caprizchka left a long comment in reply to my post What Are Boys Good For?
A long comment lead to a long response, best served as an article and not buried in a comment thread.
Caprizchka, You’ve packed a lot into that comment, I’ll do my best to reply.
I wonder whether attitudes fostered in children of this nature are part of the logical progression from “The Tender Years Doctrine”, child labor laws and other advocacy of children with the apparent aim of extending childhood (perhaps indefinitely). A lot of these socially-engineered gender wars seems to me to be anti-sex or otherwise attempting to delay it until marriage as well as glorification of virginity–particularly in girls in furtherance of increasing her marriage market value.
I honestly don’t know. I interpret this question as meaning “Can the cause be that children are primarily raised by (potentially) single mothers in the case of divorce, that children can no longer be forced to work in a factory, and general advocacy for children’s well-being.” I’m not sure that there was a direct intent to extend childhood, but acknowledge that it might be a by-product.
As far as the social engineering, again, I think that’s an emergent property more than a deliberate goal, or at least that the current phenomena of social engineering by Feminist parties are a by-product of historical conditions.
Mary Wollstonecraft certainly made the same observations that you have.
Politics is the management of power and resources via relationship. Gender roles have always been about managing the resources of labour and wealth–of both men and women–to ensure a better survival. My grandparents successfully demonstrated how this was effective and fulfilling for both. We seem to have adopted a rule of thumb, in the Western world whereby women select and are given the lighter physical tasks, and a focus on child-rearing in the early years. Note that in medieval China, Japan, Korea, etc. that women were considered hard, physical workers as much as men. I’ve asked someone I know that is familiar with current Japanese culture to see if this holds true to this day, in some form. I look forward to his reply, should he offer me one.
It would seem to me that extended childhood is ultimately utilitarian to various adults and does dubious service if any to the child him or herself. Reading of the tremendous feats performed by “children” of our past tells me that human beings have a history of being far more independently driven and self reliant than the norm today.
I would agree that this would be so. I recall John Taylor Gatto writing about The Prussian School, a form of education that we follow today, that essentially served to educate people enough so that they may successfully perform a given set of tasks, but not enough so that they might think beyond and question the foundations of their society. I also agree regarding how much more capacity we seemed to demonstrate in the past. Even in my grandparent’s time, children learned about the real world, because the very survival of the family and it’s members depended on it. Out of curiosity, which children that have done great feats are you thinking of?
Meanwhile, given that both sexuality and character are apparently determined in childhood, setting up genders into opposite camps–including sex-segregated schools or prisons for that matter–sets up a conflict from the start.
The thing is, that gender has not been set up in opposing camps until the second wave of Feminism in the Western world. We’ve always acknowledged the difference, but there was no class warfare that I’m aware of predated that. I will acknowledge that there have, across history in various parts of the world been a distinction between who does what, but the actual “battle of the sexes” is a recent and unfortunate novelty.
What seems to be missing however is the notion of productive work, apprenticeship, and self-directed education–features of the lives of children of our collective history.
Yes, I agree. Have you been reading Gatto? :)
An issue that is plaguing today’s society is a discontinuity between generations. I hold the strong opinion that we can benefit from some past and faded institutions: a focus on craftsmanship, production of real goods, the apprenticeship system and mentoring–for boys and girls. Consider the relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller as an extreme example or of Henry David Thoreau, mentored by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
This brings me back to a larger issue. I believe that a big part of what ails us as a society is our over-ease. We text each other from mere steps away, we have anonymous friendships over the internet, we rarely grow, raise, harvest or kill our own food. Most of us have never been forced to sleep without shelter, and few of us have ever, unwillingly, gone without food for more that a few days. We are disconnected from the reality of the physical world. Our hyper-availability of cheap and nearly invisible energy shields us from understanding the heavy toil of building a life from the raw elements of the earth. We buy products made in China, though the internet and have it delivered next-day by UPS. Do you know that it takes an average of 50k square feet of land to feed one adult a vegetarian diet for one year? This is one of my goals, to grow 90%+ of my food. I heat my house with wood that I cut or collect. Thank god for gas and chainsaws, I don’t have my forbears’ stamina! If it weren’t for electricity, petroleum, insta-goods, it’d be a full-time job. And I don’t have to stave off raiders and starving thieves.
