Boys WILL Be Boys: Get Over It!
|by Anne Morse|
The author of The Dangerous Book for Boys, Conn Iggulden, says that when he wrote the book, "I wasn't trying to please anyone else. I was just trying to free boys to be themselves again, the way we were when my brother and I were growing up."
That's just as well, because plenty of people are NOT pleased with his book. I can tell you, as the mother of two boys (now 19 and 21) that there really IS a war on boys behaving like boys, as Christina Hoff Sommers writes in her book The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. Boys are considered defective if they don't behave like girls in the classroom, if they think games ought to have a point to them (when they played T-ball, my sons always kept track of the score. So did every other boy, probably; we all knew who'd won each game, even though we weren't supposed to notice), and if they prefer rough games over dolls.
When I reviewed Christina Hoff Sommers's book a few years ago for Citizen magazine, I described what happened when my sons received, in a pair of Happy Meals, not the the advertised Hot Wheels, but miniature Barbie dolls:
The boys reluctantly took the Barbie twins home, and it wasn't long before they began to find unconventional ways of playing with them. They placed the Barbies on our sloping driveway and strapped on their Rollerblades. "Two points!" Trevor hollered as he raced down the drive and bounced over Barbie No. 1's plastic torso.
When they tired of playing Hit 'n Run Barbie, they boys offered the dolls to the dog as chew toys. Both dolls underwent radical plastic surgery when Trevor and Travis discovered they could reshape pert Barbie noses with nail scissors.
The boys genuinely mourned when the Barbie twins disappeared. They had pounded one of them into the ground with a croquet mallet and couldn't locate her afterwards. The other doll was reduced to pink plastic chunks by the lawn mower.
My point was that both my sons grew up with a strong sense of right and wrong, and playing violent games as children did them no harm and probably did them a lot of good.
When Trevor was about 16, a young lady he was dating began receiving offensive emails from a boy at school. The school couldn't do anything about it since the emails were being sent from the boy's home, and the boy refused to stop sending them despite numerous requests--until the day Trevor confronted him about them and punched him in the nose. The principal suspended him for a couple of days (with great relunctance, I might add--he told Trevor if it was ever necessary to do such a thing again, to please do it off school property so he wouldn't have to punish him). Even some of his female teachers applauded his action and offered to bake him brownies to enjoy during his suspension.
Trevor and Travis also came to the rescue when two of their female friends were being bothered by several aggressive young men at a shopping mall. They got the girls to a safe place, called the police, and later escorted them to their front doors. Their parents were extremely grateful.
So while my sons may have set fire to Barbie's hair as youngsters, they have grown into the kind of young men who respect women and come to their defense when necessary. Their dad and I are proud of them.