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  1. #1
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    Dangerous Book for Boys? or Girls?

    I just saw "The Dangerous Book for Boys" at Borders the other day. From what I saw it looks pretty cool--I'm a sucker for old Girl Scout handbooks and I got a copy of "The American Girls' Handy Book" and this book seems to be in the same vein.

    I've got a couple questions, though-

    I have boy (only 17 months old right now)--is this something he might actually get into when he's bigger, or am I just into it because I'm nostalgic (and probably unrealistically so)?

    Also, will there ever be a "Dangerous Book for Girls"?

    If you wrote it, what would you put in it?

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  3. #2
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    I liked "The Dangerous Book for Boys" a lot. I read it before I gave it to my dad for Father's Day.
    I'm sure your son will enjoy it when he gets to be about 7 or 8. I'm planning on getting my nephew a copy--- it has loads of stuff, like how to make invisible ink and tie knots, how to make batteries, some cool history stuff about major battles and wars, and the 7 ancient wonders of the world.

    In the "Dangerous Book for Girls", I think I'd have stuff about fixing things with basic tools, how to talk or write in code, history on influential women, how to identify poisonous plants, etc. I think a lot of the stuff in the "Dangerous... Boys" book could go into a book for girls, too. It's pretty much "cool" knowledge that isn't as common as it used to be (that last sentence was worded horribly, I'm sorry).

  4. #3
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    I'm in Ireland at the moment, and I'm pretty sure that I saw the girls' equivalent to the Dangerous Book for Boys at the bookstore yesterday. It is not called the Dangerous Book for Girls. It's called something like "the Sparkly Book for Girls" or "the Amazing Book for Girls." But not dangerous. Because girls are scared of danger and prefer sparkles.

    Personally, I'd just get a marker, cross out the "boys" on the cover and write "kids," and slice out the offending pages about how different and pathetic and icky girls are. As I understand it, the guys who wrote the book are hardcore gender essentialists who think that only boys like fun stuff. But the projects in the book are supposed to be a ton of fun.

  5. #4
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    I just went and got the book last week, and I've actually been having a lot of fun reading it. There's directions for making marbled paper, which I think I'm going to try when I get the chance.

    I read the whole thing and I guess I didn't really find any of the stuff about girls offensive. There was a bit in there about always carrying a handkerchief to offer a girl if she cries. I guess that does make it sound like girls are prone to crying. On the other hand, I'd kind of like my son to be the type of guy to offer girls handkerchiefs if they need them.

  6. #5
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    i didn't get past how obnoxious the name of the book and the assumption that girls can't or won't do adventurous things. i can't hang with teaching boys about wars and how to trap animals, but offering some crap-ass substitute about macrame and party planning for girls.

    i always kind of hated the The American Girls' Handy Book for that reason. the boys one had outdoors stuff that i liked, and the girls one had instructions for painting china and playing charades. ick.

    i was better off with a book on making cowboy horse gear, a book on edible plants, a few art and craft books, and My Side of the Mountain as a little girl.

    it's not that there is anything wrong with macrame or china painting, it's the assumption that little girls should sit inside and be quiet and little boys should go outside and whoop it up that chaps my ass.

  7. #6
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    my husband is currently completely fixated with this book. He checked it out at the library and won't stop talking about it. He wants to buy it to have it on hand (I guess so he never forgets how to make those "so cool" paper airplanes in it). He said I could get it for him for Christmas or his birthday (also in December) but then he got impatient and decided that he should just go ahead and buy it for himself now. I'm still trying to convince him to wait. :)

    But yeah, I think it would be a fun in-advance gift for a son. And by the time he'll be old enough to get into it it may not be quite so talked about so he'll feel like he has a treasure. :)

  8. #7
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    Stella-
    I guess the "American Girls Handy Book" is kind of a let-down in comparison to the boys' one, but in it's historical context it's kind of interesting. When it was written orginally, for a girl to even walk around outside was a big deal, considering that at the time a lot of medical people thought that even thinking too hard was "too taxing" for a woman.

    I have a (reproduction) copy of "How Girls Can Help Their Country", which was the first Girl Scout handbook. That one is a really fun read. It has chapters on things that girls were expected to know how to do at the time, like tend the sick and clean house, but there's also stuff about camping and finding your way using the stars. There's also little random bits of information like how to stop a runaway horse or tie up a burglar with eight inches of rope. I think it's out of print now, but there's probably still copies floating around out there.

  9. #8
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    This is a rant. Sorry.

    I read an article in the Washington Post by the author of The Dangerous Book for Boys about how boys are oppressed by our society. According to him, everything is now set up to favor girls and hurt boys. Anyway, it contained this gem:

    Teaching them as though they are girls who don't wash as much leads to their failure in school, causing trouble all the way. Boys don't like group work. They do better on exams than they do in coursework, and they don't like class discussion. In history lessons, they prefer stories of Rome and of courage to projects on the suffragettes.
    Emphasis there is mine.

    Now, it just so happens that I've been doing some work recently on radical woman's suffragists, which is to say the people who in Britain called themselves "suffragettes." And the idea that some ignorant asshole would juxtapose "suffragettes" with "stories of courage" just fills me with rage.

    More than almost anyone at their time, radical suffragists had enormous physical and moral courage. In the United States, they were among the only political activists who refused to silence themselves during World War I, when there was tremendous social and legal pressure not to speak out against the government. For this, they faced social sanction, mob violence, and legal repression. When their demonstrations were attacked by angry mobs, the police refused to protect them. Many suffragists deliberately broke laws and went to prison. In prison, many went on hunger strike. The prison officials responded by tying them down and forcing feeding tubes down their noses, a process that was tantamount to torture, something which they endured willingly. And when they got out of prison, knowing exactly what they were in for, many of them deliberately got arrested and endured the whole miserable ordeal all over again. These were women who willingly and repeatedly faced social ostracism and physical violence in order to argue for their full citizenship.

    Now, it is very true that no suffragist ever killed anyone. And if your idea of courage has to include killing, then they don't qualify. But otherwise, I cannot for the life of me see why they would not be models of courage for both girls and boys.

    (And yeah, there was an awful lot wrong with the suffragists, and that ought to be taught to. But there was also an awful lot wrong with the military types whom the authors of this book would have us celebrate, and that doesn't deter them in any way.)

    So yeah. I'm a little skeptical.

  10. #9
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    now i'm even more convinced that the author is a total jackass. i also like how he spouts a bunch of his ideas and theories as if they were concrete truth, that's a class act as well. sheesh.

    give me a fucking break. yeah, the modern world is totally set up to cater to women and encourage their success, while ignoring boys. as-fucking-IF. i'd seriously like to give Mr. Gender Essentialist a kick in the nuts.

  11. #10
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    grungie,

    so... how DO you tie up a burglar with only 8 inches of rope? you've got me curious.


 
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