Boys are icky and stupid

When I first came across this review of the Hunger Games movie, I thought, “Finally! A review that doesn’t fawn all over it and use it as some sort of tired metaphor for ‘America, today, our future!'” But in reading I found that the actual topic wasn’t so much how the movie is just rehash of all those Seventies movies of an evil decadent future America where they play deadly games, but how we should just accept that boys won’t read books written by women: author Steve Sailer relates how his young son quit reading the Harry Potter books “in disgust” when he found out J.K. Rowling was a woman as if this action on his kid’s part, of rejecting something he was enjoying because it was written by an icky girl, was no big deal and somehow acceptable.

America, what kind of sons are you bringing up? Is this what you want? To produce young men who will reject anything a woman makes “in disgust”? Do you really think it’s cute when your kid refuses to have anything to do with something because “a girl did it!” Let me tell you something. It’s not cute. A proper father wouldn’t stand for it. If it were my son, and I were a father (hell, if I were a mother — my mother would have raised holy hell if I’d pulled some unreasonable trick like that), and my son came to me and said “I can’t read this, a lady wrote it”… every night after dinner he would have been made to read a single chapter of the rest of the book or books. Out loud. To myself and my spouse. And there would have been no television or other “reward” until he was finished. With the entire book. Yes, that would probably scar his tender soul for life, but you know what? Some scars are deserved.

Damn it all to hell, America, you do not raise your kids like this. You do not just accept whatever lame sexist bullshit they learn from tv or their peers or some dumbass adult. You don’t just chuckle and say “boys will be boys” because those boys will grow up to be lonely, angry young men who don’t understand why they aren’t happy. Why they can’t get a date. Or why their relationships always founder because of mutual contempt. Because women don’t respect guys who think they are lesser beings and treat them like shit. Oh, they might fear them, and the men in their lives might think fear=respect, but it doesn’t. Women are people, not pets or dolls or evil monsters. And they shouldn’t have to hide behind initials because some little boy-man somewhere is raising his son to think girls have cooties. No wonder our country is in such a mess. We’re raising little sexist, racist monsters.

9 thoughts on “Boys are icky and stupid

  1. […] kid refuses to have anything to do with something because “a girl did it!”

    Wait ’til he learns where babies come from.

  2. It is definitely a shame that this reaction exists. I’m baffled by it. I started reading at a very young age, I think I was starting to read at 4 according to family legend, and I was around 5 years ahead of my age group in reading skills throughout K12. I had many female authors that wrote books I enjoyed. Still do, of course.

    Although I must confess I thought L.E. Modesitt was a female author for many years …

    • S’okay. I thought Andre Norton was a male author for ages.

      And let’s not even get into James Tiptree, Jr.

      • Because of my name, and the fact that one of the mispronunciations of it that I’ve had directed at me in my life was “Andre,” I always knew she was a woman. But actually, come to think of it, it may just have been the fact that the friend who introduced me to her books said “she’s my favorite author.”

        By the way, Norton is one of those authors who can write, imho, “just like a man” — especially her early juveniles – early Cold-War-era spy things like At Sword’s Point — written using the pen name “Andrew North.”

  3. This is depressing. There are similar sentiments in comments made by some grown men about Hunger Games – they seem to squirm uncomfortably in the face of any work that depicts a woman fighting instead of relying on a man all the time. As if all women in history have been damsels in distress; forget women soldiers who have fought openly or disguised as men, women who’ve defended their homes and towns against attack, women who’ve been pirates, assassins, spies and sharpshooters. Many interesting stories there. It’s like they can’t see the spectrum of women that actually exists, because that would mean admitting that women are individuals; instead there’s a very narrow representation of women (the girl tied to the train tracks screaming for help, maybe?) and anyone that falls outside that is not a “real woman” or is just a ludicrous feminist fantasy.

    It’s such a disgusting unwillingness to step into another person’s mind, a frantic attempt to stop feeling even the slightest bit of empathy for someone who’s not just like you and see them as an individual. The boy who ditches J.K. Rowling’s books just because she’s a woman doesn’t want to live in her imagination. Maybe if he steps into a world crafted by a woman he’ll be less male or get mental cooties or something – never mind that Harry Potter is a boy.

    It speaks of an insecurity too, and one that’s felt by whatever grown men are nodding in acceptance of the boy’s behavior and acting like that themselves. That if they try to step into a female character’s shoes (or a female author’s work) they will somehow not be “real men.” And even if you tell them about the many men who have enjoyed books with female protagonists, they will think that these aren’t “real men,” (I’ve seen people admit this), because real men can only be expected to imagine the thoughts of other real men. And their narrow idea of women will usually fail to account for the fact that women can think about war, fantasy worlds, science, literature, government, ethics or basically anything that doesn’t have to do with shopping, light romance and domestic chores.

    As for the second post you link to… I guess when these fools read about Rue and Thresh in the book they skimmed over the part that refers to them as dark-skinned and fell on the default assumption that humans they care about would have to be white… but skin color is an unavoidable fact when they see it right there on screen, poor babies.

    • “The boy who ditches J.K. Rowling’s books just because she’s a woman doesn’t want to live in her imagination”

      He doesn’t even want to live in his own imagination. I mean, I presume Steve Sailer is married to the mother of his children. What does she think of her own son rejecting books written by her sex? He’s basically rejected his mother. I thought we got rid of “a boy must reject his mother in order to become a man” nonsense back in the Fifties. I guess not.

  4. I grew up reading Anne McCaffrey and a host of other authors, some male, some female. There does seem to be a slight difference in presentation and “voice” with women authors; different, but by no means inferior.

    A lot of sci-fi storylines have strong, confident, competent female roles, many (most?) of them written by male authors. Heinlein, David Drake, David Weber and others. If you arbitrarily cull out women authors, just because, you are 1) a mysognistic idiot, and 2) robbing yourself of access to some really quality material. See point 1).

    I honestly think of all the blogs I tend to visit, those by women are usually the ones I enjoy the most. They tend to be more introspective and detailed, IMHO.

    • I dunno about Heinlein. His female characters tend to be pretty much American archetypes: the spunky tomboy, the frontier wife, the intimidating matriarch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s a tad formulaic. I haven’t read any of Drake’s or Weber’s stuff. But this isn’t really about how men can write women — I agree that they can and do. It’s about how women’s writing is dismissed simply because it is women’s writing. Basically it’s saying a book written by a woman has “girl cooties” and must have something, somewhere in it that’s female and therefore flawed or inadequate yet still somehow dangerous to masculinity. This is why I laugh when men insist that they are the simple, straightforward, logical, linear-thinking sex. It’s quite the contrary if you ask me. No woman could come up with the convoluted rationales men do for just about anything. Or, well, we could, but why bother?

  5. Weird. My son and all of his friends (5th grade) have read the Hunger Games trilogy, and think Katniss is totally badass. His only complaint was that she didn’t have a higher body count at the end – kinda missing the point, but we’ll debate the finer points of government oppression further as he gets older.

    They’re also Harry Potter fans. And all of this in backwater rural NC.

    Granted, my son used to think that girls and girl-related stuff were “icky,” but he was much younger at the time, and the girls in that age group were all “right back atcha, loser,” so perhaps it’s a developmental stage thing with this critic’s kid.

    Or maybe the critic is just a huge misogynistic asshole. But not everyone is bringing up their sons this way.

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