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Cathy Young runs screaming (girlishly) in terror from The Dangerous Book for Boys.

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  • wsdave||

    This will be interesting for me. As the father of a 3 year old girl, I'll be dealing with these boy-skills vs. girl-skills issues soon enough.

    My wife and I fall into "traditionaly untraditional" roles: I fix the plumbing, electrical, and cars (yes, I can fix my own cars). I do the yard work, house construction, and heavy lifting, open the door the for my wife and do most of the driving (she sits in back with the girl). I carry a handkerchief in case she cries (or in case I do) and don't wear my wedding ring often (we hade them made for us and I don't want to mess it up).

    That said, my wife is the bread winner and bill payer. I get money when she says I do. However, she also does the cooking, baking, sewing, and most of the housework. She speaks 2 languages and is working on 2 more.

    Either our daughter will pretty much be a psychotic mess, or have one hell of a skill set.

  • ||

    Perhaps, by thinking really hard about it, writers can suck all the joy out of life by translating it into pop psychobabble jargon.

  • ||

    Without commenting on the actual content of the book, since I haven't read it, let's just say as the househusband of one of the few female orthopedic surgeons around, some women and men can and do manage to work around gender stereotypes and deal with modern realities.

    But, hey, if the author of this book felt he could make more money by gearing it to boys rather than both genders, WTF is an alleged libertarian doing whining about this celebration of the free market, even if the target market is people she doesn't much care for?

    Though I suppose I'm guilty of the same thing whining about Cathy Young doing the same thing ...

  • ed||

    I haven't read the book so of course I feel compelled to comment on it. Actually, I've got nothing. But I am wondering if wsdave's comment above is on the level or an exceedingly dry satire.

  • ||

    "Where is the book for girls who did stuff like make their own chain mail as kids, or cracked rocks with sledgehammers in the driveway both to see what was inside them and to see if you could get sparks?"

    Are we really supposed to believe that this describes a significant number of book-buying females, and that the publisher is too stupid to recognize this potential customer base?

  • Garth||

    Have not read it.... But if appealing to boys in this manner does get them out of the house, away from the viewscreen and engaged in more rough and tumble physical pursuits, then bully. Boys are frowned on for acting like boys at school and prompting an outlet would be a good thing.

    I would hasten to add that the societal message to girls for the past couple of decades has been "more sports!" "more science and math" "compete! compete compete" far and away more so than is directed towards boys.

  • ||

    One thing I learned from this review is that if you happen to agree with a politically correct opinion, you must first claim that you usually reject political correctness.

  • :-||

    Dan learned something?

  • thoreau||

    But, hey, if the author of this book felt he could make more money by gearing it to boys rather than both genders, WTF is an alleged libertarian doing whining about this celebration of the free market, even if the target market is people she doesn't much care for?

    Though I suppose I'm guilty of the same thing whining about Cathy Young doing the same thing ...

    Today's lesson: There is no incompatibility between free market economics and the exercise of free speech rights.

    As fans of free market economics, it is perfectly fine to say that somebody should have the right to produce something. However, the recognition of that right need not preclude us from criticizing the exercise of that right. This is perfectly fine for a number of reasons. The most important is that criticism is hardly coercion. Saying "That's a piece of crap!" is not the same as saying "He should be arrested for trying to sell that piece of crap." (Unless, of course, he's trying to market yet another boy band, in which case any reasonable person would agree that exile to a Siberian prison would be a lenient punishment. But I digress.)

    Also, not only is free speech not coercive, it is arguably essential to the proper functioning of free markets. Free markets can maximize the well-being of participants, but only if the participants have adequate information. The exercise of free speech rights, e.g. saying "This is crap!" is a means of transmitting information on crucial aspects of a product (e.g. its level of crapitude, a variable that is strongly correlated with craptacularness). Consumers, in turn, can process this information and respond accordingly, thereby maximizing their well-being.

    In summary, a libertarian need not feel any angst when criticizing a product sold in a free market. Indeed, not only is angst not necessary, but if one wishes to display the daring and adventurous spirit that befits a participating in an innovative marketplace of ideas, even a disclaimer is unnecessary.*

    (*This extended disclaimer offered for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as an admission of angst on the part of the author.)

  • ||

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Robert Heinlein

  • thoreau||

    Sorry, I just get snarky when I see a message along the lines of "How can you criticize somebody else for selling something?"

  • ||

    As far as I can see, this was marketed at boys simply because a) these are all traditional pursuits generally followed by young males and b) young males generally do not want to be lumped in with females - a degree of exclusivity helping to win over the boys.

    It's a sad fact that most past times for children in the UK have been feminized, largely due to the prevelence of women acting as either carers or teachers - who naturally identify more with girls' pursuits then boys. Factor into this ridiculous amounts of health and safety and we end up ina situation whereby boys are left in an inferior situation to girls.

  • ||

    Boys are icky!

    The fact is that for both girls and boys, biologically based gender[sic] differences ... are considerably attenuated by individual differences.

    "A third, also related, misconception holds that the differences within a sex are much more substantial than those between the sexes, the implication being that sex influences can therefore be dismissed as trivial."
    http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v7/n6/full/nrn1909.html

  • Ellie||

    This is an excellently written article, and I would like to doff my chapeau to Cathy Young.

  • Stephen Macklin||

    My suggestion to anyone whining about the gender exclusivity of the book is that if you are so sure there should be a "Dangerous Book For Girls," write it.

    If you are so certain that there should be a non gender specific book of activities for all kids. Write it.

    This book shouldn't be anything other than what its author wants it to be. I celebrate the fact that the title and the content are designed to be gender specific and exclusionary. If only because it annoys the PC crowd.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    everything i learned about the difference between boys and girls i learned from kindergarten cop

  • shecky||

    Not that it's a bad book, but the "dangerous" part is seriously overplayed. And I'll wager it appeals to dweeby, even effeminate boys for it's intellectual content than to anyone else for it's "dangerous" content.