Tangent: I also think that our long-livedness has a part of play. We no longer seem to have a sense of urgency. We Westerners don’t see death up-close, regularly. We don’t starve. We don’t die in mass-plagues. Our long, comfortable lives, combined with a general disconnection and anonymity in a population of 7 billion plus humans makes it difficult for the average suburbanite to connect to reality. Back to our topic.
This “gender war” that was constructed can only exist in the land of cheap and plenty. It wasn’t until the world was built to a certain degree of pervasive wealth that the spoiled-children movement started by aristocratic women could exist. Frankly, when a woman is pulling a plow and a man is having to hold it upright, and that the task takes days for a single field, there’s no time to worry about “microagressions.”
Working together toward a common productive goal–with material benefit–would seem to me to be a way of building bridges between diverse demographics of all sorts: adults, children, family, friends, hired help, etc., of both sexes. Ironically, however, such a thing generally occurs in Third World countries free of the child labor, child protection, and compulsory schooling laws of the West, until Western bodies set forth to interfere “for the children!”
Meanwhile, in co-ed production ventures, far more productivity results when women and girls are appropriately attired. Meanwhile Western do-gooders decry opportunity for fashionable expression in Third World women, exalting slut-wear, while “rescuing” sex workers from the means to survive.
Productivity in co-ed situations: I don’t know much about this. Point me to something specific?
“while “rescuing” sex workers from the means to survive.”
/me chuckles. Cute and clever turn of phrase.
Given that most of the above-described social engineering efforts have been spearheaded by women’s groups I sadly conclude that we might all be better off as a species if such women’s groups were cloistered and effectively muzzled. Since supposedly in our politically-correct obsessed world, “hate speech” is prohibited, such a thing would be only decried by hypocrites–or extended adolescents which may be the same thing. However, rather than advocating such a regressive policy it would seem to me that noise-cancelling ear plugs ought to be the new fashion statement.
Given that most of the above-described social engineering efforts have been spearheaded by women’s groups
I’ll take issue with this. Note that my point of view spans the globe and human history, rather than modern Western history. Much of this was in play long before modern women’s groups started. Modern women’s groups, Feminism, didn’t sprout from nothingness, certain conditions were necessary to permit this virus to flourish. I stand by my claim that Feminism is a by-product of gynocentrism, that is, our attitudes of protecting women and of sacrificing men predate all of this. Feminism is the by-product of unconscious attitudes which, thanks to leisure time, security and a world of plenty. The real liberation of men and women came in the form of plenty. Without the pre-existing full, warm, dry and safe, Feminism could not exist.
I sadly conclude that we might all be better off as a species if such women’s groups were cloistered and effectively muzzled.
I’ll disagree again. Let them speak, yap and bark like a pack of spoiled chihuahuas on acid. Let us amplify that mad yapping. What we should be doing is to remove the mental muzzle that the rest of us have worn. I find value in the extremist nut-cases. They like to paint hyperbolic black-and-white scenarios. Let us hold a mirror to them, and place the camera on them. And let us adults simply voice our thoughts to provide contrast.
However, rather than advocating such a regressive policy it would seem to me that noise-cancelling ear plugs ought to be the new fashion statement.
I hear you… wait, what? :) Again, a very cute turn of phrase, I like it.
Here’s the good news. The tide is turning. I’ve often likened the internet to a global subconscious mind. If we can accept the metaphor that each of us is a neuron connecting with others in a global brain, perhaps we can see how it takes time for us to work this stuff out. And even when we get that Ah-hah! moment, that brief epiphany, it still takes us some time to integrate it emotionally and behaviourally. We’re starting to open our eyes, the idea is taking shape. It’ll take some time for us to work it out until such time as the end of this generation starts to consciously change it’s way of looking at things. If we don’t wipe ourselves out as a species, I have hope that within three generations that our great-great grandchildren will look back at these times and shake their heads as we do at the notion of racism and slavery.