Friday, April 4, 2014

Ferreting Out the Truth

My kids watch too much TV.  So do yours, so just shut up.  It's pretty uninteresting to see how their choices play out.  Uninteresting because it's completely predictable, and entirely unproblematic.  We've only placed one hard restriction on their viewing up until now, and aside from the obvious issues of mature content (whatever that means anymore.  I'm not sure I've seen anything mature on television in a good decade or so, with the exception of that Salinger documentary.  good stuff), the one off-limits show is Caillou.  It's an instruction guide for whining like a turbofan until you get what you want.  Also, it's racist.

When they're given a choice of what to watch, the girl  child chooses Clifford or Curious George most of the time.  She sits with it and smiles, and as she's older now she says things to the characters that make it obvious she beyond it all, intellectually.  Still, she loves seeing things turn out nicely.  The boy chooses the Hulk.  He likes it when things get shot and blow up.

Remember now, we've done nothing to encourage either of them.  Not consciously, anyway.  I suppose you could consider it some kind of social engineering that they have a Father who is very happy being a man, and a Mother who is equally happy being a woman, neither of whom have any interest in becoming more like the other.  I haven't the slightest clue what would happen around here if we both started drifting toward that great desired androgyny of the modern State, except that, well, probably nothing would happen at all.  If there wasn't some gender identity in this house, maintenance would be too confusing to complete, and we sure as hell wouldn't be able to shop for each other, because you can't satisfy emptiness with anything but more of itself.

So you can go ahead and scream about pink Legos, because that's fun.  We have them in piles around here as they flow in from the relatives and friends around our girl's birthday.  Flower shops and Princess bits and some kind of party boat.  I'm a little peeved that it looks like they're all well on their way to getting loaded on margaritas, but otherwise it's a few friends having fun on a boat.  It's got a bit of pink on it, yes, and a heart here and there.  And the boy (oh boy) looks to be wearing capris, so there's definitely an argument to made here about the representation of manhood involved.  But I imagine, boisterous moms, that if your husband gave into your desire to have a real boat - the one you would expect him to maintain and drive and keep fueled, etc - you would have some pretty specific requests concerning its decoration, so that it wouldn't be too manly.  Maybe even a pink towel or two, I dunno.

You can argue about it all you want, because you're just arguing in favor of your own social posture, anyway, in a move to eliminate the same from your children altogether.  Lego didn't create an interest in girls for pink things and candy shops.  Braying against that is just a way to be a sort of a plaque in the artery of your child's development.  It's a way to block the child's natural path toward instinct fulfillment.

If you saw that happening to a ferret in a zoo you'd call it inhumane.

And don't forget what's really going on here.  This stuff isn't easy.  She's six years old and sitting patiently with an instruction booklet in front of a scattered mess of tiny little pieces.  Slowly, quietly, and ultimately very proudly, building something.  Is it pink?  Oh hell yes, it's pink.  But it's also very detailed and surprisingly intricate, and the fact that she's pulling it off is impressive as hell.

If you saw that happening to a ferret in a zoo you'd call it beautiful.  You could occasionally try to see your children that way, too.  Especially the little girls.