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BOYS WILL BE BOYS by Myriam Miedzian


How We Encourage Violence in Our Sons and What We Can Do to Stop It

by Myriam Miedzian

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-385-23932-7
Publisher: Doubleday

 Here, Miedzian (scholar-in-residence at the Center for American Cultural Studies at Columbia Univ.) presents an exhaustively researched analysis of the inflammatory effects of contemporary American culture on what, she argues, is man's innate predisposition toward violence. Miedzian's position is radical: Nothing short of toppling the male mystique will save us in this nuclear age. As she defines it, that mystique is tough, without empathy, equating action and adventure with bloodshed and destruction, hypercompetitive, woman- scorning, and frequently xenophobic and racist. She addresses all the usual objections--mainly that that's just the way men are, and that trying to change them will create rampant homosexuality, take the piquancy out of male/female relationships, deny men expression of their natural attraction to risk and excitement, create a nation of wimps, and put us at risk for international aggression--and refutes them convincingly. Some of her suggestions for change may strike readers as extreme: abolishing football and boxing, for instance, or denying children access to any TV other than programs on a to-be-created children's public TV network, or all but prohibiting the rental or sale of heavy-metal and rap music and videos to kids. But other proposals seem unarguable: Give boys early and ongoing education in parenting and family life. Instruct boys in nonviolent conflict mediation. Encourage fathers to take a more active role in parenting. Raise people's awareness by any means possible of how pervasive, false, and dangerous is the media's glorification of violence. Covers the same territory as Deborah Prothrow-Stith & Michael Weissman's Deadly Consequences (reviewed below) but with much greater depth and scope. Sure to be controversial, this is a major contribution to contemporary thought.