  • ||

    Why was my comment removed?

  • Penis For Boys||

    Young's previous (girlish) posture of above-it-all refusal to form or express any arguable opinion, in light of this diagnosably...er...honest article, suddenly seems not to have been so bad.

    Put the crazy back, crazy lady.

  • LarryA||

    Whatever else, it's a vast improvement over the "childproof the world" philosophy.

  • ||

    This book encourages harmful stereotypes. Where is the chapter on color coordination? How to buy expensive italian loafers? Why it's okay to cry at the movies? The therapeutic nature of disclosing your secret sexual desires to your best friend, while showering in the gym?

    These are the kinds of advice boys need to know in today's politically correct world.

  • shecky||

    My suggestion to anyone whining about the gender exclusivity of the book is that if you are so sure there should be a "Dangerous Book For Girls," write it.

    There are. In fact, it seems to me there are probably more such comparable books for girls than boys.

    One thing that must be remembered is that The Dangerous Book for Boys is meant to be sold to adults for boys. I have a feeling that boys, insofar as they're interested in books, are still pretty much interested in comics, skate/bmx mags, and maybe the occasional Hustler more than this book.

  • ||

    Looks to me that the book doesn't appeal to boys, but to grandparents of boys, who

    (1) unlike actual boys, have money to waste on books no one could really have much use for
    (2) buy presents for boys from time to time
    and
    (3) wish the boy would take his hands off the playstation/WII/Sbox/whatever because dammit, they didn't have that stuff when I was his age.

  • ||

    "As far as I can see, this was marketed at boys simply because..."

    As far as I can see, from watching the Colbert interview with the author, it was written for boys because the author has a son, and felt like his son wasn't learning the things he should. I imagine that if the author had a daughter, he might have written the book for her.

  • ||

    "tell boys it is ok to be beaten by a girl"...you've got to be kidding me...if a boy is beaten by a girl in a race then the natural reactions hould be horrible embarassment, heres is what you should do son....a) find a way to run faster....b) fake an injury ...c) claim that you were simply being a gentleman"ladies first and all"
    d) come on son you we are gonna go running up hills with sand bags in our pockets every day until you get your forty time in better shape.


    ...says the father of two little boys .

    seriously Cathy don't preach communism to us.

  • SPD||

    This is by far the nerdiest way to learn manliness that I've ever seen. Come on, from a book?

    "Father, how do I smash a rock with a hammer?" "Turn to page sixty-three, son."

    If insecure, slightly homophobic parents everywhere are worried about their male offspring becoming intellectual fops, simply remember the immortal words of Futurama's Bender, who said: "Have you ever thought about turning off the TV, sitting down with your kids, and hitting them?"

  • ||

    Cathy,
    I enjoyed your review. The issues you address are worthy of discussion. I find your analysis to be well reasoned, and considerate of the most relevant facts. However, I am unpersuaded.

    From your review, the book sounds excellent. If I had a boy I'm sure I would buy a copy. If I had a girl, I'd likely buy one too. I think you undervalue the innate differences associated with gender. While there is a taste of condescension in instructing boys to carry a handkerchief "In case a girl cries", I think a handkerchief is one of those affectations peculiar to the British. Furthermore, I think girls are, in general, more emotional than boys. I think this has both cultural and physiological components. And I don't see anything wrong with recognizing this difference and instructing boys to be respectful of it.

    As for Tom Boys being left out. I absolutely agree that a girls desire to crush rocks and catch frogs should be encouraged. I'm skeptical that girls who have a natural inclination for such activities would be put of at being told it's not lady like. The Tom Boys I've known were just as anti-girl as us boys. Indeed, being told "this is not for girls" would just make it that much more attractive.

  • How to Be a Boy:||

    - Set things on fire

    - Throw rocks through people's windows

    - Devote yourself to learning every vulgarity in English to date, and work on developing new variants as well as (hopefully) entirely novel ones

    e.g. "pillow-biting douchedrinker"

    - Fight for no reason

    - vandalize your school

    - Play horribly-traumatizing practical jokes on sensitive, weaker children

    - Win everything at all costs; cheat whenever possible

    - alter street signs / smash mailboxes / leave roadkill on people's doorstep

    - Make sure to respond to publishers clearing house mail by subscribing every member of your family to Guns & Ammo, Playboy, and Rolling Stone

    - Steal things you dont need and then destroy them in some mildly amusing way

    - addendum to above: Putting on train tracks is almost always best choice

    - Be sweet and tender with girls you fancy, but then tell all your friends only the part about fingering them

    - By ~age 16-18, having done all this stuff, you have moment of clarity (usually associated with loss of virginity and/or actual real emotional relationship with female) and are hopefully/ideally transformed from Boy to Man (aka "quit being a fucking jerk")

    - for the rest of your life, tell people funny stories about all the bad stuff you did as a kid

  • Episiarch||

    ...remember the immortal words of Futurama's Bender, who said: "Have you ever thought about turning off the TV, sitting down with your kids, and hitting them?"

    Let's not forget more Bender: "I guess if you want kids beaten, you have to do it yourself."

  • ||

    Don't know if this is germane (not having read the book or the article) but my Women's Studies sister (undergrad) had me read some of the work of Bell Hooks. Hooks addresses "the sorrows of boyhood", which basically is about how boys in our culture have their naturally feminine attributes (e.g., the desire to have a tea party) pummeled out of them by about the age of six. She is very sympathetic to the cultural plight of boys.

    "men have not fully named and grappled with the sorrows of boyhood in the way feminism gave us as women ways to name some of the tragedies of our "growhood" in sexist society. I think males are just beginning to develop a language to name some of the tragedies for them--to express what was denied them"

    -- Bell Hooks, (1984). Feminist theory: From margin to center. Boston: South End Press.

  • ||

    Oooops! That's Mark A Tarnowski.

