Quote of the day

Can a freer vision of girlhood survive without reimagining boyhood?


Tracy Clark-Flory
February 11, 2008 9:40PM (UTC)

Finally, a "quote of the day" that isn't noteworthy for being nasty. In the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Peggy Orenstein writes about how parents often struggle to allow their daughters to "have it both ways: to be able to paint their nails and break them too; to embrace whatever it might be that makes them girls in a way that will sustain rather than constrain them." But in picking apart the sometimes paradox of modern girlhood, she makes an often-neglected point about the confines of boyhood:

"Whether girlie or girlist, girls, because they're allowed more latitude in their identities, can still be girls: Boys, on the other hand, must be boys -- unless no one is watching. In another study of younger children, [researchers] found that if ushered alone into a room and told they could play with anything, nearly half the boys chose 'feminine' toys as often as 'masculine' ones, provided they believed nobody, especially their fathers, would find out. That made me question whether any more expansive vision of girlhood can survive without a similar overhaul of boyhood, which, apparently, is not in the offing."

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