boys can only be boys

An interesting article by Soraya Chemaly on (click here) caught my eye this morning, examining how we disempower females and doom boys by labeling certain activities, clothing, and attitudes as too “girly” for boys to share. Thus they miss out on certain creative or nurturing fields, expressive attire, and — greatest loss of all — empathetic interpersonal skills.

Men are taught to be leaders, to be decisive, to stick to their guns (arrogance, impulsivity, and stubbornness are the flip sides to those qualities). We leave consensus-building and relationship maintenance to the girls, but then we devalue them by representing these attitudes as weak and irrational. If it has to do with feelings, it’s chick territory … as if boys aren’t capable of that level of empathy, as if compassion has no place in government or community.

The empirical reigns over the murkier emotional realm. Math and science best art and poetry as academic pursuits. Participating in the system of commercial exchange (“making a living”) trumps everything: as an ambition, as an undertaking, as an excuse for falling short in other aspects of life — “Sorry I had to miss your game; I was working.”

It is no wonder that the prevailing governmental (male-dominated) role becomes paternalistic, even from those touting “hands-off” government. Another story that caught my eye today is the last-ditch effort by the GOP to attach women’s health limits to the budget bill (the one that defunds Obamacare). Heavy sigh. We all need House Republicains to limit our health choices by giving veto power to our bosses (note sarcasm, lest I be misunderstood). Thanks, Men — and Michele Bachmann, who seems to be a female-gendered puppet of male discourse.

When will we see multi-dimensional, multiple perspectives as a good thing? I guess it’s too girly to see more than one point of view.


3 thoughts on “boys can only be boys

    • P.S. I’ve noticed H saying, “I don’t want that. It is for girls.” lately. So, I ask him, “Who says it is for girls? Why can’t anyone have/use/play with that?” He usually doesn’t know. Interesting. I then tell him that anyone can do/use/have/play with anything they want as long as it is theirs and they love it. I hope I am getting through to him. Difficult when his peer group (and some of their sexists fathers) is constantly reinforcing gender designations.


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