Saturday, January 12, 2008

blog #045 >> Daring and Dangerous Books

I will most certainly get a lot of criticism for this posting. But fortunately, I'm most certain, that the certain people, who would most certainly complain, don't read my blog. In fact hardly anyone reads my blog, which is kinda nice, so I should be safe. (Please note: this is one of the first times I have ever blogged about anything remotely political, so beware.) That being said... continue on:

Book Review: The Dangerous Book for Boys

“Don’t worry about genius and don’t worry about not being clever. Trust rather to hard work, perseverance, and determination… You hold your future in your own hands. Never waiver in this belief… Be honest, be loyal, be kind. Remember the hardest thing to acquire is the faculty of being unselfish.”
Sir Frederick Treves
The Dangerous Book for Boys

The Dangerous Book for Boys encompasses all the things boys should know, but few do. It's a much needed book in an age where boys would rather sit and play computer games than spend an afternoon in the mud. This book reminds me so much of reading my old "My Book House" books from the 1915-60 or the dusty topical encyclopedia from the 50's at my parent's house. It's contents are full of pages that teach how to do things like make a periscope, grow crystals, how to make a bow and arrow, and how to skip rocks. It also teaches stories of courage and valour such as Scott and the Antarctic and it teaches values like The Ten Commandments. This book not only helps boys be boys but it helps them become men. It's a piece of a mind set that's almost extinct in our culture today: That boys should be boys and girls should be girls.

Book Review: The Daring Book for Girls

Unlike it's masculine counterpart this book... well... it sort of... um... it sucks. What I loved about The Dangerous Book for Boys is that it challenged boys to do boy things. The Daring Book for Girls does not encourage girls to do very girly things. You might as well buy your little girl The Dangerous Book for Boys. It's much better written, and honestly has cooler stuff. And some of the same things like paper airplanes, knots, and pirates. At least with The Dangerous Book for Boys your daughter will learn about virtue and selflessness, which is great for both boys and girls to learn. I thought The Daring Book for Girls would include that too, only use different stories to illustrate that same great lesson. It did not.
I guess I was expecting better after reading The Dangerous Book for Boys. I thought, well, the girl one must be great too! I was wrong. I thought it would have all the stuff I liked to do when I was young. It really didn't. Once again I think its intro says a lot:

"For every girl with an independent spirit, here is the guide to everything from school yard games to great women in history! The Daring Book for Girls is the essential manual for everything that girls need to know—and that doesn't mean sewing buttonholes!"

Hey, I like sewing buttonholes!!!! I think it's important for girls to know how to sew buttonholes! Sewing buttonholes doesn't mean you don't have an independent spirit, nor is it derogatory. The problem is, women in today's culture don't want to be women, and this book just encourages that mindset. Personally, I like being a girl and that includes cooking cakes and sewing dresses. The Dangerous Book for Boys is helping boys remember or learn for the first time how to do guy things. I want a book like that for girls! Here is an example of some of the content in The Daring Book for Girls: palm reading, public speaking, modern women leaders, yoga: the sun salutation, finance: stocks and bonds, how to change a flat tire, (and my personal favorite) how to negotiate a salary. This is CRAP! Instead of teaching girls about real women role models like (my personal favorite) Mother Teresa, it's teaching them about Cleopatra. Yes, let's all be slutty like her and sleep with both Mark Anthony and Caesar at the same time in order to climb to power... Sorry... I will admit The Daring Book for Girls does have some decent parts: pressing flowers, jump rope, and cartwheels, but it doesn't have a single section on cooking, sewing, knitting or manners. What ever happened to women enjoying these things? This book makes me want to write my own book about girls being girls. Heck, any Martha Stewart magazine would be a decent replacement for this book. To say the least The Daring Book for Girls was a huge disappointment. And reminded once more that I do not share the views of our culture.

To end it all: The Dangerous Book for Boys is a daring book that challenges boys to be boys: get outside, build an electromagnet and be honest and loyal towards others. The Daring Book for Girls is a dangerous book that encourages girls to throw away their feminality and be just like the boys, and it certainly doesn't teach much in the way of virtues.


Anonymous said...

i think most of the wave of new girl crafters would tend to agree with you too about that. It's time to take back our girlness or our boyness and be inspired by them i think!

Really there should be some cooking, sewing, character, mud, and playing in both books. Cause what guy wouldn't benefit from learning some cooking and sewing basics as a child. And what girl wouldn't benefit from knowing how to make an electromagnet and knowing how to climb a tree. :) You should write your own book but make it the bestest book for kids, and adults, with all the stuff everyone should know. I'll help you.

Theresa said...

I'm still sounding a bit... unclear.

I guess my point is that I didn't like The Daring Book for Girls because it didn't support girls being girls.

I'm not saying that girls should never learn to change a flat tire or that boys should never learn to bake a cake.

I'm saying that I wanted a book for girls that taught girls to do girly things that boys wouldn't be as interested in. I wanted a book that encourages values and virtue in women. I wanted a book that shows girls how to play with things your grandma or mom used to play with before cell phones and the internet. I wanted the ultimate book for girls! And The Daring Book for Girls missed that point completely.

Leingang Family said...

Preach on sister!!!

I LOVED your review and agree wholeheartedly. I could go on and on, but we'll save it for another day over tea. (oh wait, it that too girly?)

I would love to write a book for girls. While I don't have girls, I am one and know lots of them. It could be really fun. !I have tons of ideas already