Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Boys will be boys

Masculinity is not a social construct:
Several years ago, a nice family came over our house. It was partly for a social call, and partly to see if our family would do well as a daycare for their two kids when the mom went back to work. The girl was about four, and the boy was about six.

As we adults chatted, the kids explored the house. At the far end of the living room were the toys, including a tidy bucket full of weapons belonging to our sons and daughters. There were bows and arrows, swords of all kinds, scimitars, light sabers, pistols, slingshots, rifles, daggers, and machine guns. I watched a little nervously, because I knew this mom leaned progressive, and was raising her kids to be non-violent.

Her little girl immediately found a baby doll, sat down, and put the doll to bed. The little boy scuttled over to the weapons, and before I could say more than, “Um–” he had grabbed two swords and swung them, with a natural expertise, in a gleeful arc over his head.

“HAHH!” he shouted, and held that pose for a moment, swords raised. Eyes on fire, happiest boy in the world.

I slewed my eyes over to his parents, not sure what I would see. Horror? Disgust? Outrage? Dismay?

They both looked . . .  immensely relieved. “Well, there goes that,” said the dad, apparently referring to the no-weapons policy they’d followed strictly for the last six years. I tried to apologize, but they both said, “No, no, it’s fine.” And it was fine. There was no tension in the room. Their son had hands made to hold weapons, and now he had some.

I wasn’t surprised to see the boy taking so naturally to swordplay, but I was fascinated to see his parents taking so naturally to the rules of our house, which were so different from the rules in their own home.  Once their son’s unsullied hands first made contact with the weapons of war, the whole family relaxed into that reality immediately.
Parents can play all the mind games they like, but except for the gammas-by-nature, most boys will eventually find their way to some modicum of masculinity. And even the gammas, by virtue of their snarky sniping, clearly have some notion that they are missing something.


Robert What? said...

When I was a kid - back when dinosaurs roamed the earth - I had a friend who had the greatest collection of toy army weapons including toy hand-grenades. (These days we'd probably be expelled - or words - if the school learned we even had them in our houses.)

Did we grow up to be violent psychopaths? Well, maybe I did :) but my friend grew up to be as left wing and progressive as they come. What does that tell you?

The Original Hermit said...

Growing up, we all had toy guns. Some of my friends screwed their lives up in other ways: alcohol, poor choices in women, etc. But none of us ever hurt anybody.

Alexander Thompson said...

Sword fights with wrapping paper tubes was always unavoidable.

I don't remember this stuff when I was a kid. I remember it more from college with video games and such. "Playing wargames is disrespectful to soldiers.".

I guess those people had kids.

Student in Blue said...

Hell, even as a super-shy, introverted kid growing up, I loved my swords and guns. And martial arts stuff.

I think even gamma-by-natures play with swords and guns - except it winds up being more involved and wound up in escapism.

And with most forms of entertainment/escapism having been carefully cultivated in order to send the "right messages" for some decades, it's no wonder gammas of today are completely out of touch with masculinity as compared to gammas of yesteryear.

AmyJ said...

Gave my toddler an empty paper towel roll a few months ago, to play tug of war with our dog. Instead, he immediately wielded it like a sword on my legs as I did dishes.

This behavior isn't taught. Men are born with a warrior instinct.

Elder Rock said...

As one mom I met says, at the breakfast table, boys will chew their piece of toast into the shape of a gun and shoot at their sister with it. There's no way around it.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

I was into toy weapons, toy trucks, toy soldiers, and dinosaurs. At age 9 or 10, inspired by an interest in ancient Romans, Franks, Vikings, and Medieval Knights, I organised the local boys into groups and had them make primitive weapons (swords, spears, wooden shields out of plywood) and then fought pitched battles in the woods. The local moms, I think, were not my greatest fans.

B.J. said...

It's been my experience that you give a boy anything and he will turn it into a mighty sword to vanquish you with, or a epic gun to blast away. Doesnt matter, toy rabbit, piece of celery, whatever.

JP said...

Bitch please! As a kid, I had a proper breakneck airsoft rifle .

liberranter said...

“Well, there goes that,” said the henpecked, emasculated dad, apparently referring to the no-weapons policy his wife had unilaterally and strictly imposed for the last six years."

Fixed. And don't try to tell me that this guy had even an ounce of authority over his household. I've met too many such types in my life and they are ALL stamped from the same mold.

Conscientia Republicae said...

My two older sons can look at any piece of metal and know it comes from one of my guns.

b1bae96e-6447-11e3-b6bb-000f20980440 said...

I would bet money that rule wasn't followed long before 6. Boys will make weapons out of anything, so unless they watched him every waking hour (which I suppose is possible) he would have solved the problem long before then.

I didn't give them toy weapons before 4&6, due to space limitation of being in a condo. But that didn't stop them from using what they could find. They fashioned duplos into guns, etc. When they were 3 & 5 they got a hold of a 3lb bag of coffee grounds. Stabbed one end of it with a fork so that it would stream coffee as it sailed through the air and pretended it was a grenade.

Jill said...

