Culture

Do Boys 'Swagger'? And What Does that Mean?

I see that author and attorney Lisa Bloom has a new book out on raising boys called Swagger: 10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing Schools, Mass Joblessness, and Thug Culture. At first glance reading about the book at Yahoo Shine, it didn’t look too bad:

At this very moment, through no fault of their own, our boys are caught in the vortex of four powerful, insidious, often invisible forces that conspire to rob them of their future. First, our heartbreakingly subpar schools. To say that twenty-first-century America doesn’t value education is like saying Donald Trump doesn’t prioritize humility

However, as I read more about the book and checked out the the excerpt on Amazon, I was not impressed with what I read. Of course the full book might prove otherwise, but I doubt it. The author talks about the failing schools, then offers up a longer school day as a solution! Yeah, right. Maybe she should check into the gender stereotypes at the schools and how badly boys are treated there. Why add to the misery with a longer day? And of course teachers need more money to educate these boys, apparently. So now you are going to pay teachers and schools more to run the same programs that are treating boys like second class citizens? Yeah, that will work. The author states, “I wish my country valued education.” Well, I wish my country valued male traits without trying to turn boys into girls.

The first of the author’s 10 rules for boys is to “Lose the Swagger, Kid.” Apparently, boys are prone to bad messages that tell them to be “hyper-macho” and the author seems to think that gentle, compassionate reading boys are the answer. I understand that the “thug culture” that tells boys to act like gangsters is not a good message. However, I wonder if she gets that boys are not girls and that male traits are often positive and natural. And as far as telling boys not to swagger, I wonder if in her last book on girls, she told girls to “Lose the sense of entitlement, kid.” I doubt it.

She says that boys need to “learn humility” and has a chapter on teaching boys to respect women and girls. Why not suggest that girls need some humility and to learn how to treat men and boys? Most of what she is calling “swagger” is a way for boys to differentiate themselves from women and girls because the culture no longer allows boys to be boys. Frankly, I don’t see many guys swaggering these days; they often look dejected and withdrawn from the culture because it does not value who they are. If swaggering is a sign of rebellion, I say, “bring it on.” Not in a way that is thuglike, but in a way that says, “I will not apologize for who I am.”

Without addressing the societal and cultural sterotypes and issues that boys truly face today by the PC culture, nothing for boys will get resolved.

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