Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Boys and guns and all of that

Clone warrior with awesome blaster (cue TZ panting)

When TZ's mania for guns, war, and other unacceptable problem-solving tools becomes too distressing, I go to good ol' Google and poke around for something that will shed a little light on the issue. What I found this time was a great blog called Blogging 'Bout Boys and an article by Maya Gotz entitled Media and the Make Believe World of Boys and Girls.

The blog, as you might guess, is about boys--parenting boys, to be specific, and according to its author, ain't nothin' you can do 'bout that heat-packin' rapscallion, except to remember that he's also a sweet little boy. Which is the gist of what most Mothers of Older Boys have told me.

I keep thinking, "But you haven't seen my boy in action." Not that he's special, but he kind of is. He's not just interested in something--he's obsessed. It used to be firefighters--anyone else have a son who was a firefighter for Halloween for four years in a row? Granted, the final year (2008) was a transition year--he wanted to be Darth Vader, but I said no, so he went with his backup costume. In 2009, he begged for weeks to be allowed to have a clone trooper costume, and I finally relented.

But back to obsession. For years it was firefighters all day long--except for Rock Star, his other obsession (you play rock star by blasting blink-182 and playing air guitar or pillow drums.) And now it's Star Wars and Clone Wars. All the time. All the time. All...The...Time. Am I making myself quite clear?

Well, okay, sometimes it's United States Marines. With occasional breaks for fart and butt jokes.

TZ plays a hybrid character: part Clone Captain Rex (cool uniform and awesome blaster) and part Anakin (cool hair, mastery of the Force, and awesome light saber); he switches off in terms of which character's role he is actually taking. Combining attributes of power from different characters is typical boy play, according to Maya Gotz, the author of Media and the Make Believe, etc. Boys also tend to lift plots, characters, and setting wholesale from the media source, whereas girls modify their characters, plots, and settings to fit their fantasies. The princesses and fairies end up far more empowered in little-girl fantasy than in the original media. Which is encouraging if you're the mother of a girl, but what about me? I suppose it's nice to know that TZ is typical. Still, living in an imaginary battle zone drives me nuts sometimes.

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