Friday, 13 February 2009

Girl Scouts/Boy Guides

"Are the boys being crowded out?" asks Jenny Murray on this morning's Woman's Hour. I'm a Mummy Blogger (really!) and I'm at home listening to the radio and doing 'wimmin's work' while Sarah goes out every day to earn the cash, so I find this whole girl/boy discussion fascinating. And apart from asking whether boys and girls should be mixing with their own 'gender' (it's sex, for goodness sake - the feather-boa wearing thing is 'gender') this was a useful item. Girls can join the cubs and scouts, play football with the boys (at least until age 13) but the boys can't join the Girl Guides. Girls are everywhere and can - as one speaker on the programme said - 'do anything' while boys, well, must be 'boys'.
One father of a boy with three big sisters said his son "feels comfortable in a tutu, and wearing feather-boas". A former colleague of mine said he could always tell a man who had a sister. And having taught at an all-boys school where there was a massive macho reaction against anything effeminate or delicate (though, as usual with adolescent boys, they did 'protest too much') I'm convinced of the civilising influence of girls on boys. But has it gone too far? What's happening to the boys? Are we in danger of raising a generation of men with an identity-crisis?
It's fascinating watching Charlie play, precisely because he gravitates towards anything 'typically' masculine, especially things with wheels. It doesn't matter if it's pink or blue or decorated with Fifi Forget-Me-Not or Thomas the Tank Engine, he just loves wheels. And cars. And trains. Boys toys. There are others less gender-stereotypical toys for him to choose from. But he doesn't. He's a typical little 'boy'. He's walking like a Frankenstein mini-me and opening doors and taking things apart; he can kick a ball (unlike his father!) and generally cause havoc round the house. Actually, a spell in the Guides might do him good. I'm just glad he's got an older sister!
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