Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pocket Guide to Girl and Boy Stuff

Someone uploaded the contents of these books on imgur:  These are The Pocket Guide to Girl Stuff and The Pocket Guide to Boy Stuff, both by Bart King.

I've been wanting to make a post about this for a while because you see these books all the time.  Now let's discuss the contents of the two books.  "Stuff" that pertains to boys: Activities, Experiments, Fireworks and Explosives (we'll get to that later), flying things, gadgets, tools, and toys, gross stuff, riddles, sland, and weapons.  "Stuff" that pertains to girls: Boys, Friends, Cliques, Secrets, and Gossip, Fun stuff to do, Nicknames, Handwriting, words, and doodles, Beauty, Hair, and Shopping.

In the Girls Stuff book there are 43 pages devoted to boys.  Yes, you read that correctly. A part of me think that fine.. let's teach girls about boys.  Perhaps it's understandable that each gender should be more understanding of the other. However, then wouldn't you expect the boy book to have stuff about girls?? Yeah, you would... but no, it does not.  Why would boys need to grow up to be men that understand women?  So, let's take a look at some gems. The first important thing that a girl should learn about boys is that they are actually cooler than girls and are no competition to you since you like shopping marathons and he likes science experiments (as we've already learned). Here's the text 

"Guy friends can be easier to hang out with than girls.  Even though boys may not be better listeners, you don't have to worry as much about what you say around them. That's partly because the odds are that boys are not necessarily big gossipers.  Plus, you probably won't be competing with guy friends, so there's less friction" (p. 23). 

I like how when girls talk about things, they are gossiping, but when boys talk about things they are just, well, talking.  Also, I'm sick of society pitting girls against each other. It needs to end.

Here's the next amazing bit of advice... when a guy wants more than you do, it's because YOU led him on.  

"Don't let a guy friend assume that being your friend means more than it does, though.  A guy might fall madly in love with a girl if he believes the girl is friends with him because she likes him".  (p. 24)

What in the actual fuck?  So if a guy starts to like me more than a friend it's because I let him assume it?

One part that was positive was on p. 50:
"MARRIAGE?! Hey slow down there! You should stay single and independent for another decade or so."  

Good to know that he speaks to independence, but I'm not so sure that singledom and independence are mutually exclusive.  They may be for some people, but I would have preferred some distinction there.

Bart did have many female acknowledgements at the end of the book and started out by noting that his sisters had a lot of input in the book, which is great. 

Moving on....... 
What came first?  Does the market research show these differences in interest between boys and girls because that's what they actually enjoy or because that's how the marketers have always marketed things and therefore they end up with generations of boys and girls with specifically narrowed interests?  I'm just not understanding how in modern society, we want to teach boys experiments and technology, but not girls?  People wonder why less girls are interested in science and the like.  I don't think it stems from the school.  It stems from society and how girls feel they are perceived or how they should be.  

Also, why are boys learning about explosives and weapons? Do we really need to teach them that in order to grow up to be a man, they need to be down with these things?  I would not want my child (or any child) to feel that in order for him to be a man, he needs to be associated with violence.

I wish there was a little more equality in these books. The boys should have learned about girls if the girls are learning about boys. I have not read the sections on beauty and shopping, but it sincerely annoys me that these are even things that we want to inundate our girls with.  He might actually put a positive spin on it, but I think putting these things into their mind at such a young age is never a good thing.  The things that make you female are not the beauty products and outward appearances you present or the clothes you wear.


Kell Andrews said...

Sad. Thanks for posting about this. I can't believe this nonsense is still being put out there.

party king said...

And remember: pushing boys to have an interest in "weapons!" is just as ugly as pushing girls to have an interest in cliques and gossip.