Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Thinking Housewife: Male and Female, Summarized

I was thinking about men and their "geeking" out over tools...

Men take pride in a job well done, in a product well made. (Women also, but it seems to me that this does not matter as much as the emotional satisfaction they derive from making something for someone they love.) Much of masculine identity/vocation/psychology rests upon what one does. Tools become an extension of one's self, in so far as they enable us to use our power over inanimate nature. Hence, tools become a part of male identity, and it is no surprise that men spend so much time looking for the best tool for the job and examining their technical specs.

The differences between males and females is apparent when children play. Part of it can be attributed to imitation, but the desire to take on certain roles as a reflection of nature and identity is innate. The nurturing side of girls comes out when they are taking care of their dolls.

Boys, in exercising their imagination, tend to act out in masculine ways noted above--look at how they play with toy machines and cars. Even when they are playing with dinosaurs it is marked by aggression, dominance, and power. The aggressive part of masculinity is even more clear when they are making spaceships or other war machines or playing soldier.

I have seen some kindergarten boys playing in the kitchen or house as well, and who were not adopting the father's role, but playing along with the girls and doing what the girls were doing. Some of it is imitation, perhaps some of it is also for socialization. One does wonder if there is anything happening at home that is leading to this behavior. It happens, but it is not common--the majority of boys are doing boyish things.

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