Why does Scout prefer men in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have always found it interesting that Scout does not have one single girl friend in the novel. She is a true tomboy, preferring to spend her time with brother Jem and, of course, her "permanent fiance," Dill, when he is in town for the summer. She prefers to fight and play with boys rather than play with dolls. Scout looks up to Miss Maudie, whose independent streak she so admires; and she eventually bonds with Calpurnia. But these are about the only two women in the story that Scout seems to respect. She doesn't care for the gossipy Miss Stephanie nor the overbearing Aunt Alexandria; she questions the motives of her female teachers; and she recognizes the hypocrisy of the religious-minded women of the community. They all seem to be intent on transforming Scout into their ideas of a "lady"--something that Scout resists constantly. But Scout understands that becoming a woman is inevitible:

There was no doubt about it, I must soon enter this world, where on its surface fragrant ladies rocked slowly, fanned gently, and drank cool water.  (Chapter 24)

It is the men in the story that she most admires: Atticus is her hero; she looks forward to her Uncle Jack's yearly visits; she feels comfortable around the African American Reverend Sykes; and she dreams of one day meeting face-to-face with Boo Radley, who she once feared. 

I was more at home in my father's world... (where men) did not trap you with innocent questions to make fun of you. Ladies seemed to live in faint horror of men, seemed unwilling to approve wholeheartedly of them. But I liked them... there was something about them that I instinctively liked... they weren't--
"Hypocrites..."  (Chapter 24

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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