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I migranti di Fahrenheit migrano ancora… (IV inbloggazione)

I mal sopportati

Ho avuto due figlie e son contento. Inutile girarci intorno, i ragazzini rendono noi adulti nervosi

… as a group, they are noisy, rowdy, and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized, and won’t sit still. Boys tend to like action, risk, and competition. When researchers asked a sample of boys why they did not spend a lot of time talking about their problems, most of them said it was “weird” and a waste of time…

Vogliamo esemplificare il tutto con un “classico”?:

… When David was a high school senior in 2003, his graduating class went on a camping trip in the desert. A creative writing educator visited the camp and led the group through an exercise designed to develop their sensitivity and imaginations. Each student was given a pen, a notebook, a candle, and matches. They were told to walk a short distance into the desert, sit down alone, and “discover themselves.” The girls followed instructions. The boys, baffled by the assignment, gathered together, threw the notebooks into a pile, lit them with the matches, and made a little bonfire…

Oggi, quello che è il comportamento normale di un gruppo di ragazzini viene visto come aberrante. Christine Hoff Sommers si è occupata di questa distorsione sociale nel suo “The War Against Boys” (le citazioni vengono da lì).

C’è una zavorra che ciascun bambino maschio porta sulle spalle nel corso della sua formazione:

… Boys today bear the burden of several powerful cultural trends: a therapeutic approach to education that valorizes feelings and denigrates competition and risk, zero-tolerance policies that punish normal antics of young males, and a gender equity movement that views masculinity as predatory. Natural male exuberance is no longer tolerated….

Uno dei nemici è l’ossessione per il rischio-zero. In questo caso nelle scuole, nei cui cortili ormai viene proibito anche braccio di ferro o “ce l’hai”. Si tratta di pratiche che minano l’incolumità fisica e l’autostima. La maestra:

… “we want to encourage a game that may lead to more injuries and confrontation among students?”… “The running part of this activity is healthy and encouraged; however, in this game there is a ‘victim’ or ‘it,’ which creates a self-esteem issue.”… Texas, Maryland, New York, and Virginia “have banned, limited, or discouraged” dodgeball. “Any time you throw an object at somebody,” said an elementary school coach in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “it creates an environment of retaliation and resentment.”…

La competizione è il nemico e il contatto fisico il demonio:

… The new therapeutic sensibility rejects almost all forms of competition in favor of a gentle and nurturing climate of cooperation. It is also a surefire way to bore and alienate boys. From the earliest age, boys show a distinct preference for active outdoor play, with a strong predilection for games with body contact, conflict, and clearly defined winners and losers…

Ma la cosa più rilevante è che non si vuole prendere atto di come maschi e femmine giochino in modo molto diverso:

… Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and author of You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, sums up the research on male/female play differences: Boys tend to play outside, in large groups that are hierarchically structured. . . . Girls, on the other hand, play in small groups or in pairs: the center of a girl’s social life is a best friend. Within the group intimacy is the key…

I maschi “fanno bordello”, ruzzano come vitellini. Non è patologia ma sana fisiologia.

… “laughing, running, smiling, jumping, open-hand beating, wrestling, play fighting, chasing and fleeing.”… this is rough-and-tumble play (R&T)… This kind of play is often mistakenly regarded as aggression… Rough-and-tumble play brings boys together, makes them happy, and is a critical part of their socialization… “Children who engaged in R&T, typically boys, also tended to be liked and to be good social problem solvers,”… Aggressive children, on the other hand, tend not to be liked by their peers and are not good at solving problems…

Nel cercare il rischio-zero noi rendiamo le nostre scuole invivibili per i maschi (che infatti si annoiano a morte). Nel puntare al rischio-zero noi puniamo anche comportamenti sani:

… Increasingly, however, those in charge of little boys, including parents, teachers, and school officials, are blurring the distinction and interpreting R&T as aggression. This confusion threatens boys’ welfare and normal development…

Un’occhiata alle sospensioni conferma la distorsione in atto:

… when two researchers, Mary Ellin Logue and Hattie Harvey, studied the classroom practices of 98 teachers of four-year-olds, they found that this style of play was the least tolerated. Nearly half (48 percent) of teachers stopped or redirected boys’ dramatic play daily or several times a week, whereas less than a third (29 percent) reported stopping or redirecting girls’ dramatic play weekly… Such attitudes may help explain why boys are 4.5 times more likely to be expelled from preschool than girls…

