird students who refuse to fit in at all costs like all the sheeps, or to be a leader. Being a lone wolf is doable…if you can bite back, if you’re judged as physically harmless, and not a case of “will kill you if pushed too far”, they’ll use you as a punching bag, simply because they can. And nobody cares or tells them to stop, it’s all in good fun apparently.

  19. Thank you for that, Schala.

    I fully agree. If school is about teaching students to be sociable, it does a piss-poor job. Now ‘socializing’ students is another matter entirely. I truly believe through both ignorance and design our public schools are mostly designed to produce people who put their heads down in a crowd lest they suffer the fate of the ostracized and “different”. That’s not a good thing.

  20. Well if it came down to intense bullying I’d probably pull my kids out of school but we’ll have to cross that bridge when/if we find it. Otherwise school offers life lessons that I simply can not teach them. For example, although not about school, my grandmother used to tell me to be careful when I ride my bike; to watch out for cars. This pretty much went in one ear and out the other. It wasn’t until I was almost run over by a car that I started to take riding and street safety seriously.

  21. Yeah, I agree with the socialization aspect of education.

    They just don’t do a good job and this is being polite. School environments are now a breeding ground for status seeking where anyone deemed weak, weird, awkward, or below the food chain are targeted for the worst sort of abuse ever.

    Seems like socialization means to them “Man up. Life sucks.” rather than life lessons unless that is a life lesson. Well excuse me for being a “Pussy” (as I’m probably going to be labeled by those who think bullying toughens you up) but I’d rather count on a safe environment instead of having to pay for it with weight lifting classes or karate lessons.

  22. How to deal with adults who are not family.
    How to deal with kids you don’t like.
    How it feels to get beaten at a game.
    How it feels to help someone or stand up for someone.
    How to make and keep friends.
    How to deal with gossip and drama.


    Being in the cozy confines of our house and yard do not offer enough opportunities to learn these sorts of things. A school environment does. This is what I value.

  23. Debaser:

    If you homeschool your kids and keep them locked up in the basement under lock and key then what you say is the truth.
    Otherwise to assert that homeschooled children don’t know how to make friends, deal with conflict, learn to lose, deal with gossip (oh, some public school kids have REALLY learned how to “deal with gossip” to the extent that they have killed themselves) is ridiculous.

  24. I can’t really enter into the scientific side of this debate, but I thought I should add a few thoughts as someone who survived this system (“survived” being the operative word. I very nearly didn’t).

    I was on anti-depressants, not Ritalin, but it ended up working out to about the same thing. Actually, I was on ADHD meds for a while (it took six doctors and two years to figure out that I have autism and another twelve years before anyone explained what that actually meant), but it caused mood swings so violent that my parents threw the stuff out. To be entirely fair, I was actually clinically depressed, but the medication only ever made that worse. It was much more convenient for them to assume a purely chemical cause than to admit that there was actually a reason for my depression (I got the shit beaten out of me by other kids pretty much every day, was socially ostracized and beaten and emotionally abused by social workers on top of that). I also spent 12 years in various special education programs, so I’ve seen the same happen to a lot of other kids, almost all of them boys.

    In addition to failing to make me less depressed, the medication I was on completely wrecked my ability to focus, which caused my grades to drop, and caused me to gain a lot of weight. No one told me anything about the side effects of anti-depressants, so I just thought it must be my own fault, and the messages I was getting from bullying peers and bullying ‘educators’ wasn’t doing anything to help that. At first I tried eating less and getting a lot of exercise, but of course it didn’t make much difference. Eventually, the lethargy brought on by the drugs and the aversion to competition and physical activity instilled in me by constant harping on stereotypes of dominant male violence caused me to almost entirely abandon physical activity. There were regular programs to teach people about body image issues and help them to recognize their problems and get help, but they were only targeted at girls. Since taking myself off the pills I’ve taken up bicycling and karate, developed muscle tone and lost a lot of weight (my waist is now basically as thin as it will get without removing part of my hip bone), but I still have a very negative body image and not a lot I can do about it.

    I want to stress that there are good teachers, male and female, in the public education system, but they’re outnumbered, they’re not in positions of power and the people who are in charge are doing everything they can to hinder those good teachers and make life miserable for them. Every good social worker I’ve ever met (about three) has been driven away from the public schools by insane administrative policies. The few male teachers I’ve had have all been excellent, while the women have been a decidedly mixed bag, but I would put that down more to discrimination in hiring practices than any inherent difference (I mean that men seem to need a lot more qualifications to get those jobs). The big division I have noticed is between people who just have degrees in teaching and people who are actually serious about their subjects. The schools are filled to bursting with people who simply do not have the knowledge they are intended to be passing on and could not care less about it. I’ve heard the infamous “let’s try to make this fun” from both kinds, but it means something decidedly different coming from the former than from the latter. For example: I was once (“almost always” would be more accurate) taught math by a woman who clearly neither knew nor cared about the subject. When she said “let’s make math fun”, she meant we would do a ridiculous and unrelated crafts project (containing geometric shapes does not automatically qualify something as geometry work). On the other hand, I was once taught math by a man who had his Master’s in the field (he also spoke seven languages and grew up in the middle east. Fascinating guy). When he said “Let’s make math fun” he meant we were going to take a break from geometry and take a look at some physics equations (“design and build a kite” sounds like a bullshit crafts project until they start asking you to calculate lift and wind resistance).

    These anti-academics have now completely failed multiple generations of children when it comes to basic education because they don’t know, don’t care and don’t want to be bothered. It leaves people completely unprepared to do anything with the knowledge their supposed to be acquiring and it’s going to have some massive and extremely unpleasant social consequences sometime very soon, if it hasn’t already.

  25. Regarding the suppression and pathologizing of certain personality types, I would like to add that they’ve expanded this well beyond the hyperactive and rambunctious. One of the main reasons I was put up for evaluation as a “troublemaker” in the first place was because I was asking “too many questions”. They’re punishing an active effort to learn and to engage with the material being taught. Their first response to this ‘problem’, coupled with a tendency to spend time on one’s own in a corner and become frightened and disoriented by large groups and loud noise, is to request medication. It’s systems and people like this that made me seriously question, and eventually dismiss, the idea that forgiveness is a virtue. Something serious has to be done about these people.

    I would also refer all of you to the last lines of dialog from Alfred Bester’s “The Demolished Man”. I don’t have the book with me, so I can’t type them out for you myself.

  26. “One of the main reasons I was put up for evaluation as a “troublemaker” in the first place was because I was asking “too many questions”. They’re punishing an active effort to learn and to engage with the material being taught. ”

    How dare you didn’t fall in line like all the sheeps, drink the Kool-aid and conform to every social dictate, including the mandate of remaining silent and hating knowledge? /sarcasm

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