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No more heroes anymore

There is probably a drop-dead serious point to be made here about the gradual ‘feminisation’ of boys but, for now at least, I am content just to publicly guffaw at this latest forlorn attempt to make the world a safer place:

Children in Melbourne have been banned from dressing up as Batman, Superman and the Incredible Hulk because schools say the action hero costumes encourage aggressive behaviour.

At least 10 childcare centres have declared themselves “superhero-free zones”, claiming that youngsters who don capes and masks are more likely to end up wrestling, punching and karate-kicking unsuspecting classmates.

Lex Luther take note: all their childcare centres are belong to you!

The head of one childcare centre, Madeleine Kellaway, told the Sun Herald newspaper: “There is a lot of violence involved, where you get wham-bam aggressive behaviour.”

Perhaps the kids just don’t like her very much.

She said banning the superhero costumes had encouraged more creative play.

‘Okay children, today we’re all going to dress up as Outreach Co-ordinators and play a game of who can get most money from the government in order to implement a policy framework for achieving diversity in local authority management structure. Hooray!’

31 comments to No more heroes anymore

  • RK Jones

    I’m sure the folks on United Flight 93 wished they had spent more time as youths focusing on creative play, rather than the more “wham-bang aggresive behaviours”, such as judo and rugby.

    Ahhh, the pussification of the modern male continues.

    RK Jones

  • debbie

    Why don’t they just cut their balls off right now and be done with it! SHEESH!

  • BigFire

    I’m pretty sure this school system will actually encourage kids to dressed up as Hitler and bin Laden.

  • “more likely to end up wrestling, punching and karate-kicking unsuspecting classmates”

    how did they know the classmates were unsepecting? As far as i rememebr when you went to school dressed as Rambo or the Karate kid a free fight zone was declared – vlunatrily and I think we all understood this.

  • RK Jones

    Perhaps we just need more updated superheroes. Young Aussies could dress up as Decorative Flower ArrangingMan, who would win his adversaries over to the side of truth by…I guess it writes itself from there. Or EnnuiMan, who destroys enlightens his foes with readings of the works of Sylvia Plath. Or, and perhaps more appropriately, Dead-From-a-Terrorist-Bomb-in-BaliMan. Only the dead can truly be free from the urge to perpetuate the cycle of violence.

    RK Jones

  • R.C. Dean

    “She said banning the superhero costumes had encouraged more creative play.”

    Yup, nothing like a little censorship to get the creative juices flowing. I mean, we all know that pretending to be a fantasy character has nothing at all to do with creative play, right?

    What a [sexist vulgarity deleted].

  • Amy from Texas

    This very thing occurred in my son’s preschool. And just after I’d read Gerard Jones’ excellent book Killing Monsters. Kids who showed up anyway as Superman had to turn their shirts inside-out. These kids were between 2 and 3.
    I do think this is a case of feminisation of behavioral standards, but also a pathetic rehash of the tired idea that the media is to blame for all our social ills.

  • veryretired

    The significant problems boys are having in both day care and school settings are starting to be documented. The anger, “special ed” designations, over medication, frustration with and loss of interest in a curriculum and environment designed for teacher convenience instead of boys’ learning, and the list of problems goes on.

    The result is the poor performance, bizarre acts of rage, adolescent suicides, drop outs, and other problems that plague boys at much higher levels than girls.

    We continue to ignore some very significant aspects of “boyhood” that make males operate differently from females, regardless of the ideological demand that all children should be the same. As the father of both, and the coach of many over the years, of both sexes, this fallacy is very clearly doing a lot of damage.

    I’m afraid this naive attempt to make everybody “be nice” is just one more pathetic example.

  • David Crawford

    Anyone over the age of, say, 35 should get down on their knees and thank (even if they are an atheist or agnostic) some higher power that we were children when we were. We were actually allowed to be children and not the involuntary target of every left-looney nut-bag around. I truly do pity the kids of today.

  • Susan

    Amen, David, amen.

    Another thing that disturbs me about this: The whole point about Superheroes is that they are supposed to protect innocent people from “bad guys.” They are never depicted as aggressors first — that’s why they are SuperHEROES instead of SuperVILLIANS.

    This is right in line with the whole attempt to brainwash the public into believing that self-defense is immoral.

    This is the same mentality that produced widespread official condemnation of Tony Martin and excuses and justifications for Brendon Fearon.

    God help us, self-defense is a needed skill for a civilization to survive. What will happen when we no longer feel it is morally right to defend ourselves from an aggressor?

    We’ll be flattened like a bug.

  • Omnibus Bill

    We’re having a problem with that in the U.S. as well.

    Around 45% of last year’s incoming freshman class of college were boys. Each year for the last several years it has dropped close to a full percentage point, and at most of the elite schools, the ratio of women to men is 60:40.

    Yet still the Wimmin of National Organization for Women, and all their constituent noisemaking groups, insist that girls are being left behind. The most left-behind insular groups are poor rural White males, and Black males.

    You can’t bring these facts up, however, without being viciously slandered; ask Christina Hoff Summers about it sometime.