C’è chi senza accorgersene scambia la non-violenza per un valore femminile:

… One Boston teacher, Barbara Wilder-Smith, spent a year observing elementary school classrooms. She reports that an increasing number of mothers and teachers “believe that the key to producing a nonviolent adult is to remove all conflict—toy weapons, wrestling, shoving and imaginary explosions and crashes—from a boy’s life.”…

Se c’è qualcosa di rischioso è la libertà. Ecco allora salire sul banco degli imputati “l’intervallo”, ovvero l’unico momento di libertà nelle nostre scuole. In molti plessi è stato abolito. Cominciano a sorgere le prime scuole senza cortile (luogo di elezione per il bullismo e la segregazione di genere).

… “Since the 1970s, children have lost about 12 hours per week in free time, including a 25 percent decrease in play and a 50 percent decrease in unstructured outdoor activities, according to another study.”… “Recess,” reported the New York Times, “has become so anachronistic in Atlanta that the Cleveland Avenue Grammar School, a handsome brick building, was built two years ago without a playground.”… Of course, if it could be shown that sex segregation on the playground or rambunctious competitive games were having harmful social consequences, efforts to curb them would be justified. But that has never been shown…

Bambini immobilizzati => bambini obesi.

… Obesity has become a serious problem for both boys and girls, but rather more so for boys…

Il caso esecrabile della pistola (Lego) in classe, ed altri casi.

… On February 2, 2010, nine-year-old Patrick Timoney was marched to the principal’s office and threatened with suspension when he was caught in the cafeteria with a weapon. More precisely, he was found playing with a tiny LEGO soldier armed with a two-inch rifle… 2011: Ten-year-old Nicholas Taylor, a fifth grader at the David Youree Elementary School in Smyrna, Tennessee, was sentenced to sit alone at lunch for six days. His crime? Waving around a slice of pizza that had been chewed to resemble a gun. • 2010: David Morales, an eight-year-old in Providence, Rhode Island, ran afoul of zero tolerance when, for a special class project, he brought in a camouflage hat with little plastic army men glued on the flap. • 2009: Zachary Christie, six, of Newark, Delaware, excited to be a new Cub Scout, packed his camping utensil in his lunch box. The gadget, which can be used as a knife, fork, or spoon, prompted school officials to charge him with possession of a weapon. Zachary faced forty-five days in the district’s reform school but was later granted a reprieve by the school board and suspended for five days…

La politica di zero-tolerance. Zero-tolerance = zero giochi (per i maschi).

… Zero-tolerance policies became popular in the 1990s as youth crime seemed to be surging and schools were coping with a rash of shootings. These policies mandate severe punishments—often suspension or expulsion—for any student who brings weapons or drugs to school, or who threatens others. Sanctions apply to all violations—regardless of the student’s motives, the seriousness of the offense, or extenuating circumstances. School officials embraced zero tolerance because it seemed like the best way to make schools safe… Under the zero-tolerance regime, suspension rates have increased dramatically. In 1974, 1.7 million children in grades K–12 were suspended from the nation’s schools. By 2007, when the K–12 population had increased by 5 percent, the number of suspensions had nearly doubled to 3.3 million—nearly 70 percent of them boys…

Aggressione e virilità diventano sinonimi: che errore! E chi paga il conto sono spesso i bambini più vivaci.

Una punizione sentita come ingiusta (ed effettivamente ingiusta) mina il legame di fiducia. Hai voglia poi a recuperare. Così come una sospensione ingiusta crea immensi danni per il futuro scolastico del piccolo.

… if students perceive a punishment to be excessive, capricious, and unjust, this weakens the bond between them and the adults who are supposed to be their mentors. According to psychologists James Comer and Alvin Poussaint, suspensions can make it “more difficult for you to work with the child in school… “We observe a negative relationship between school suspension and future educational outcomes.”…

L’atteggiamento repressivo ha trovato una base teorica nella figura del “superpredatore”:

… On January 15, 1996, Time magazine ran a cover story about a “teenage time bomb.” Said Time, “They are just four, five, and six years old right now, but already they are making criminologists nervous.”46 The “they” were little boys who would soon grow into cold-blooded killers capable of “remorseless brutality.” The story was based on alarming findings by several eminent criminologists, including James Q. Wilson (then at UCLA). Wilson had extrapolated from a famous 1972 study of the juvenile delinquency rate among young people born in Philadelphia in 1945 and estimated that within five years—by 2010—the nation would be plagued by “30,000 more muggers, killers and thieves.”… Suspicion of the masculine gender quickly went generic, extending to all boys. “The carnage committed by two boys in Littleton, Colorado,” said the Congressional Quarterly Researcher, “has forced the nation to reexamine the nature of boyhood in America.”52 Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology at Stony Brook University, explained that the Littleton shooters were “not deviants at all,” but “over-conformists . . . to traditional notions of masculinity.”