  • BOY||

    She is very sympathetic to the cultural plight of boys.

    ppppppppppppppppppppttttt then poopy face on her!

  • Fluffy||

    I have to agree with Dwight Shrute here.

    I realize that sex differences among pre-adolescents may be less dramatic than in the past - Grrrlpower and all that - but little girls still aren't enough like little boys in great enough numbers to be a target market.

    When little girls in great numbers want to play Play Guns and fight off the Russians with dirt bomb grenades, then the book should be the Dangerous Book for Kids. Occasionally picking up a hammer just isn't boyish enough to cut it.

  • wsdave||

    ed,
    "But I am wondering if wsdave's comment above is on the level or an exceedingly dry satire."

    On the level. Though it's nice(?) to know my life applies as exceedingly dry satire.

  • ||

    Stephen Macklin | June 18, 2007, 4:40pm | #
    My suggestion to anyone whining about the gender exclusivity of the book is that if you are so sure there should be a "Dangerous Book For Girls," write it.


    If I read the article correctly, The Daring Book for Girls is intended to do that.

  • Jackson Kuhl||

    I received a copy of said title for Father's Day. Had a good read-through last night.

    Less attention has been paid to the boys who are not particularly into "boy things," who may be more interested in reading than in catching snails and may prefer art to stories of battles.

    Then I don't see how The Dangerous Book ignores such boys, considering there's a list of 34 authors every boy should read (Tolkien, Twain, King, and Kipling, among others), as well as a brief but encouraging chapter on the joys of playing Dungeons & Dragons. As for art, there's chapters on marbling paper and making Italic nibs for a pen. I'm not sure we'll be using those, though.

    Indeed the book does seem tilted toward dads more so than kids alone in that many of the activities are clearly group projects meant for father and son(s). I already plan for me and my guys to learn the joys of making timers and tripwires (pressure plates!), knapping stone, and so forth. A treehouse of sorts is already in the works.

    Oh, and tell Bell Hooks and women's studies undergrads everywhere that bull chimpanzees are more desirous of tea parties than five-year-old boys.

  • ||

    I tell ya', ya' just haven't had a productive childhood until you've developed your own design for IEDs. What a revelation it was when we discovered what could be done with a couple of bottle caps, the heads snapped from farmer's matches, masking tape, and a sling-shot. Later, when we got our hands on some gunpowder, boosting yield significantly, we really cranked up the insurrection against the occupiers, otherwise known as adults. Fun times, and any girl who had aceess to gunpowder (we had to scavenge like hell) would have been welcome.

  • ||

    Like a girl's going to be stopped by the gender-specific title? If she's not an idiot, that may well be a challenge for her...like a double-dog dare to do it, and do it better than those smelly boys. At least that would've been the ten-year-old-Oread approach.
    Or, people could really stop whining and let little boys get to have some damned fun for once. God knows they aren't getting much in the public school system that forces them to sit still and shut up all day long...like my poor son GooneyBird...yikes.
    But it's a lovely and amusing book. Check it out.

  • ||

    Oh, and tell Bell Hooks and women's studies undergrads everywhere that bull chimpanzees are more desirous of tea parties than five-year-old boys.

    Not in my experience; at my four-year-old son's preschool, I've seen lots of the boys pretend to cook and eat meals together. Not exactly "tea parties" but then they don't have any toy tea sets so who knows :) Kitchen and dining play is awfully popular with kids that age. There's one boy in particular who loves to pretend to make and serve desserts to everybody...

  • ||

    thoreau says: "Sorry, I just get snarky when I see a message along the lines of "How can you criticize somebody else for selling something?""

    Point well taken. I agree with your POV. My point, perhaps not very well articulated, was that what Ms. Young wrote seemed to me to smack of a statist agenda -- the "how dare anyone say that boys are different than girls -- let's force everyone to be the same" schtick. Perhaps I misunderstood her POV. But, I fully support her right to free speech I disagree with.

  • Dr Spock||

    tybalt4@yahoo.com



    I hope to God most of the boys use the tea set as toy guns or truck cargo or toy car obstacles. Or is this a pre-school for gay kids?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    None of those jokers know the north end of a southbound mule from breakfast.

    The Dangerous Book for Boys is the greatest book ever. My kids love it. We got one for That Boy and and the House Blond liked it so much we got her one as well. Not sure which kid is happier, but they both have spent days and days and days with it, together and separately.

    And (GASP) somehow, some way neither of them seems to read as some exclusionary male manifesto.

    Can't something ever be just cool without some deeper psychosis attached to it?

    Jesus Chrysler, what a bunch of whining wheat bags trying to ruin something wonderful.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Edit:

    S/B

    And (GASP) somehow, some way, neither of them seems to read the book as some exclusionary male manifesto.

    In case you missed it, my eight year old girl loves that book. She's not offended neither.

    I just deleted all the rah rah proud-daddy stuff about her being my Renaissance Girl.

  • GILMORE||

    Jesus Chrysler, what a bunch of whining wheat bags trying to ruin something wonderful.

    you finally noticed? :) Thats sort of the internet's raison d'etre

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Mr Gilmore, I know what you mean, but I was just shocked at Cathy's piece and shocked at the various reactions to the book that she talked about and linked to.

    I don't get out much so I hadn't realized that this book was controversial. Nor did I realize that it was the Great White Hope for oppressed boys. I missed that it was sexist and it never occurred to me that I should wait to buy my daughter something with a title more suited to her sex role, as defined by (fill in the blank with whatever dope's name you want).

    As Ever,

    TWC

  • ||

    I totally intend to get that book for my sons. (I'm a sucker for pretty much anything with Latin in it.) It'll go with the Nancy Drew books he and his best friends Katie and Joseph are all reading this summer.

