Weedkiller was recently used to etch a series of large penises into the grass embankment at Nelson College, a boys’ school in New Zealand. However, the juvenile prank carried out on school grounds has led to an unlikely debate…about gender etiquette.
While the school’s principal, Gary O'Shea, was convinced boys were to blame for the prank, there has been speculation the effort might be the work of students from Nelson College for Girls.
However, O’Shea, expressed doubts girls would do such a thing.
“I think girls would do something a bit more sophisticated,” he told Stuff.co.nz.
“Boys will spray weedkiller in the shape of a penis but I don't think girls will.”
Comments posted by a number of young women on the news website’s Facebook page challenged O'Shea’s doubts, saying they would pull such a prank.
“...you should see what's drawn on doors and walls in toilets in all girls high school then and tell me girls won't do this but boys will,” one girl wrote.
“The principal is incorrect. I would 10/10 do this for a laugh. How is this harming anyone?” wrote another.
Dr Donna Swift, a social anthropologist based at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, said behaviours couldn't be separated by gender.
“That has been one of the assumptions, that girls are nicer and more gentle than boys, and that's not necessarily the case,” Swift, who has studied adolescent anti-social behaviour, said.
“One of the problems has been that people have said, 'a girl wouldn't do that', and yet when they catch a girl doing that behaviour, they reprimand her for both the breach of her gender etiquette as well as the behaviour.”