Friday, March 09, 2007

Stealing childhood

Back in October 2005 I quoted an article by Andrew Martin which argued that the infantilisation of men has destroyed our concept of boyhood:
It's strange, given their fatal consequences for boyhood, that cars should often be referred to as "boys' toys". The word "boy" is being taken away from boys, to be used as an arch substitute for "man". Footballers have a "bad boy" reputation; and what did that Wonderbra advert say? "Hello boys."

... many of the products aimed at boys are trying to hustle them on to puberty as fast as possible. Once you've got sex in the equation you can sell a magazine, market a car and target any product. Whereas boyhood ... Well, what is that? It's beginning to seem an increasingly mysterious, abstract realm, something existing frozen in time on the covers of the William books, like a distant, slightly troublesome memory, or a reproof to the way we live now.
I was reminded of this by an article on the BBC website today which discussed why boys no longer join choirs. It begins:

Boys tend not to join choirs because they think their singing voices "do not sound like boys", research suggests.

Dr Martin Ashley of the University of the West of England says they associate "boy" bands with adult voices.

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