    Honestly, why on Earth don't we concentrate on teaching kids skills and quit worrying whether said skills are compatible with X or Y chromosomes. I want my sons to be able to be competent adults, which includes an ability to clean and cook as well as bait hooks and shoot rifles. If the title makes some redneck buy it for his son, who in turn gets introduced to Latin or Greek Myths or Tennyson's poetry, so much the better.

  • Stephen Macklin||

    Be sure to check out Raising Wild Boys Into Men: A Modern Dad's Survival Guide by Tony Woodlief

    Available for $4.00 at The New Pamphleteer

  • ||

    Ah ... Dangerous Book is a wonderful addition to my library. I too received one for Father's Day as a nod to all the plans being laid for future lazy afternoons spent coaching my 22 month old son in male values. Some things were missing that made Dangerous a little less dangerous; the absence of rocketry or making small explosives ignores the joy to be found in the rapid release of energy through chemistry. In fact, there's precious little chemistry to be found. But it's made up for with an introduction to so many fun facts and projects that I'll give it a free pass on the things overlooked for brevity or politics.

    Thus, my only standing complaint is that it was released a year or two early. I sat down with my boy last night and introduced him to the book by beginning with the introduction: "'In this age of video games and cell phones, there must still be a place for knots, tree houses, and stories of incredible courage--'"

    "Daaa-dy!" He reserves this kind of interjection for when I do something he finds disagreeable -- like singing. I suspect my enthusiasm for the book was lost on the wee young lad. Maybe he wanted something with pictures that we could "read" together? But I tried to press on.

    "'The one thing that we always say about childhood is that we seemed to have more time back--'"

    "Daaaaa-dy!"

    I sighed at that moment and looked forward to summers-to-come when he and I will pick a chapter at random and explore it together in a father and son bond. For now, though ...

    "'I am Sam' 'Sam I am' 'That Sam-I-am! That Sam-I-am! I do not like that Sam-I-am!'"

  • ||

    According to the table of contents, the ook appears to have nothing on
    - Mounting a DOS attack
    - DOOM cheats
    - Programming LEGO bricks

    And other stuff that might actually be useful in the 21st century. What good is it ?

  • ||

    There is NO difference between boys and girls and I don't see why there is a word for each, since they are the same. The majority of recorded history shows that until NOW society had it all wrong about sex roles. Some modern kids do have sexual confusion of what goes where.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    .....the joy to be found in the rapid release of energy through chemistry.....

    You can borrow my mint copy of the Anarchist Cookbook.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Stephen.....looks like a vastly entertaining book.

    ....I hope you have three boys just like you and your brothers. And God listened to her.

    I only got one just like me and boy howdy. I know how the cowboys felt. You gotta civilized that son but you gotta do it without breaking his spirit. Man, what a spirit. It's been a decade long ride and we're about half way home. Don't know if I'll survive the next ten. Not sure he will either. :-)

  • Tired of feminist rants||

    Cathy Young usually writes reasonable stuff, but this latest one is just one snarky mess. Oh well.

    Why is it that some women whine about men excluding them? Yet man of the same women also fight ferociously to defend their own "women's only" clubs and associations.

    I thought that Young would NOT be on the side of these filthy hypocrites, but I guess women who still occasionally refer to themselves as "feminists" have to show their true colors at one time or another. Young is no exception.

    All in all, sad sad sad.



    I'm just so very disappointed.

  • Ben||

    Perhaps we need legislation to make all books Gender neutral?

  • ||

    yeah...explosives!!!

    BTW...How to be a boy...you must have been beaten up a lot as a child...

  • ||

    I've not read this very Dangerous book, but based on Ms. Young's review I have formed two impressions.

    First, the book seems to be devoted more towards men than boys, given that it appears to be more of an appeal to nostalgia than a useful bit of advice. Something for today's "feminized" middle-class man to read and recall the good old days when boys weren't expected to act civilized.

    Second, for a book that claims to be Dangerous, I wonder where the truly dangerous ideas are? Ms. Young's review doesn't mention any, and I doubt the book would be very popular if the book promoted any.

  • Shouting Thomas||

    I got a paragraph into this article and stopped reading. Another dreary, dumb treatise on "gender" roles.

    The stupidity of this is mind boggling. Yes, Cathy, it was better so many years ago before all this idiocy and crackpot ideology about gender became the order of the day. And, yes, it would be better for everybody to shut up and return to those days of yore when fathers taught their sins to fight, compete and rumble in the dirt.

    Unless your goal is to produce as many homosexuals as possible (which indeed is Cathy's goal), this is a good way to go. When will all of you enlightened fools admit that your goal is to produce as many homosexuals as possible? Once you have admitted to this idiot agenda, perhaps you can explain to me (and even better to yourselves) why you are committed on this idiot mission.

    Now, please, treat me to the usual spectacle of doofus remarks about the martyrdom of women and gays. I always get a laugh out of that one. This discussion is too dumb for words. And the really funny part of it is that the "intellectuals" attending to this forum really think they're being incredibly stimulating and smart as they jabber like donkeys about this never ending tripe.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  • SugarFree||

    Mark A Tarnowski,

    Bell Hooks always renders her name "bell hooks" because, you know, the shift key is how the patriarchy gets you.

    Shouting Thomas,

    I'm intrigued by your assertion that everybody's trying to turn you gay. Are you shouting because it worked?

  • ||

    At least Shouting Thomas admits that he's a regressive.

  • ||

    Shouting Thomas is straight as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore.

  • Ellie||

    What's this about producing homosexuals? Is there a gay assembly line someplace? Perhaps I could make a preorder? I haven't had a date since February.

  • SugarFree||

    Ellie,

    I heard it was all being outsourced overseas nowadays. Sorry.

    Inside every homophobe is a skinny, zit-covered teenager who keeps bringing every conversation back to masturbation techniques. "First, show me how you do it..."

  • GILMORE||

    When will all of you enlightened fools admit that your goal is to produce as many homosexuals as possible?

    It's not true!!

