Art and the philosophy of life

Boys & girls…

A few days ago, Debbie and I were walking through the toy aisles at Target.

We were looking a life-like baby dolls and tutu’s, talking animals and ponies.  Doll strollers and dollhouses.  Toy food and tiny dishes.  Everything was pink, white and light.

Then we walked across the floor and entered a dark green aisle that was filled with rockets, guns, tiny figures, with furious looks on their faces, wearing grenades strapped to their bodies.  We saw planes and tanks and bloody cartoon faces on tiny action figures.  Everything in the aisle was dark, vicious, and violent.   Wrestlers, bulked up with open mouths, screaming.  Camouflage colors.  No light.  Darkness.  War.

What are we doing?

Comments on: "Boys & girls…" (28)

  1. I don’t know. “The horror”, said Marlon Brando as colonel Kurtz before he was executed in the film “Apocalypse Now” . I hope that won’t come to us.

    • Oh, me too. We have to change things, if we want things to be different. It won’t happen because of our governments, it will happen because people all over the world want it.

      • I completely agree with you. I don’t know why we don’t learn of our history. War only brings us destruction and desolation. And the innocents are not the guilty.

      • You are SO right. Everyday people pay the price for the greed of power hungry governments and fanatics. When I see child soldiers, nine years-old, I don’t know what to do. They should be home being children, raised in peace, not be killing people. It’s insane…that’s all I can say. Teaching children to kill and hate. How can we ever change things if that is happening? We have to stop it somehow. If we can’t…well, I guess we get what we get.

      • It’s difficult for me to give a solution. I know diplomacy is a way to resolve the international conflicts but we have to be more efficient and more interactive. Sometimes the continuous information on Tv about killings, crimes, hunger, calamities, desensitizes us because that is happening thousands of miles from our homes and we don’t know how to stop it. So sorry when I see images from Gaza, or Ukraine, or Iraq, Sudan… we are crazy!

      • Again, I agree completely. How can a species be so determined to become extinct, and NOT be considered crazy? We never stop killing each other and everything around us, animals the earth, air, water. We are broken or else this is just who we are. Destroyers and killers.

  2. Exactly!! This is part of the problem, part of the ‘education’.

    Why do people keep buying it…madness.

    • Culture. It’s what we think men are supposed to be…warriors and tough guys. There is nothing sold to boys that has to do with family or care/concern for others. Not comics, not toys, and few books. We teach them that the world is violent. How can they understand women and children and life if they are raised to fight? To hit, to shoot? I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense.

  3. There is a lot of stereotyping in those toys and also programming.

    • Definitely. No doubt about it. Puts kids in their place/roles immediately. No wonder people have so much trouble communicating. Our worlds are so different from each others.

  4. laurie27wsmith said:

    I’d like to make an observation here, I’m an older bloke, 63 and spent the first few years of my life without TV, or the movies. My old man was away a lot so in those first 6 years I had little commercial or male input into my life. I remember playing with toy cars and doing puzzles and I actually played with dolls. A family of 12 children lived at the end of our street, mostly girls and I would play dolls with the younger ones. This went on for a week or two until I became bored to death with little girl chit chat and changing dolly’s clothes. I found a cap gun in the toy box and I was in 7th heaven, play changed and I began defending the girls and dolls from all manner of perils.
    Go figure.

    • Well my friend, I never played with dolls. I played with cap guns (my favorite was awesome, beautiful silver with cool inlays) and squirt guns (I liked my yellow one best), and rode horses. So go, figure:) LOL I climbed trees and played with snakes (I love reptiles). What can I say. Maybe I was a male in all my other lives. 🙂 Who knows. Oh, I did make my own cut-outs:) and I read constantly. I dressed in levi’s and cowboy boots, much to my mother’s horror. I herded all the stray cats in my yard, whenever I could:) We are what and who we are. I thought dolls were boring as well. ❤

  5. What are we doing? We are appealing to the worst instincts in children rather than attempting to civilize them and appeal to the higher quality impulses we should be developing. Blame companies who want to make quick money and the parents who just want Johnny to be out of their hair rather than worry about what’s best for the kids.

    • I think it’s more than that. I think that our children are being indoctrinated into violence so that the rich and powerful can use them whenever they like. I don’t think it’s accidental or just the way things are. Movies, video games, the news, all media is more and more violent. TV programs, comics, everything is drenching us in violence and setting us up to believe that violence is our way of life. It’s being done on purpose. I think there is an ulterior motive. I think we are blind to the fact that we are being used by the people in charge to do their bidding and increase their wealth and power, by sending the people we love to die.

      • I think you give more credit to “the rich and powerful” than they deserve. You are suggesting a massive conspiracy. I would suggest that it is not driven by intent so much as “what sells”. If the consumer wouldn’t buy the violent stuff, it would stop being made. We now have such an ability to parse the statistics of things like movie sales. Those who produce movies can tell that young men between the ages of 15-25 will spend more money on licensed merchandise after the movie than will any other group. So more movies are produced that will appeal to that group and its money. Parents today are willing to buy whatever will keep their kids from whining and are not willing to “force” them into more cultural or improving activities – would YOUR parents have spent hundreds of dollars for you to have toys that went against their principles? Of course not! Do not attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by greed or stupidity. And how does pink, sexually oriented “girl stuff” fit into your theory?

      • I was saying that the rich and powerful start illegal wars. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy I think the 1% own the president and pretty much run things. Movies in the past didn’t come out every week. They weren’t violent, and one kiss was as sexual as it got. There were no toy stores devoted to children. A lot of things were different. We have no idea what would have happened in the past if the things we have now were available then. Even in my mother’s day, the women copied movie stars and wore their hair the way the actresses did. The did the same thing we do but they had different things to copy.

