or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › dangerous book for boys
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

dangerous book for boys - Page 11

post #201 of 216
Ok, I just got this book out from the library. I brought it home and put it on the coffee table without a word.

When my 14yo DD she immediately picked it up and said *the dangerous book for boys? COOL!* and began flipping through it. She seems to really like it and has commented on the story about Robert the Bruce, the Pirate Flags and how cool it is that it shows you how to build a treehouse. When my daycare kids (girl, 9yo) got here DD showed the book to her. She (DK) snatched it up too and was exclaiming *cool* and *awesome* and checking out the disappering ink and the go cart section. Neither of them commented at all on the fact that is is supposed to be for *boys*. That really surprised me because DK is usually very sensative and vocal about any slight to girls or any suggestion that girls couldn't do something boys could. She even bristles at getting a door held for her.

Earlier (before DD woke) DS8 picked it up and asked me what it said on the cover (he's not reading yet). When I told him he asked what was in it so we flipped through together. He wanted me to read the part on bugs (he caught a grasshopper yesterday) and we IDed his grasshopper as a Long horn . He was also interested in the section on knots and asked me to read him a famous battle. He also had no comment about the book being for boys and never said a word when later the girls grabbed it up. He did ask what was dangerous about it though.

Anyway...no big contribution to the debate here but I thought it was interesting the way they all reacted (or actually, didn't react) to the title.
post #202 of 216
cool, and my kid is interested in and excited about both of the books.

can I just say that I don't think the books themselves are the core problem,, but more that they reflect a larger societal issue? Otherwise, you know, I wouldn't have gotten the books.
post #203 of 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftField View Post
I would agree with you that many things, like the male stuff, are socially constructed. Even if certain "guyishness" for lack of a better word is socially constructed, I don't see that being a bad thing, provided they are not denigrating others. . . As for celebrating maleness, I'm not really sure what those things would be either right now, but I think it has more to do with boys enjoying the feeling of community with other males.
Oh, okay, I see what you mean. Guys can enjoy being part of a "guy tradition" without necessarily believing it's based on underlying truths about how men are different from women. I guess you could look at the Dangerous Book as just a celebration of some guy traditions. But I'm just not completely comfortable with the extent to which we've developed separate male and female traditions, and I'm not sure it's a good idea to cling to them.
post #204 of 216
What an interesting discussion one can stumble upon in a lazy hour spent at home

I don't know and won't be buying any of the books discussed here, but from the discussion and the reviews of the books I gleaned that these books do exactly what I see around me every day: Boy children are much more limited in what their interests and nature are supposed to be than girls. I agree that the education system (in this country anyway) is geared toward characteristics usually associated with girls and in which girls tend to be statistically stronger (verbal communication and 'sitting still'). Boys, especially physically active boys, are often considered 'trouble makers'. Girls are more encouraged to develop different sides.

But then, once they're grown up, see how it pays itself back! The 'appropriately socialized' boy will get the career, the money, the status, the power. Sooner or later, many girls will 'know their place'. Traditionally male-associated skills are valued much more than their 'female' counterparts, so all the oppression at a young age leads toward the maintenance of the status quo.

I read a real interesting study, conducted here in the Netherlands, a couple of weeks ago. It was about women in high-status, traditionally male professions. Now that the majority of new lawyers and doctors are women, the status and income of hte profession go down. (the opposite is happening with nurses, where a male influx has actually coincided with higher salaries). There was a clear connection between the salaries following the gender make-up, not the other way round.

THen, after a few years, the women who don't get mommy-tracked, apparently start to miss out on promotions, as exclusive partnerships, specializations, and residences are still being doled out and offered through the old boy network.

So, little girls can 'act like' either a boy or a girl. Because in the end, it's inconsequential anyway.
Little boys are forced to socialize and adapt to the rules that society at large deems most valuable (even though the chosen method in the education system is 'girlish' for practical reasons), and in the end they are rewarded for this.

This is the overall tendency I see -- though of course it's not nearly always individually applicable.
post #205 of 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
But I'm just not completely comfortable with the extent to which we've developed separate male and female traditions, and I'm not sure it's a good idea to cling to them.