    (quick, get a taser and some Erasure records!!! he's on to us~)

  • shockcorridor||

    Mark you committed the egregious error of spelling bell hooks with capital(ist?) letters you patriarchal oppressor!

  • ||

    Perhaps I am unduly crabby this morning, but I read this review as another monolithicist moanandgroan about how if something isn't globally inclusive and suitable for everyone, it's bad. Haven't you ever heard of "niche markets?"

  • VM||

    yup, SugarF.

    and those homophobes need to be stuffed into a burlap sack full of rabid weasels and left there until the homophobe outer coating is ripped away, revealing said teenager.

    *enjoys a sip of spicy V8. ambles off

  • Shouting Thomas||

    Now, we moved from sheer stupidity to outright lying.

    Yes, societal proscriptions against homosexuality do work. Insisting that gays remain in the closet is good for them. For those idiots who prefer to pretend otherwise, I will state the obvious. The great escape from the closet produced the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of gay men.

    The old system of insisting that gays remain closeted was better. It kept gay men from killing themselves. They married fag hags and limited their sexual activity to some extent.

    The social prohibition against homosexuality did indeed deter many, if not most, gay men from acting on their self-destructive compulsions.

    Now, I expect an outburst of complete stupidity of the kind that only a PC indoctrination at a good university can produce.

    I have stated the obvious. Removing the social proscriptions against homosexuality has given encouragement to tens of thousands of gay men to destroy themselves. And, when you couple that with the PC incentives (fag hags fawning over you, quota systems that reward you, etc.) you do indeed convince people who are unsure of their identity to become homosexual.

    In addition to the stupidity of this board, I will also say:

    Liars, liars, liars.

    Cathy Young is a fag hag. That's pretty clear. Fag hags are women who fantasize about group sex with gay men. As women are inclined to do, Young has transformed her desire for kinky sex into a kind of bonehead religion. Women are loathe to admit that they are just horny. Their horniness always has to be some kind of idiot crusade.

    The current fashion among fag hags is to insist that producing more gay men will result in a Utopia and Peace on Earth.

    And, this will be my final post. As I said, it is an illusion that any intelligence is at work in this site. The stupidity of the intellectual is an awesome thing. Have at it intellectual fools.

  • ||

    Have at it intellectual fools.


    Thanks for your blessing, Shouting Thomas.


    As for Tom Boys being left out. I absolutely agree that a girls desire to crush rocks and catch frogs should be encouraged. I'm skeptical that girls who have a natural inclination for such activities would be put off at being told it's not lady like. The Tom Boys I've known were just as anti-girl as us boys. Indeed, being told "this is not for girls" would just make it that much more attractive.


    I think there is a difference between an activity being more alluring to tomboys because it is forbidden to girls, and being "anti-girl", as you put it. You perhaps seem to be suggesting -- saying that the tomboys you knew were "anti-girl" -- that tomboys have some amount of self-hate (unless I am reading you wrong). I don't see tomboys' love of "boyish" activities as "anti-girl" but more like anti-categorical. I think it's likely that tomboys can be at ease with their femininity but not have strong desire to cultivate it, which is vastly different than being "anti-" anything. Maybe you just phrased that poorly or maybe I am nitpicking you (sorry, if that's the case).

    I'm skeptical that girls who have a natural inclination for such activities would be put off at being told it's not lady like.

    Personally, I am always surprised that more guys aren't put-off at being told that something is or isn't manly. What non-two-dimensional person tries to conform to the expectations of their so-called traditional gender role? I thought we decided that that's what made "Home Improvement" such an unfunny TV show. As for girls/tomboys, how can it be anything other than off-putting to be told that curiousity, ingenuity, exploration, and sense of excitement aren't part of your gender behavior? Being a tomboy doesn't make a girl a mindless, emotionless bot; anyone with a vague clue can recognize an insult for what it is. Even, if people argue that it isn't "an insult" per se, saying "this is not for you" is, at the very least, a confusing and discouraging thing to say to someone. The tomboys you knew, Warren, probably just happened to be smart enough to ignore other people's foolish and meaningless protests. That doesn't mean it wasn't off-putting, it just means that they probably shrugged it off, which is the smart thing to do.

    (As an aside, I find most of the idealized "traditional female behaviors" to be really patronizing. In a nutshell: "shut up and act sexy".)

  • dhex||

    shouting thomas is now the greatest american who has ever lived. at least in my eyes.

    (pics plz)

  • SugarFree||

    dhex,

    Top or bottom pics? He'll want to know...

  • Shouting Thomas||

    I know I promised to go, and I do have work to do. These intellectual discussion are so programmatic that I would like to write the forthcoming rebuttals, so that you won't have to:

    1. Oh, my God, that Shouting Thomas is just a closeted gay!

    2. Oh, my God, Cathy Young is a Civil Rights Martyr! She is standing like Joan of Arc on the barricades, fighting for the right for men to screw one another in the ass, and some terrible bigot has said awful things about her..

    3. This is just more proof of President Bush's determination to enforce a theocracy on us all. If it weren't for the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestants, we would all screw one another in the ass and be happy about it.

    Now that I think about it, there are easily another dozen of these canned idiot responses.

    Off to work!

  • ||

    Just so you know, tomboys are way cooler than girly girls.

    And speaking of things nobody cares about, I thought "fag hags" liked to hang out with gay guys so they *wouldn't* have to have sex with them. Silly me.

  • SugarFree||

    Tommy,

    I don't think you're actually gay. But I know for a fact you're a witless asshole. I just suggest you're gay because it bothers you and I think that's funny.

    Please, go to work. Be careful not to catch teh ghey on your way there.

    But that's just another canned response, right?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    First, the book seems to be devoted more towards men than boys..

    you missed my comment about how much my 10 year old son and my 8 year old daughter LOVE this book.