        A lot of things began to change when children stopped being children, who were just part of the family, and became tiny tyrants who actually RAN the family. The minute children became “precious” they became bankable. Everything is based on economics. And by the way, I actually did have a few toys based on Marshall Fields books, when I was a child. Chicago always had stuff and I got some of it. But there wasn’t much to buy, until my kids were born. As I said in one of the other responses to a comment. Kids today are in charge, not the parents. I doesn’t matter if that’s right or wrong it’s the way it is. Babies have cell phones and iPads. Everything is a competition and everyone is special. But that has nothing at all to do with the people running the government. Maybe I just wasn’t clear. I agree that some parents are not willing to force their kids into more cultural activities but no one could force me to do anything either. Forcing them to do things doesn’t mean they will do them once they are old enough to NOT do them any longer. Kids are gangs, if you want to be in the gang you have to do what the kids in the gang are doing. Many parent’s today are listening to so many EXPERTS that they don’t know what to do with their kids and EVERYTHNG IS DANGEROUS AND GOING TO KILL THEIR CHILDREN, including their mattress, sheets and crib. Ages ago kids slept in a drawer. People are confused, the kids are in charge and life goes on. The government is another story and I believe that the bad guys are running the show. The president and the rest rest are puppets. That’s my thing. We each get to believe what works for us. I’m not sure what you mean about pink fitting into my “theory.” It’s just another stereotype, but for girls. We all know what it is. Girls toys are as bad as boys toys, just in a different way and they are less violent because you want to train them early not to throw the doll against the wall. Toys, comics, books, etc., divide the genders into stereotypes.

  6. Really good question – ‘what are we doing?’ Fortunately, there are SOME enlightened parents that don’t follow the mainstream, by teaching their children about love, peace and kindness to others. They are the ones we are counting on. Spread the Light!

    • So true. Unfortunately, peer pressure is a real and kids who don’t “fit in” are “left out” and ostracized, often bullied. If you don’t look a certain way or can’t talk about the same things as the other kids or do the same things, there is no place for you.

      It’s easy for parents to make decisions as to how they want their kids to be…it’s not so easy to live with the decisions when you are the kid. No one wants to be “the weird kid”. I’ve seen what happens to them and it’s not good. They don’t get socialized in the same way and a lot of times they grow up and never really fit in. It depends on what you’re talking about, but you can only do so much and then you can hurt your children, even if you think you’re doing the right thing. Adults should be careful when making those decisions. Everyone, no matter their age, still remembers the ones who didn’t belong, didn’t fit in. Everyone remembers the “weird kids” in their life. It doesn’t matter that it shouldn’t be that way…it IS that way and the kids are the ones who often pay a heavy price for the decisions made by their parents.

      I suppose it depends on where you live. If you are in an isolated area, I guess you can get away with a lot of things you can’t get away with in big cities. But asking your children to be different is putting them at risk in any number of ways. Once you’re labeled, there’s no going back. At their 75th class reunion people will still be saying, “Oh, that weird kid is here.” Kids are tough and they can be mean and cruel. Be careful what you ask your kids to do. Just sayin’.

  7. It is very weird that toys for boys seem to mainly war and violence related, something is very wrong with that, because men are not naturally violent angry people unless someone makes them that way. I’m sure these toys are designed to keep that thinking alive, that war, fighting and shooting people is just part of our lives and we have to live with it. But we really don’t – if only people would realise it! Perhaps if parents stopped buying these toys and complained to toy stores, they’d stop stocking those mindless war toys.

    I’m a little uncomfortable with some of the girls toys too, there’s nothing wrong with soft and fluffy and toys geared towards being a mum and making a home (in the realm of fantasy) but there must be many girls who really aren’t interested in that very much. All that fantasy play feels to me like it could be a disappointment waiting to happen. Being a mum is hard work, and none of those toys teach a girl that. I’m kind of glad I don’t have children and I don’t have to make discussions about what toys they have or don’t have. I’d hate to have to consciously steer them away from mindless stereotype or violent toys, because children should be free to think for themselves, but I’d also be no happier to let them be subconsciously sucked into wrong thinking. I admire anyone who manges to get this right, it really isn’t easy!

    • Oh, you are absolutely correct. All the toy play into gender stereotypes. Girls toys are as bad as boys, just in different ways. A lot of girls think they will be princess or ballet dancers or any number of. One of them may become a ballet dancer (unlikely) but I don’t think many of them will become a princess. They teach girls to be nurturing and boys to be violent. How can that make sense? Why can we just be? When I was a kid we all played with cap guns and squirt guns. We all climbed trees and did the she things. Now there is a greater division between genders, even if Barbi does have s stethoscope around her neck. Boys have superheroes and GI Joe. We do have Wonder Woman but she wears skimpy clothing uses a whip and her bracelets. She is not armed with guns and knives. The video games are the worst. Ultra violent. I don’t have answers. I agree that boys aren’t inherently violent. They are made to think it’s manly and what males do. You can tell that they aren’t violent because they have to go to Boot Camp to be TAUGHT how to kill people. It’s insane. I have no answers. There’s another whole problem that goes along with this If you don’t let your kid do what the other kids do then your kid is the weird one who won’t have any friends. Maybe his/her parents will like him/her but no one else will. Lots of problems with that. Every problems has more problems attached to it. It’s like a möbius strip…it just goes on and on and on. You just have to talk to your kids and listen to your kids and then let them be kids. It’s not right to cut them out from their peers and make they “other.” Bullies attack them and people ignore them. If kids can’t speak the same language (toy and game language) they have nothing to say to each other. It might not be right but it’s the way it is.

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