Una figura mai materializzatasi, forse era stata condotta una lotta senza avere un nemico: la criminalità diminuiva ovunque a prescindere dalle misure di zero-tolerance.

… Compared with the prior twenty years, the juvenile murder arrest rate between 2000 and 2009 has been historically low and relatively stable. • The 2009 rape arrest rate was at its lowest level in three decades. • The 2009 juvenile arrest rate for aggravated assault was at its lowest since the mid-1980s… Rates of juvenile crimes in states with high arrests were not significantly different from those with low arrests.56 What about school violence?…

Ma la frittata era stata fatta, specie a scuola:

… the damage was done. The public would remain anxious about the specter of youth violence. Although Wilson and DiIulio renounced their theory about young male superpredators, a large group of activist gender scholars immediately took their place. Their theories were even more extravagant and far less empirically grounded. But the outraged criminologists, law professors, and child welfare activists who stood up to the superpredator myth left the new mythmakers alone…

Se prima si temeva la violenza criminale, ora si teme la discriminazione e il sessismo. Il bambino esuberante diventava un potenziale stupratore da “riprogrammare” a suon di bromuro. La società patriarcale ci consegna un maschio violento e i mass killer di Columbine non sono che ragazzini qualunque che hanno forse ecceduto un po’ troppo:

…  Boys would be spending most of the day learning about “violence prevention and how to be allies to the girls and women in their lives.” When a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle questioned the logic behind this plan, the director, Amy Levine, explained, “It’s about dealing with effects of sexism on both boys and girls and how it can damage them.”As Levine sees it, boys are potential predators in need of remedial socialization… From its beginnings in the 1990s, the gender equity movement has been leery of boys and has looked for ways to reimagine their masculinity… Hanson is convinced that “our educational system is a primary carrier of the dominant culture’s assumptions,”93 and that that “dominant culture”—Western, patriarchal, sexist, and violent—is sick. Since the best cure is prevention, reeducating boys is a moral imperative… Haki Madhubuti: “The liberation of the male psyche from preoccupation with domination, power hunger, control, and absolute rightness requires . . . a willingness for painful, uncomfortable and often shocking change.”… The school shooters picked up guns to conform to the expected ethos dictating that boys dominate girls and take revenge against other boys who threatened their relationships with particular girls: their actions were incubated in a culture of violence that is largely accepted and allowed to fester every day. Transforming these hyper-masculine school cultures [is] essential to preventing . . . school shootings…

I pedagoghi si sbizzarriscono nell’elaborare protocolli fantasiosi su misura per i maschietti più agitati:

… Take your son—or “son for a day”—to an event that focuses on . . . ending men’s violence against women. Call the Family Violence Prevention Fund at 800 END-ABUSE for information. • Plan a game or sport in which the contest specifically does not keep score or declare a winner. Invite the community to watch and celebrate boys playing on teams for the sheer joy of playing. • Since Son’s Day is on SUNDAY, make sure your son is involved in preparing the family for the work and school week ahead. This means: helping lay out clothes for siblings and making lunches… Take your son grocery shopping, then help him plan and prepare the family’s evening meal on Son’s Day…

Dichiarazione programmatica:

… “We view teasing and bullying as the precursors to adolescent sexual harassment, and believe that the roots of this behavior are to be found in early childhood socialization practices.”… It is not that “boys are bad,” the authors assure us, “but rather that we must all do a much better job of addressing aggressive behavior of young boys to counteract the prevailing messages they receive from the media and society in general.”… early intervention in the male “socialization process” is critical if we are to stem the tide of male violence….