  • dhex||

    "What non-two-dimensional person tries to conform to the expectations of their so-called traditional gender role?"

    some1 whos not a fag, lolz.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Fag hags are women who fantasize about group sex with gay men

    No they're not. Fag Hags are women who are hopelessly in love with a gay guy. I have at least two female friends in that boat. Makes for a great relationship, except the sex part.

  • ||

    Oh! Boo-Hoo! Somebody actually attempts to provide something constructive and useful for boys (anochronism tough it may be) and this lame, empty-headed criticism is what we get? How very libertarian of you . . .please, get real. If you are such a firm believer in the free market, write a female-targeted version, wait for someone else to do it, or simply applaud the fact that someone had the ingenuity to offer something simple and useful for boys. Otherwise, go play with Barbies.

  • ||

    *anachronism*

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Shouting Thomas! I know a guy who claims his mother made him a homo. Maybe she'll make you one too. Course, you'll have to bring along quite a bit of Silly Putty.

  • dhex||

    "3. This is just more proof of President Bush's determination to enforce a theocracy on us all. If it weren't for the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestants, we would all screw one another in the ass and be happy about it."

    see, now this is clearly wrong. is there any class of women who are more into rear guard maneuvers than those who had a catholic school education?

    the reason is obvious - sex = pregnancy. but they teach them enough biology so they all know that you can't get pregnant back there.

    1) teach sex = pregnancy
    2) ?
    3) PROFIT!

  • stephen the goldberger||

    Shouting Thomas your post was ridiculous and shouldn't be responded to, but since no one has brought this up it must be adressed:

    The end result of your social pressures/laws against homosexuality is that when gay men's urges finally do boil over they will seek out incredibly risky and dangerous sexual activities (sex with strangers, prostitutes, etc) increasing the probability of contracting disease. Of course then he will infect his loving and unsuspecting wife.

    In fact the outbreak of AIDS was instrumental in forcing gay men out of the closet because it was too dangerous to remain in it.

  • dhex||

    also achewood has some thoughts on the theme of the original article:

    http://www.achewood.com/index.php?date=06152007

  • Shouting Thomas||

    I'll come out of retirement to respond to stephen the goldberger's deliberate and preposterous lies.

    Somehow, "lovely and unsuspecting wives" weren't getting infected with AIDS prior to the great migration out of the closet. Amazingly, when the social approbation and proscriptions against homosexuality were in place, gays men's urges didn't "boil over."

    Social disapproval isn't the perfect way to convince people to cease destructive sexual behavior, but it does work for most people. It is a good idea to repress homosexual behavior. I'm not saying that violence and imprisonment should be used, but disppproval and ridicule are very good tactics.

    People are capable of controlling their sexual behavior. It just takes a determination on the part of society to convince them to do so.

    The preposterous lie that you are repeating is the plot of "Brokeback Mountain," a heavy handed dimwitted propaganda movie. I know through personal experience several hundred gay men who died of AIDS, and by reference, several thousand gay men who died of AIDS. I do not know a single gay man who has died as a result of violence directed against him by straight men.

    The indoctrination has certainly worked on you. Your head is full of the most outrageous lies. If you want proof that the media and schools are indoctrinating people in homosexuality, you are Exhibit A. You've swallowed the whole shitload of propaganda.

  • Brian||

    Does this mean we shouldn't say 'tomboy' anymore?

  • stephen the goldberger||

    Um the reason "loving and unsuspecting wives" weren't being infected with AIDS before is that it didn't exist.

    I said nothing about violence against homosexuals.

    If you don't want homosexuals as part of your social circle you are free to ridicule and disaprove of them all you like, but you will miss out on several wonderful things they have to offer such as "Wake Me up Before you Go-Go", color coordinated tank tops, and sodomy.

  • ||

    I'll come out of retirement the closet to respond to stephen the goldberger's deliberate and preposterous lies.


    Fixed.

  • ||

    "I have stated the obvious. Removing the social proscriptions against homosexuality has given encouragement to tens of thousands of gay men to destroy themselves"

    No, it all can be traced back to the beginning of the Industrial Age

  • ||

    Shouting Thomas, please let me pleasure your manhood repeatedly. Please!!!

  • ||

    "I know through personal experience several hundred gay men who died of AIDS, and by reference, several thousand gay men who died of AIDS."

    And you claim to be straight???

  • dhex||

    "People are capable of controlling their behavior. It just takes a determination on the part of society to convince them to do so."

    fixed.

    OH WAIT THAT SEEMS WRONG SOMEHOW

  • ||

    Oh my God! The horror! A book that is not unisex nor completely sanitized of any male/female polarities.

    Cathy, please while you are at it, campaign about these other outrageously sexist titles that completely leave boys out of the picture:

    * A Smart Girl's Guide to Boys: Surviving Crushes, Staying True to Yourself, & Other (Heart) Stuff: Nancy Holyoke

    * The Bad Girl's Guide to Getting What You Want: Cameron Tuttle

    * A Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School: Everything You Need to Know About Juggling More Homework, More Teachers, and More Friends: Julie Williams

    * The Good Girl's Guide To Negotiating: How To Get What You Want At The Bargaining Table: Leslie Whitaker, Elizabeth Austin

    * The Fabulous Girl's Guide to Life: Kim Izzo


    Please hurry, our boys are being left out and completely marginalized by this travesty of literary justice! How are we ever going to recover?!

  • ||

    I don't know if Shouting Thomas is a repressed queer, or not, but from his understanding of the article I have determined that he is functionally illiterate.

  • ||

    Sorry if this was covered above, but the authors explained the book as being 'for boys' because they, being male, were writing from their own experience of boyhood and boys' interests.

    If I were in their position, I'm not sure I'd do differently on the off chance that the occasional girl would find the book entertaining. Espcially if I wasn't actually sure if any *would*. Might seem like false advertising.

    I'm sure if the book were called "The Dangerous Book For Boys And Girls" they'd be taking heat from people who think girls should not be doing dangerous things.