  • cj

    Ugh, this hits close to home.

    We’ve just recently enrolled our 4-year-old son in a PDO (parents day out) program. This is churched based (most of them are, in the Kansas City USA area). I spoke extensively with the director over the phone, but my husband did the on-site tour, as I was in the office that day.

    Well, I made the, apparently, MAJOR mistake of buying a Spiderman lunch box for my son. When my husband saw it, he said “Oh, no — they specifically banned Spiderman and superhero logos. ” But, I protested, Spiderman is a GOOD guy. Yes, my husband reported, they acknowledged that, but said it made boys too aggressive.

    I promise I did not make that up after reading the previous comments!

    Now, you have to understand that my son is the third child, with two older sisters. He has been immersed his entire life in Barbie, Princess-this-and-that, likes to dress up in ball gowns and high heels — in fact, I’m LOOKING for “male” imagery for him to imitate, given the influence of his siblings, and that all his playmates have been girls. But, yes, he still engages in “aggressive” actions. Which tells me that, despite a preponderance of “female” interaction, toys, role models, etc., there is a certain assertive quality that comes naturally to him as a boy. (and I don’t happen to view that as a “bad thing.”)

    So, to say that “Spiderman” (which we don’t even watch on t.v. ) or any other typical “boy” play subject is the cause of his “aggressive” actions is just ridiculous.

    Needless to say, I’m having second thoughts about this preschool program. We’ll give it a try, but if my majorly-feminized son is going to be criticized because he acts as a normal 4-year-old boy, it’s going to be a short trial.

  • cj

    Sorry, my previous post was long enough, but I couldn’t help adding:

    I’m seriously thinking about keeping the Spiderman lunch box. When the teacher starts her spiel about the “agressive behavior,” I think I’ll have to reply: “Well, so far he’s only been exposed to Barbie, so THAT must be the cause of any misbehavior. I’m hoping Spiderman will help him moderate it.”

  • I’m hoping to encourage my young son to enjoy the same kind of hobbies that I do. He’s 5 and is already quite proficient with a Tactical Master.

  • Johnathan

    Let’s face it, a lot of these educational cockroaches WANT to create a totally wussified, docile public. How else can you create a socialist paradise?

    It is getting harder and harder to do satire these days as reality just keeps overtaking.

  • This sort of thing never ceases to amaze me….but the solution is very simple: educate privately or, better yet, home educate.

    The state is not your friend… so why on earth trust it with the most precious thing you have: your children?

  • Edmund Burke

    “Well, so far he’s only been exposed to Barbie, so THAT must be the cause of any misbehavior.”

    CJ, don’t say that, or they’ll come after your girls as well. Barbie lies second as a no-no after action heros.

    Better to say ethnic neutered dolls.

  • Nancy

    You can blame feminism of schools as much as you like (and you are correct); but at least at the elementary school level, a large part of the responsibility must go to the almost total absence of males in the system. I’m not blaming anyone who doesn’t fancy a career that pays so little, but what about even a bit of free time? What about volunteering for participation in sports, after school activities, helping teachers in the classrooms, anything? Couldn’t at least one weekly hour spent at the pub or watching TV be spent at the local elementary school instead? Teachers constantly require volunteers of some kind.

    My husband loves rugby and he is great with children. Every time he goes onto a field to just kick a ball around, boys are drawn to him in something resembling a crowd. I’ve noticed this in both England and America. There is something heartbreaking about young boys’ longing for adult male company. They obviously don’t get enough of it. Men shouldn’t let fear of being eyed suspiciously or false accusations (which I notice is usually their first worry) stop them from socially acceptable interaction with children. In the huge breach left by their absence, statist “wimmin” will take over. Lack of any personal effort to mitigate the status quo doesn’t aid sympathy for the whingeing about their success in having done so.

    As an aside, there is a very good book along these lines, “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys”, by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson. It is very useful, especially for women who have little idea of how cruel a boy’s life can be.

    cj, I have the opposite situation – two boys and a girl. I was thrilled to get away from toy soldiers, dinosaurs making disgusting noises, male dolls with twisted killer expressions, and navy blue clothes. I am now happily ensconced in princess play castles, Barbies with vacuous expressions, and pink clothes. I agree, any parent who has both sexes can’t help but notice fundamental differences in their behaviour, no matter how similarly they are raised.

  • BCN

    Thinking about the last post made me remember that one of my favorite grade school teachers, third grade I think, was male, and I would say that most of the kids in the class felt the same way. I remember that year better than any other from when I was young. I believe that Nancy is right there needs to be more male involvement in grade school, but that will be hard to get.

  • I can’t speak about conditions in Europe that much, but it comes to mind that there’s a reason why American men are less and less involved with children — abusive domination by workaholics.

    The average American male spends 50 hours a week at work. The average American woman spends 40 hours a week at work. I suspect that total of 90 hours is 30 hours too much for a married couple with children.

    Tyrants come in many flavors. Some in the government. Some in academia. Some in business. And other places as well. They all have one thing in common, though: they want a docile population.

