Just the other day I read an article in the Independent i about how bad it is girls are brought up to be love sick, princesses, hopelessly destined to spend their lives waiting around for a man. The article was good, but I had heard it all before. What intrigued me was total disregard of how boys are brought up, and the ‘problems’ surrounding that. It seems that in the fight for equality of the sexes, the female front of the battle is using masculinity as her weapon, in a kind of “we can do that too” fashion. I’ve blogged before on how I feel about this, so I needn’t do so again. What I want to point out here is that bringing boys up with “powerful”, “strong” and “killing” children’s paraphernalia isn’t necessarily a good thing either. Glorifying these traits leads to the degrading of the opposite, and although both masculinity and femininity should be celebrated, there is a line to draw for both. Just as some believe girls reading or watching programmes about princesses might socialise them into hopeless romantics whose purpose in life is to wait around for her prince, boys playing video games about committing crime may be socialised into believing violence is good fun and something to be practised. I’m not suggesting that either circumstances are definite, but these criticisms work both ways.
There are things to be taught from either end of the masculine-feminine spectrum. It’s awesome that more women (but certainly not all) are able to experiment and embrace masculine characteristics, but as we start to accept these ‘lessons’, let us not forget that males can benefit from learning about more feminine things too. People find it admirable if a girl says she wants to be a fire fighter, so why isn’t the same admiration applied to a boy if he says he wants to be a nurse?