  • ||

    Psion writes: " the absence of rocketry or making small explosives ignores the joy to be found in the rapid release of energy through chemistry. In fact, there's precious little chemistry to be found."

    Actually, I don't think there would be much of a point - there's precious little boom in the chemistry sets today. They've taken out everything interesting.

  • ||

    Boys want to slay dragons. Girls want to be loved. In real life, it's a continuum, of course, but anyone who does't see these patterns doesn't spend much attentive time with kids.

    Both orientations are aspects of god, I think.

    But the slaying dragon part, and acting with some chivalry toward women, is very important. It's how we civilize the most dangerous power on earth.

    I was in New Orleans before the hurricane, and every time I started to go out walking at night, a concierge or a taxi driver would warn me that I shouldn't. The trouble was, of course, uncivilized young men who took control of the streets at night while good people hid inside.

    I kept thinking, "Where are the family men?"

    Every safe neighborhood in the world was made that way by men.

  • CowDog||

    "the absence of rocketry or making small explosives ignores the joy to be found in the rapid release of energy through chemistry."

    Try "Backyard Balistics"

  • John C. Randolph||

    Thomas,

    Assuming that you're not just writing satire, let me point out something that might help you out: straight men don't have any issue with gays. In fact, we appreciate the reduced competition.

    So, if you want to remain in the closet, that's your prerogative, but every time you start with the gay-bashing, you give yourself away.

    -jcr

  • Shouting Thomas||

    JCR,

    You see, I predicted the moronic responses. Yours included.

    No subject elicits such idiocy. And they call this website Reason. Ludicrous.

    Every time you start with that stupid shit, jcr, you give yourself away as an asshole.

    Incidently, if there is no stigma attached to being gay, then why does any dissention from the general stupidity of gay-worship elicit the "you're just a closeted queer" theme?

    The answer is obvious. Except to the clowns who've taken the bait on this board.

  • poco||

    And they call this website Reason. Ludicrous.

    Bottoms up!

  • Orion||

    I think many are missing the point. "Reading" isn't a typical boy's past time, so the boys will never read the book according to her. Sounds like she is another product of the public schools programmed with the idea that boys don't think... Personally, I read many books as a child. Mostly military history. My day dreams were of Tours, Agincourt, Lepanto, Saratoga... the list goes on. Perhaps Cathy needs to discuss this prejudice she seems to hold with her therapist.

  • ||

    I'm sure Ms. Young won't be writing of the "exclusionary nature" of A Daring Book for Girls.

    When a book is written for boys, it is sexist.

    When it is written for girls alone, it is...."empowering".

  • ||

    TO: Cathy Young
    RE: 'Is' It?

    "Is The Dangerous Book... sexist?" -- Cathy Young

    To quote one of MY favorite presidents....

    "I guess it all depends on how you define 'is'."

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Male: A member of the unconsidered, or negligible sex. -- Ambrose Bierce]

    P.S. Nice try, babe....but you need to improve your 'shooting' skills.

  • ||

    Thanks Chuck for getting to the meat of the matter. Seems Cathy has a problem with boys being boys. I think she much rather boys did not exist.

  • ||

    "Boys are reminded not to make a girl feel stupid if she needs help, but nothing is said about the possibility of accepting help from a girl, or losing gracefully if bested by a girl at some "boy" activity."

    Nothing is said about many, many things. If you think such things should be in such a book, then why don't you write one?

    Similarly, if you feel that girls are left out, you could write a book aimed at boys and girls, or just at girls. It would be more effective than whining about sexism where none exists.

    Although there are an awful lot of books out there written specifically for girls. Is this sexist too?

  • Stephen W. Browne||

    Hey this sounds like a really cool book for my rambunctious 5-year-old (and the 5-year-old hidden inside me too).

    I also have an 11-month-old daughter - my offspring with a woman who had broken two or three bones taking dares, jumping off playground equipment etc, by the time she was ten.

    I think she'll like it too when she's old enough to read.

  • ||

    Oh Gawd, this is such a worn out meme. FYI, I already have a boy who prefers art to stories about battles. He draws pictures of battles. Very good ones. The problem is that that artwork lands me in the princpal's office several times a year to be told about how this sort of thing isn't acceptable in school. So we have a deal: he draws pictures of ponys and rainbows at school and anything else he wants at home.

    For years you and your ilk have attempted to homogenize boys and girls. Paying the scant tip to nebulous "differences." But ultimately you're just another female sexist pig hand wringing over what those nasty boys will do to the darling little girls.

    You'd be so lucky to have a man who would hand you a handkerchief when you cried. Or a man who was willing to become dangerous, should the need arise.

  • ||

    Right. A book called the "Dangerous Book for Boys" comes out and Ms. Young is concerned that 30 years of gender feminist stereotyping (Boys=Girls in all things) will be unraveled and some girls will be excluded because they might want to play with the boys?

    Isn't that kind of small potatoes next to the criminal femininization of boys that's been going on over the last generation?

  • ||

    I'm in full agreement with Ms. Young. Whether he meant it or not, Jefferson should have written, "All [humans] are created equal", in the same sense Gibran declared, "The whole earth is my birthplace and all humans are my brothers", i.e. brothers or sisters in "humanhood". America must escape from that Biblical, godless & man-made dogma of feminine subordination to males, just as it should have abandoned years ago the "curse of Ham", color & slavery nonsense of "Biblical" but human origin.

  • ||

    Ms. Young writes,

    "...but nothing is said about the possibility of ...losing gracefully if bested by a girl at some "boy" activity."

    Ms. Young seems to tacitly condone a double-standard here, in which it's perfectly acceptable for the girl who bests a boy at some "boy" activity to be proud of such achievement, and to gloat that she, a girl, bested the "stronger boy," and yet Ms. Young finds it not acceptable at all to allow the boy his humiliation in being beaten by the "weaker girl." Isn't the girl's gloating pride, prompted by the initial assumption a girl would lose, just as sexist as the boy's humiliation, prompted by the initial assumption a boy would win?