Good thing it wasn't a single mom. She might've threatened police action, like my neighbors, who are full-grown adults afraid of an 8-yr-old w/ a toy sword. They apparently not only believe that ninjas still exist, but that children are actively being recruited and trained as assassins.

David-093 said...

I would've gone insane if my parents hadn't allowed me to fight with toy swords or guns. That's half of what we did as kids. My cousin, friends and I had lengthy light-saber battles when we were younger. We'd beat the hell out of each other, we'd wrestle, fight, jump off stuff. Parents that don't allow that must hate their kids.

corvinus333 said...

...why is there this push for women to be in the military again?

David-093 said...

I guess theres hope for that Progressive family since they didnt freak at their kid and seemed relieved that he was normal.

ray said...

It was all athletics and army-action until adolescence. Mostly outside, running free with other boys. Course that was well before onset of the Total Safety Gynarchy and omnipresent Great Eye-Sis (with cellphone and 911 preset). Because Offenders!

Yup waaay waaaay back when it was ok to be a little male in America.

Noah B #120 said...

My grandma used to keep me & several male cousins and never allowed us to have toy weapons. She had only raised girls as a mother. It didn't matter, we would pick up sticks from the yard and pretend they were guns. When we got older we made them out of pieces of plywood we found and glue together. We used clothes pins and rubber bands to fire real projectiles at each other. At that point she realized she wasn't going to be able to stop us from playing army or whatever and gave up on the whole idea.

Noah B #120 said...

When I was a kid I often walked around town with a 10" Buck knife on my belt. No one ever said a word about it.

maxsnafu said...

My brother and I used to play the 1812 overture with the speakers facing out the window as we threw cherry bombs at his toy soldiers.

Student in Blue said...

I guess theres hope for that Progressive family since they didnt freak at their kid and seemed relieved that he was normal.

They knew they were keeping him from something he wanted and enjoyed. They were relieved because through no fault of their own (seemingly) their little kid just "happened" to come upon weapons. Out of their hands now, nothing they can do about it. They "did all they could" and so they remain good Progressives.

The fact that they can remain good Progressives is why they're relieved.

PhantomZodak said...

toy companies know this, that's why they don't make girl action figures. target knows that boys will still go to the boys aisle, despite the lack of a sign, but it gets them more silly liberals in the store.

Robin Capuani said...

I don't see how this particular example proves anything at all. There are so many factors going into the why of what that it's impossible to make any strong assertions about it. Regardless of what I just what, and regardless of what factors are in play, those particular children enjoy what they've been shown to enjoy here and that shouldn't be denied on ideological grounds.

Unknown said...

My house, my rules. Apologizing to some progtards because he has a normal home is ridiculous.

Dexter said...

...why is there this push for women to be in the military again?

Because Progressive assholes want the military to be ineffective.

Anyone who believes that babies are "blank slates" is either very stupid or doesn't have any kids.

Here is an oldie:


Scandinavian toy retailer Top-Toy, a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand, has made a bold move in its Swedish catalog this year, working to do away with the guns-for-boys, dolls-for-girls gender system that is a mainstay of the industry. Instead, its catalog is trying to be gender-neutral, reflecting Sweden’s national focus on equality in the workplace and in society.

The WSJ’s Anna Molin reports:

In a country of 9 million people, gender equality is seen as a bedrock principle of a productive workforce and a healthy welfare state. Sweden needs women in the labor force to maintain output. State-funded child care structures put in place after World War II have enabled women to return to work after having children, and four different government entities are devoted to the issue.

Mr. Nyberg said the changes reflect cultural trends. “We want our catalog to reflect how kids are playing today,” he said. “It’s important for us to be modern.”

The Swedish advertising regulator, Molin reports, has been getting pushy on companies that promote images of men and women it deems off-message: Top-Toy was criticized for depicting stereotypical scenes of girls with dollhouses and boys with weapons, and fashion retailer H&M HM-B.SK +0.25% found itself in the regulator’s sights for showing bikini models with an “unhealthy tan.”

wordsofgoldjodi said...

My son (4) turns just about anything into a weapon, there's no stopping him. And my daughter (1yo) loves dolls and stuffed animals, she hugs and loves on them.
I'm told nowadays that there is no gender differences yet my day to day proves otherwise.

Harry Berry said...

It and if you look at still goes on to the white a condition baby elephants to put the baby elephant just behind mother elephant and they'll put this great big China great big stake in the ground and Addium the baby will keep pulling towards the mother and every time it pulls obviously it gets held back and it isn't long before the baby quits gives up and it no longer.


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Feather Blade said...

"Playing wargames is disrespectful to soldiers.".

That's an ...interesting assertion. If I'm not mistaken, wargames are what a whole bunch of soldiers play in their spare time, even on deployment.

Would purveyors of the above sentiment say that also is disrespectful, or is it different because reasons?

Mindstorm said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kriegsspiel_(wargame) - hmmm....

Cecil Henry said...

Yes, and it is important that boys use their aggression. They learn how to control it, how to use it--for good or evil.

Without this they neither develop their physical and intellectual abilities, nor learn how to handle the emotions that come with them.

Boys playing war don;t become war loving adults. They become men who know how to use aggression to build and create prosperity--- and when necessary-- how to fight to protect it.

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