L’equità di genere per molti è diventata una priorità a scuola. Chi persegue questo obiettivo ha le idee chiare e parte dai fatti:

…  Every year nearly four million women are beaten to death by men.80 • Violence is the leading cause of death among women. • The leading cause of injury among women is being beaten by a man at home. • There was a 59 percent increase in rapes between 1990 and 1991.83 This “culture of violence,” says Hanson, “stem[s] from cultural norms that socialize males…

Un nemico dichiarato sono gli sport violenti (la violenza sarebbe il contatto fisico purchessia):

… “One of the most overlooked arenas of violence training within schools may be the environment that surrounds athletics and sports. Beginning with Little League games where parents and friends sit on the sidelines and encourage aggressive, violent behavior.”…

Purtroppo, anche qui come in altri casi, disinformazione e fervore moralistico si mischiano. Tanto per iniziare, i “fatti” che il militante dell’equità di genere prende per oro colato sono tutt’altro che chiari:

… If Hanson were right, the United States would be the site of an atrocity unparalleled in the twentieth century. Four million women beaten to death by men! Every year! In fact, the total number of annual female deaths from all causes is approximately one million.87 Only a minuscule fraction are caused by violence, and an even tinier fraction are caused by battery. According to the FBI, the total number of women who died by murder in 1996 was 3,631.88 In contrast, Director Hanson calculates that 11,000 American women are beaten to death every day…

Le “conquiste” dei militanti oggi impauriscono i direttori didattici che sotto la minaccia di processi umilianti prendono provvedimenti talvolta assurdi, come per esempio “abolire l’intervallo”.

… The fear of ruinous lawsuits is forcing schools to treat normal boys as sexist culprits. The climate of anxiety helps explain why, in 2004, Stephen Fogelman from Branson, Missouri, was suspended for sexual harassment for kissing a classmate on the cheek…

Ora, non bisogna negare che esista tra i generi una diversa inclinazione all’aggressione fisica:

… Sex differences in physical aggression are real. Cross-cultural studies confirm the obvious: boys are universally more combative. In a classic 1973 study of the research on male-female differences, Eleanor Maccoby and Carol Jacklin conclude that, compared to girls, boys engage in more mock fighting and more aggressive fantasies. They insult and hit one another and retaliate more quickly when attacked: “The sex difference [in aggression] is found as early as social play begins—at 2 or 21/2.”110…

Ma non bisogna confondere una sana virilità con la violenza: Per molti, al contrario, la mascolinità è un male in sè, da qui la “guerra contro i ragazzini” che molte scuole sembrano aver dichiarato.

There is an all-important difference between healthy and aberrational masculinity. Criminologists distinguish between “hypermasculinity” (or “protest masculinity”) and the normal masculinity of healthy young males. Hypermasculine young men do indeed express their maleness through antisocial behavior—mostly against other males, but also through violent aggression toward and exploitation of women. Healthy young men express their manhood in competitive endeavors that are often physical. As they mature, they take on responsibility, strive for excellence, and achieve and “win.”… Unfortunately, many educators have become persuaded that there is truth in the relentlessly repeated proposition that masculinity per se is the cause of violence. Beginning with the premise that most violence is perpetrated by men, they move hastily, and fallaciously, to the proposition that maleness is the leading cause of violence. By this logic, every boy is a proto-predator…

Conclusione del libro:

… My message is not to “let boys be boys.” Boys should not be left to their boyishness but should rather be guided and civilized. It has been said that every year civilization is invaded by millions of tiny barbarians; they’re called children. All societies confront the problem of civilizing children—both boys and girls, but particularly boys. History teaches us that masculinity without morality is lethal. But masculinity constrained by morality is powerful and constructive, and a gift to women. Boys need to be shown how to grow into respectful human beings. They must be shown, in ways that leave them in no doubt…

Come incanalare in modo sano la virilità?

Il problema è vecchio come il mondo perchè il mondo (uomini e donne) è sempre stato ben conscio di come questo aspetto dell’umano fosse prezioso e da preservare. Ebbene, se non si conosce una via migliore si adotti quella tradizionale che consiste nella “formazione di un carattere”. Ma oggi qualcuno, forse, ritiene che la virilità rappresenti solo un rischio sociale per proteggersi dal quale è giusto mettere in campo una serie di politiche scolastiche che di fatto sono un attacco alla natura dei nostri figli maschi.

… The traditional approach is through character education: to develop a boy’s sense of honor and to help him become considerate, conscientious, and gentlemanly. This approach respects boys’ masculinity and does not require that they sit in sedate circles playing tug-of-peace or run around aimlessly playing tag where no one is ever out. And it does not include making seven-year-old boys feel ashamed for playing with toy soldiers… Boys do need discipline, but in today’s educational environment they also need protection—from self-esteem promoters, roughhouse prohibitionists, zero-tolerance enforcers, and gender equity activists who are at war with their very natures…

 

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