    What about the girl's obligation to "win gracefully"? Interesting Ms. Young has nothing to say about that.

  • Bart King||

    First, as the author of The Big Book of Boy Stuff, I might quibble with Cathy Young's typification of it as treating "treats rude gags as the essence of boyness." But if I am going to be tiresome, I'd rather share this thought:

    The Dangerous Book for Boys is a nicely packaged and extraordinarily well-marketed book. Giving the illusion of edginess under a sheen of respectability (look, the authors are Brits!), it is, in short, the kind of title that adults think boys will like.

    As for the kids themselves, there is much to be enjoyed therein. But even as a language arts teacher, I have a hard time believing that boys are assiduously perusing its chapter on "Grinding an Italic Nib" or the multiple entries on "Understanding Grammar."

    As to this question: "Where is the book for girls who did stuff like make their own chain mail as kids," it already exists. I wrote it with my five sisters and 50 of my former students: The Big Book of Girl Stuff. (Its reviews have been unremittingly positive.) I would suggest that it is vastly more dangerous than the existing Dangerous Book.

    And so I shake my head ruefully and dine on tart grapes, steeling myself for the flood of bloodless and imitative "Books" for both genders to hit the market in the next few months.

    And I must say, writing this post has been most cathartic.

  • ||

    Oh, who cares? Do yourselves a favor and buy the book for both boys and girls. I bought it for a grandson and found that it delighted his sister, as well.

  • ||

    Please, get over yourselves---and I do mean that in a gentle way. Why can't fun reading be fun reading---why does it have to take a political bent? Try reading and enjoying the impact it has on you as a reader---not a female reader---or a male reader---just a reader. There are a zillion "female" books that stereotype men in negative and neanderthal ways--there are tv shows that do the same---all of tv basically stereotypes women---lovely, thin, generally white, fashionable, strong, blah, balh, blah... Jesus, look at f'n Barbie and every other "doll"---the ultimate in sexism for children. I am a woman--and I know when to separate the times I should become politically and socially aware and the times when it is overkill and out of context. The harm is in the fact that those of you with issues over this book do not see yourself on the fringe of the very puritanical, religious zealots who miss the forest for the trees in every way. Read, read and enjoy with no agenda. This is hardly an issue to concern ourselves with---no brainwashing is being done as happens on every tv, magazine, media frenzied vehicle for reaching society. Give a good day---yes, that is what I said---Give a Good Day and enjoy it.

  • ||

    "America must escape from that Biblical, godless & man-made dogma of feminine subordination to males, just as it should have abandoned years ago the "curse of Ham", color & slavery nonsense of "Biblical" but human origin."

    MAN--There are WAY too many homos on this thread....

  • ||

    "…and the times when it is overkill and out of context."

    The feminists' overkill is their insistence that the cure for gender stereotyping of women is to strip men of their masculinity and to abandon our current culture in which both genders are recognized as having vital roles, being accountable and of value, in favor of a softer, more feminized, theoretically genderless culture of "individuals" free of any de facto value or merit, and likewise free of any moral or societal expectation, obligation, censure, or constraint.

    Many men remain resolute to not surrender their masculinity. Men are intensely loathe to assume the role and degrading tactics of the victim, but are now beginning to find an occasional voice. If the feminists find the opposition to be touchy, they should only blame themselves - men learned everything they know about self-victimization tactics from the feminists, the real masters of gender sensitivity and touchiness.

    Overkill? The response to "The Dangerous Book for Boys" as expressed in the original article and this subsequent blog is a perfect case in point - such touchy opposition simply because a book was written that proclaims masculinity belongs to men.

  • ||

    "Personally, I am always surprised that more guys aren't put-off at being told that something is or isn't manly. What non-two-dimensional person tries to conform to the expectations of their so-called traditional gender role? I thought we decided that that's what made "Home Improvement" such an unfunny TV show."

    The main character's attempt to conform to the traditional masculine role is not what I found unfunny about "Home Improvement." Indeed, the main character quite rightly and commendably recognized that his technical competence as a handyman was critical to his role as husband, father, and breadwinner. He undoubtedly, and again commendably, felt that his masculinity and his manhood were at stake in his earnest attempts to master these skills for himself, his family, and his co-workers. Such provided his motivation and competitive drive to succeed; they gave him value and self-worth. All of this to me I found quite admirable, and I found myself rooting for him.

    What was unfunny was the script-writer's insistence that he perpetually fail in his efforts. It was not his attempts at conformity that made the show unfunny; nor was it the process of conformity itself; it was his failure to actually achieve that desired conformity that was uncomfortable. The viewer constantly felt ill at ease with the fact that the main character in spite of his earnest efforts was never quite able to demonstrate to his own satisfaction that he was fully a man.

    A similar analogy is the plight of the comic character Charlie Brown. I always felt ill at ease with the perpetually repeated strip of Lucy pulling away that football as Charlie Brown is about to kick it. My unease is exactly the same - Charlie has tied his masculinity and his manhood to that kick, he puts everything he has, heart and soul, into proving himself, and time and again he fails at such endeavor.

    And note in the case of the comic strip, the culprit in his failure is not himself, but a cultural feminist figure who artificially seeks to deprive him of success and render him less of a man.

    The feminists will argue that the entire masculinity-proving process men go through is a ludicrous, needless waste of energy. But who are the feminists to judge this FOR MEN!? The simple fact is that many men do not see it that way. Men feel a need to prove their gender through their achievements and through competition with their male peers. That's what many men - I think most men - want.

    So I ask the feminists…why not let men have that process in peace? Why mock them and ridicule them and stand in their way? Why attempt to deny men their masculine egos? Instead why not encourage their success and happiness and actually let them kick that football?

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