Why? Almost all cultures (i'd like to know of one that doesn't) celebrates the difference between girls and boys. For instance, they each have their own rights that they go through before becomming men or women. I don't see what the big deal is if boys do a "boy" thing or girls do a "girl" thing. My only problem with this lies in what happens when these "things" become limiting, or keeps them confined in a limting perameter.

I don't have a problem with guys having their own traditions...really what's so wrong with it? Women do their "girl" traditions all the time. Why should it threaten me if boys/men have their own quirks about what it is they want to do that defines who they are. To me that is what traditions do, help define a person.
post #206 of 216
Once again noting cultural differences, there are coming of age rituals associated with being Irish Catholic. There are no differences for boys and girls and the level of study and commitment is the same.

What cultures do you have in mind when you note differences?
post #207 of 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
Once again noting cultural differences, there are coming of age rituals associated with being Irish Catholic. There are no differences for boys and girls and the level of study and commitment is the same.

What cultures do you have in mind when you note differences?
African cultures (the first hunt for boys), American Indian cultures (naming events are different for boys and girls), Judaism (Bar Mtsvah, Bat Mitsvah), Hispanic cultures (the birthday event for girls who turn 15)....I wasn't speaking of White Irish Catholics per se, what about sleep overs that little girls have? That's a "no boys allowed event" and is certainly cultural. There are tons of examples.... That are girl or boy events that are cultural.
post #208 of 216
bar and bat mitzvah just use the correct hebrew words to relate male and female. The rite is the same for boys and girls. (This is my experience of it with friends. I'm happily corrected in this by Jewish mamas here.)

Wondering what the whiteness of the Irish has to do with the fact that the coming of age rituals are the same....You are aware the culture of Ireland is 1000s of years old, right? It's not that there are no distinctions between men and women in Ireland...it's that the religious rituals are the same.

Boys don't have sleepovers? My brothers sure did.

The distinction between the genders there was the unseemly-ness of unrelated boys and girls sleeping together...but then sleepovers didn't happen until around puberty since littles were seen as too young to sleep away from their parents.

My 7 year old has said she is too young for sleepovers, but had "pretend sleepovers" with a 6 year old friend who is a boy, mostly as an excuse to eat popcorn, lay around in sleeping bags and watch a movie. Said friend was returned to his parents to co-sleep with them around 8 pm.

In my world, kids play hard together doing daring and dangerous things, then come back to their parents (a la Hold on to Your Kids) where they eat dinner together and brag about their accomplishments, co-sleep until they don't want to anymore and argue with their siblings. I want *more* of these books, not fewer. And I want them to be written to kids generally to encourage family closeness and an adventurous spirit.
post #209 of 216
I just want to copy and paste SadieSabot's post (192) on in here! Because it's what I've been struggling with.

I know we've got a lot of problems here in the USA, and maybe other nations don't have inequities in the ways child support and alimony payments occur; maybe in their countries, women who have the misfortune to become divorced don't have to struggle for financial support (I read recently that in America, divorced fathers (non-custodial) give 10% of their income to their children whereas divorced mothers (custodial) give 70% of their income directly to their children). There definitely is a ceiling for women here - women who don't marry and/or don't have children seem not to hit it. The vast majority of the rest, whether they are aware of it or not, have the concussions to prove that they've come up against it.

I think sometimes feminism is painted as "women wanting to knock men down." Or, "women wanting to be just like men." In fact, IMO it's "women wanting equality." And it's still lacking very much here, whether we want to admit it or not.

Incidentally I picked up a copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys yesterday and flipped through it. I *so* would have enjoyed this as a kid - it just burns with FUNFUNLEARNING to me. And it really irks me that it says in such large letters, "FOR BOYS" on it. Because despite the author's protestations, I don't see anything which limits it to a "for boys" status. And lots in it which my dds and my nieces would enjoy. They shouldn't have to enjoy it while thinking that they're aberrant for doing so. And, while the Daring Book for Girls may be similar, IMO it sets an even worse precedent (separate but equal).

