From Librarything

Boys Will Be Boys: An Exploration of Power, Patriarchy and the Toxic Bonds of Mateship - Clementine Ford

Disclaimer: I won an ARC via a giveaway on Librarything.


                There are thousands of reasons why you should read this book.  I would like to start with just one.


                The sentence about Oscar Isaac’s equipment.  It is around page 185.


                And if that doesn’t do it for you, the line about porn making men’s equipment not work is good too.  That’s around 134.


                But seriously, Ford’s excellent use of humor aside, you should read this book.


                Ford’s book about culture and how it not only harms women but also men.  In part, this is a mediation on the problems that her son will face growing up, but also the dangers that women face.  She dismantles the arguments that men’s rights movements people use and shows how circular and deceptive they are.


                The progresses from pre-birth to adulthood.  For instance, the book opens with a discussion of gender reveal parties, and ends with a letter to her son describing, in part, what she hopes he grows into.


                One of the most damning or interesting chapters is her look at film.  You will never look at movies, in particular Disney movies, the same way.  While at times in this section, I wondered a few things – for instance, while Rey and Finn are great, the Force Awakens really doesn’t fully pass the Bechdel test does it?  Or why not mention comic book movies where the female superheroes rarely seem to talk to each other?


                And there are other limitations in the book, which Ford addresses in her introduction, so she is at least aware. The book relies heavily on Australian events (not really surprising considering) but also mentions a few cases in the US and Ireland.


                The most anger inducing and upsetting section is about sex education and how that is used to police women and young girls.  In part, she is building on the works of writers such as Jessica Valenti, but she also shows how much has not changed and, in fact, how some things have gotten worse.


                We live in a world where if a female politician says something people don’t like, she deserves death threats.  IT’s her fault.  She should keep her mouth shut.  We live in a society where a judge tells a rape victim that she should have thought of her rapist’s future before she pressed charges.  A world where Lance Armstrong, who maligned a woman who tried to blow the whistle on his cheating, gets redeemed.  While all these things happened in America, they are hardly unique to America.  Ford’s book shows us how far we must go to do right by both boys and girls.