domingo, fevereiro 22, 2009

I suppose as part of being a Quaker, I have always had a strong anti-war, anti-violence view of everything. I am constantly trying to instill this in Ju, although it can occasionally be challenging here. When he was given a bunch of made-in-China war toys (plastic hand grenade, knife, gun, etc) there was no question that they would become a donation for kids in the street. I refuse to have anything like that in the house. He is not allowed to watch Power Rangers, Spiderman, Batman, or any of those fight-and-kill violent styles of programming. (I cannot understand why anyone would expose a child so young to these kinds of ideas, although it seems to be the norm here at least in Brasil.)

People here allow boys to be much more wild, misbehave much more, and in general seem to discipline them less about proper human behavior, in my opinion. Girls are put on a much shorter leash. There is a certain view that boys "need" this kind of play where they kick and wrestle with each other, that it's a boy thing and I will never understand. Maybe so. But how much of this is what boys NEED and how much is what we put upon them with expectations based on society? Boys are given toy guns, girls are given dolls. I know I've had this argument with myself before and it never seems to resolve itself. And there is always the view of "well, all these other grown men grew up playing these games and they turned out okay, so why does it matter so much"? I could ramble on about this forever.

Anyway, there were some things I liberated after a time, like Looney Tunes, thinking that they really weren't that harmful. Woody woodpecker is very popular here and all the kids disappear from the outside area of the condo at 6:30 to go watch it. I hadn't really paid much attention to the content of these cartoons, having watched them myself when I was about seven or so. It's just a cartoon, why does it matter? But Ju's behavior at school and with us (direct disobeying of rules, lack of respect for other people's space, hitting and bothering people) has gotten so bad in the last several months, I have been forced to reconsider that age old argument that violent cartoons are bad for your kids. The Looney Tunes characters do horrible things to each other - hitting with mallets, blowing each other up, pushing off of cliffs, getting run over by cars.... And Ju laughs. He laughs at all of it. It bothers me that he finds this funny. I never put much stock in it before, thinking that kids know the difference between real life and cartoons, remembering how I felt at that age when some adult made a comment about how these violent shows were affecting children, thinking that these adults assumed we were all stupid kids who didn't know the difference. Maybe for a seven year old this is true. Maybe. But perhaps for a three year old, this division is a little fuzzier. Certainly when I saw Ju begin head butting people after watching Woody Woodpecker, I started to rethink this line.

So now the Looney Tunes DVDs are banned. Woodywood pecker has gone the same way as Power Rangers - not allowed. We just got some new video tapes of Dora and the Magic School Bus and something called Yo Gabba Gabba that Ju absolutely loves. The desire to have him relate to "normal" Brasilian boys at school by being able to talk about the same characters and play the same games is usurped by my concern that he may end up in the principals office because he broke some kid's nose by head butting him. Lets see if TV really makes a difference.

5 comentários:

pamo disse...

my husband wants me to say, in batman's defense, he only has 2 rules, 1. no guns, 2. no killing people.

;) seriously - big wink.

i'd rather boys were not pushed towards violence, and girls not pushed toward the helpless princess bit myself.

Corinne disse...

I try to balance what Kevin sees, keeping him away from regular cartoons and watching Discovery Kids (Backyardigans, Sesame Street, etc.), but my husband does not see the harm in TV. Forget cartoonsn he is totally fine watching Rambo in front of our son. Even my evangelical brother-in-law started to watch Tropa de Elite in front of my son and his own 4 years old until I asked him not to. At least, I am happy to report that at my son's daycare (which is public), they have all the kids play with "Artur", the class mascot, a doll that helps teach them about empathy towards others.

Mrs. S disse...

Thank you so much for emailing me!! I had wanted to write you back, but I cant find your gmail address! If you would send it to me, I would really appreciate it! Thank you for all of your advice!

Anônimo disse...

Down in Fraggle Rock!

Adam disse...

Fraggle Rock was great! haha

Well, Quaker or not, I think these values you speak of are spot on. Many people, including parents, don't question basic things and think their children should grow up in similar or 'better' circumstances than they did, yet they fail to question their own upbringing.

Girls like pink, boys, blue...but why? This is a way to indoctrinate the children into a given society rather than make the choices yourself.

I highly recommend learning about Plato's Cave, if you haven't already. Here's two links

Basically in the society we are given, we turn to the one next to us to confirm what we see and 'know' in order to maintain our sanity.

Last but not least, I also highly recommend the new Brazilian documentary Criança, A Alma do Negócio which is also on Youtube in parts. Here's part one

"Um documentário sobre publicidade, consumo e infância"