I took my daughter to fast food a few weeks back for lunch and to let her play in their play area. She had a blast in the play area, and we both enjoyed the father/daughter time. She even got a Moxie girlz™ purse with her kids meal (image at toyalert.blogspot):
For those not already familiar with moxie girlz, it is pretty much the standard mix of girlpower, be true to yourself, and hair and makeup you would see anywhere else. This message to girls certainly predates my time, but it does seem that they have upped the volume over the years. Here is a portion of their wisdom for girls from the home page:
Every girl has the strength to do something amazing. Anything is possible as long as you stay true to yourself & never give up on your dreams!
Their trademark is:
be true! * be you!™
You have to love traditional girl role toys packaged with feminist slogans. You can click here to read more about each of the moxie girl characters. Each one aspires to be just ambitious enough to say she had a career, without crossing over into anything traditionally masculine or which would require math or science skills. They are playful, silly, creative, sporty, and love to dance, and we learn why each one is loved by her friends.
The boys who had kids meals also received a toy, but without any slogans telling them how amazing they are or exhorting them to be true to themselves. Their toys were pro wrestlers.
It is pretty funny when you think about it, because you could probably go back to any point in human history and find little boys playing as warriors and little girls playing with purses and dolls.
Feminists have to be pulling out their hair saying why aren’t the slogans working? We must need more moxie!
Resident feminist Doomed Harlot even attributed mothers who feed their kids to predators to a lack of feminist moxie:
I used to prosecute criminal cases so I have personally interacted with women who have sided with their pedophile boyfriends over their own victimized daughters. It’s not a phenomenon I can pretend to understand. I attribute it to (1) denial based on fear of being without a man and (2) internalized misogyny and the resulting ambivalent feelings about their own daughters.
I’m not sure more moxie was what was missing. What if those mothers were just being true to themselves?
Some would likely claim that teaching girls moxie is strictly a new phenomenon, and girls will turn into boys in just one or two more generations. But this isn’t true. Amelia Earhart’s mother was raising her daughter with moxie over 100 years ago:
Their upbringing was unconventional since Amy Earhart did not believe in molding her children into “nice little girls.”
Much like today, the stress for girls was on attitude over actual competence. In Earhart’s case it payed off quite well. After her accomplishment of riding in a plane while two men flew it across the Atlantic, she went on a lengthy lecture tour and wrote a book. I haven’t read the book but I’m assuming she included recipes of the snacks she served the pilots during the flight.
Earhart certainly had the moxie to fly the state of the art Lockheed Electra purchased for her by Perdue University, but by many accounts she lacked the skill. Moxy alone won’t pilot a plane around the world. Moxie without the skill to back it up will get you killed.
Given how long we have been raising girls on a steady diet of moxie, why haven’t they turned into boys? I would suggest teaching girls actual skills and real values instead of focusing on self esteem and self centeredness. Psychologist Dr. Roy Baumeister offers another explanation in his lecture Is There Anything Good About Men?:
For women throughout history (and prehistory), the odds of reproducing have been pretty good. Later in this talk we will ponder things like, why was it so rare for a hundred women to get together and build a ship and sail off to explore unknown regions, whereas men have fairly regularly done such things? But taking chances like that would be stupid, from the perspective of a biological organism seeking to reproduce. They might drown or be killed by savages or catch a disease. For women, the optimal thing to do is go along with the crowd, be nice, play it safe. The odds are good that men will come along and offer sex and you’ll be able to have babies. All that matters is choosing the best offer. We’re descended from women who played it safe.
For men, the outlook was radically different. If you go along with the crowd and play it safe, the odds are you won’t have children. Most men who ever lived did not have descendants who are alive today. Their lines were dead ends. Hence it was necessary to take chances, try new things, be creative, explore other possibilities. Sailing off into the unknown may be risky, and you might drown or be killed or whatever, but then again if you stay home you won’t reproduce anyway. We’re most descended from the type of men who made the risky voyage and managed to come back rich. In that case he would finally get a good chance to pass on his genes. We’re descended from men who took chances (and were lucky).
The huge difference in reproductive success very likely contributed to some personality differences, because different traits pointed the way to success. Women did best by minimizing risks, whereas the successful men were the ones who took chances. Ambition and competitive striving probably mattered more to male success (measured in offspring) than female. Creativity was probably more necessary, to help the individual man stand out in some way.
Interestingly this model fits pretty well when we compare the Earhart girls and Charles Lindbergh. While Amelia died trying to fly around the world before she had any children, her sister Grace lived to the age of 98 and had 2 children and 7 grandchildren. Charles Lindbergh had a total of 8 surviving children (not counting the kidnapped baby), including 3 children from his German mistress. I haven’t seen a full count of his descendants, but as of 1969 he had 9 grandchildren.
Earhart photo details available on Wiki Commons.