  • Johnathan

    There is also the law of unintended consequences – by trying to suppress traditional “macho” outlets such as super hero comics, rough and tumble games and so on, it may only encourage boys to rebel by engaging in far worse, more socially disruptive behaviour at a later date. Consider the current controversy about young Brit males – and women – behaving like drunken sex-crazed yobs in Greece, or the ever constant trouble of soccer holiganism.

    Perry is right – as usual. Home schooling may be the only way forward.

  • A_t

    :) yeah! all soccer hooligans were deprived of superhero play when young! yes yes. If only they could’ve wrestled like the hulk, the world would be a far calmer place. Hmm…. why doesn’t that ring true?

    & how are falaraki murders/stripping ‘beauties’ in any way related to this stuff? For a start, the level of PC-ness required to successfully ban superhero-related stuff didn’t even exist when the current generation of drunken louts were growing up.

  • David Crawford

    Chuck and Nancy, I kind of disagree about your point (the need for male adult male involvement). I think kids need a hell of a lot less “adult involvement”. Criminy, just friggin’ get adults out of their lives and let ‘em be. They’ll figure out something to do.

    John Boorman’s movie “Hope and Glory” always gives me a warm, nostalgic feeling. That pack of young boys running around their town, no “adult involvement” to be seen, reminds me of my own childhood. We didn’t have bombed-out buildings to play in but we had plenty of interesting places to keep ourselves occupied. I do realize, though, that I grew up in a working-class neighborhood where a small family had 2 or 3 kids, the average family had 4 or 5, and more than a few had 6 to 8 kids. This made it easy to get a gang of 10 or 12 boys your own age together to go “adventuring” (a word we invented). Todays middle-class families seem to be happy with one or two — the parents having other priorities and all.

  • John J. Coupal

    Correct, David Crawford

    The other priorities certainly don’t include children.

  • Chris Josephson

    Agree with the posters who have stated that a docile public is what is desired and much of what we see is aimed towards that goal.

    I want my sons to enjoy being men and understand the real world. I don’t want them to be bullies or to abuse their wives, but to be wlling to use their strength and aggression to fight for what is right. How can they learn to use their natural strength and aggression if it’s always suppressed?

    Honestly I believe the reason we may be seeing elevated violence is because we are pretending our children will conduct themselves as diplomats in some utopian world. Children, male and female, have to learn how to live in the real world. We have to teach them how to harness and control their ‘not so nice’ tendencies. We don’t teach children how to harness and control something if they are never allowed to acknowledge it exists.

    Go back quite a few years before there was a ban on aggressive play. Did we grow up to be some sort of aggressive monsters? I don’t think so. We were taught, well most were taught, how to control
    our aggression. How to use it when needed.

    I don’t view learning to use and harness aggression as always physical. I’m also thinking of aggression as a motivating force to help someone *do something* (vote, picket, run for office, speak out, etc.) when they know their rights are being violated.

  • R.C. Dean

    I concur that children today seem to be relentlessly supervised, compared to my childhood, when I was basically turned out of doors at every opportunity to roam the neighborhood until feeding time with other kids my age . Nowadays (and what a geezer I feel with that phrase) kids are watched relentlessly, channeled into an endless round of organized activities, and seem to have very little time for and to themselves. I have to wonder what the long-term effects of this will be.

    Adding on to this the fact that much of the supervision is aimed mostly at making them as docile and manageable as possible, and I shudder to imagine what my life would be like if I had been born decades later than I was.

    There is a crying need for more male involvement with kids, I agree. May I recommend taking a kid fishing or, if you are extraordinarily fortunate, shooting or hunting, if you really want to cut through the feminista bullshit and reconnect them with reality.

  • Ron

    Chris J,

    “Children, male and female, have to learn how to live in the real world. We have to teach them how to harness and control their ‘not so nice’ tendencies.”

    To be Devil’s Advocate for a moment, isn’t this what the childcare people think they are trying to do by suppressing Action Heroes…?

  • Regarding the original story, I see that Australian Prime Minister Howard has recently called this decision “political correctness gone mad”.

    He also said that these people are ‘losing touch with reality’.

    Its turning into a mighty fine country Australia.

  • JaYn

    sorry but ill have to agree, when children are into their superhero customs, they alter from innocenct children, to daring SUPERVILLANS by encouraging violence play like kicking, punching wrestling etc.. yes children can get agressive with a stick, but with these costumes they become more agressive, as they have transfromed into the character they have worn. also it encourags bullying as tthey need a “baddy” to attack

    adding to that point…it’s only in daycare centres…when children are at home they can be free as much as they wont…..children have a wide range of imagination….not just to be superheros

  • JaYn

    also i will like o add to my post…..my child wore his superhero custom to day care (when it wasnt banned) and i got a phone call stating thet my son has broken his arm after trying to bully and fly ontop of a vulnerable child…..i threw that custom awawy and my child still has his imagination that keeps him entertained….

  • me

    i agree jayn head on!!!!!! ur sons incidents relate to my daughters incident except with wonderwomen costume