The bottom line is that in Western European/American cultures, we tend to celebrate "danger" etc. as what boys are about (many of the things in the book). And "nurturing" as what women are about. But that's certainly a cultural construct too - if there is a biological basis (and there probably is to an extent), we pump it full of HGH (to make an analogy), for sure. It is extraordinarily developed, and we insist on it to an extraordinary extent as "natural." (not necessarily "we" here but we as culture members).

This book's title does reinforce that. And it's a small part of a much larger, nastier situation which we need to resolve.

I agree that boys (and girls) should be proud of who they are. I just don't think they should be painted into a gender corner for it. Ina regularly plays with boys who are 3 years older than her, and holds her ground playing ROUGH. She doesn't know that this isn't "girly." It's just who she is. She climbs trees (in dresses ) and is very interested in bugs, snakes, dinosaurs, dragons, and cooking --- she is herself. A self which is more on the "boy" end of the gender expectation scale than many girls (and some boys). I don't want her to feel inadequate about that. She should be as proud of who she is as any other kid.

I still don't know what I'll do about the book as Christmas presents. I told my sister some of the chapters last night and she agreed that all her kids would enjoy it (2 dds, 1 ds) - she suggested that I just take a magic marker to the cover and change the title. Or write a note on the front leaf of the book about how the authors are old fashioned old men but I know that all three of them would love to do these projects. I guess I'm leaning in that direction right now.

A part of me wants to buy the book and rip the front cover off and mail it to the author though. I've read what he's said about it; I'll take him in ANY "boy" enterprise he wants to try. I bet I stack hay better than he can, and can skin a beaver faster too. Sez the girl whose parents raised her as a KID and didn't worry about what girls or boys do, and instead just taught us how to DO stuff.
post #210 of 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by momo7 View Post
Why? Almost all cultures (i'd like to know of one that doesn't) celebrates the difference between girls and boys. For instance, they each have their own rights that they go through before becomming men or women. I don't see what the big deal is if boys do a "boy" thing or girls do a "girl" thing. My only problem with this lies in what happens when these "things" become limiting, or keeps them confined in a limting perameter.
There are lots of things that happen in almost all cultures that aren't necessarily good (e.g. war.) I think gender traditions do tend to become limiting too often. I don't have any big problem with separate rites of passage for boys and girls, or gender traditions that are trivial and clearly arbitrary, like different clothing and hair styles. (Of course, in our culture traditions about clothing and hair aren't totally trivial and arbitrary - they're all tied up with our ideas about how males and females are different. Men, not women, wear the simple, low-maintenance hairstyles. Women are the only ones who regularly wear shoes you can't even walk comfortably in. Boys wear dark colors that don't show the dirt, girls wear pink and white stuff that's not meant to get dirty.) I don't like traditions that reinforce stereotyped ideas about what each gender likes and can do.

Quote:
To me that is what traditions do, help define a person.
See, that's just what I think traditions ought NOT to do. The last thing I want is for my daughter to automatically adopt all the female traditions she knows of and then feel those traditions define who she is.
post #211 of 216
:
post #212 of 216
I showed this to hubby and he seemed very excited about it!! Thanks for posting the link!


post #213 of 216
Grayson's is getting this for Christmas.
post #214 of 216
My BIL is getting this, too.
post #215 of 216
I just bought it for my boys (the Girls one that is -- we already had the boys) DS was dubious at first, but once he actually started reading it he was interested (14 versions of tag!!)
post #216 of 216
Quote:
If we ever get this book (which I think we will when the kids are older, I've read a lot about it), I'm sure that my daughter will love it, too. And I'll just tell her, "A dad of boys wrote this book about all the things he loved doing as a kid and loves doing with his boys. Isn't it great that girls can love these things too?"
:

My brothers got "Dangerous Book for Boys" last christmas, and I read it cover to cover in about a week! Although I definitely wouldn't call myself a tomboy I love that book and my brothers and sisters plan on doing a lot of the activities together. I'm excited to hear that there is a "Daring Book for Girls." I'll probably buy it for me and my three sisters, but of course we'll share with our brothers like they share "Dangerous Book for Boys" with us. I also agree with prior poster that said it really is a "Dangerous Book FOR Boys!"
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at Home and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › dangerous book for boys