Friday, April 21, 2006

Boyishness: It's a Boy: Women Writers on Raising their Sons edited by Andrea J. Buchanan. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2005.

One of the issues which I'm reaching out to try and understand is "boyishness" as separated from the notion of both male-genitalia and "masculinity" (the first is obvious, but the second is because I know of many women who seem to be "tomboys" but what they express are qualities shared by their "un-masculine" geeky male friends: the urge to build, to collect, to know. If they are sharing a model of manhood, it's most definitely of the gamma (non-competitive) variety).

So I picked up this book out of curiosity: it's no use as a research resource. The samples are arbitrary of the "talking to my friends over coffee" variety and one or two of the writers miss the point (the best two pieces are Karen E. Bender "The Bully's Mother" and Katie Kaput, "The Things You Can't Teach" on being a Transsexual Mother of a boy). But what runs through this book is a thread of energy and curiosity. Boyishness, as it is described here, is wanting to poke at things, to work things out, to do things to things. It is active and provocative and it doesn't look backwards too often (the one exception is the woman whose eldest boy is a storyteller--at night his imagination is the family curse). My favourite is the story of the boy who, unable to get his tower block to stand up, resorted to duct tape. Isn't that just a wonderfully Heinleinian image?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me introduce you to my friend Bill:

8:52 PM  

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