Que Sera, Sera……

For those of you not old enough to remember, this is the title of a song Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)“, first published in 1956, is a popular song written by the Jay Livingston and Ray Evans songwriting team. The song was introduced in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), starring Doris Day and James Stewart in the lead roles”. See here and here.

Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

When I was just a little girl

I asked my mother, what will I be

Will I be pretty, will I be rich

Here’s what she said to me.

Que Sera, Sera,

Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours, to see

Que Sera, Sera

What will be, will be.

When I was young, I fell in love

I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead

Will we have rainbows, day after day

Here’s what my sweetheart said.

Que Sera, Sera,

Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours, to see

Que Sera, Sera

What will be, will be.

Now I have children of my own

They ask their mother, what will I be

Will I be handsome, will I be rich

I tell them tenderly.

Que Sera, Sera,

Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours, to see

Que Sera, Sera

What will be, will be.

 

Song lyrics hereYoutube of song performance here

It’s a catchy song with a nice melody, and of course, it is just a song, no earth shattering philosophical revelations.  Thing is, it does encapsulate a couple of rather important ideas. From a parenting perspective.

First that children turn to their parents, as role models, as the source of reassurance and guidance, and more importantly for answers.

It also illustrates something fundamental, a question that children and young people yearn to have an answer to – What will I be?

Our children are to some extent what we, as their parents make them, for good or bad, which is of course subjective, individuals having their own measure of what constitutes good, and bad. The song was released in 1956, and is of its time, for those who take issue with the lines about “will I be pretty” or “I asked my sweetheart”.

It  is worth noting that in 1956 getting married and having children was the “norm” mothers staying in the home to raise those children was the “norm”.  Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique wasn’t published till 1963, the book that is “credited with sparking off second wave feminism” see here.

Today’s generation of 15 – 17 years olds were born between 1996 – 1998 and their parents, who lets just assume were about 25 when they were born, entered this world in 1988, and their parents in 1963, the year Friedan’s book came out.

So, roughly we could say that we now have two generations who came of age under the influence of feminism and for todays 15 – 17 year old’s whose grandparents and parents were living during what has been characterised as the second and third wave of feminism. We’ll leave “first wave feminism” till last.

Second Wave feminism.

“The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90’s. This wave unfolded in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of a variety of minority groups around the world. The New Left was on the rise, and the voice of the second wave was increasingly radical. In this phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were dominant issues, and much of the movement’s energy was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing social equality regardless of sex.” See here.

“We then move on to the second wave of feminism, which emerged in the 1960s to 1970s in postwar Western welfare societies, when other “oppressed” groups such as Blacks and homosexuals were being defined and the New Left was on the rise. Second-wave feminism is closely linked to the radical voices of women’s empowerment and differential rights and, during the 1980s to 1990s, also to a crucial differentiation of second-wave feminism itself, initiated by women of color and third-world women.” See here

Third Wave feminism

 “We end our discussion with the third feminist wave, from the mid-1990s onward, springing from the emergence of a new postcolonial and post socialist world order, in the context of information society and neoliberal, global politics. Third-wave feminism manifests itself in “grrl” rhetoric, which seeks to overcome the theoretical question of equity or difference and the political question of evolution or revolution, while it challenges the notion of “universal womanhood” and embraces ambiguity, diversity, and multiplicity in transversal theory and politics.” And here.

“The third phase of feminism began in the mid-90’s and is informed by post-colonial and post-modern thinking. In this phase many constructs have been destabilized, including the notions of “universal womanhood,” body, gender, sexuality and hetreronormativity. An aspect of third phase feminism that mystifies the mothers of the earlier feminist movement is the readoption by young feminists of the very lip-stick, high-heals, and cleavage proudly exposed by low cut necklines that the first two phases of the movement identified with male oppression. Pinkfloor expressed this new position when she said; “It’s possible to have a push-up bra and a brain at the same time.” here.

So what is it that will influence the world our children will inherit? Is it to be a continuation of feminism that this present generation of boys and girls will be influenced by? Is feminism to be the dominant ideological influence that informs the majority of public policy?

What WILL our soon to enter the adult world, children and young people be? In particular what will your sons be, or allowed to be?

Well, with each succeeding generation the influence of feminism has grown, has impacted not just on how we think and feel about men, women, children and human relationships, but insinuated its influence into the very political structure of our societies and cultures.

Before we go on, you might have noticed that I skipped a “wave” the first wave –

First-wave feminism arose in the context of industrial society and liberal politics but is connected to both the liberal women’s rights movement and early socialist feminism in the late 19th and early 20th century in the United States and Europe. Concerned with access and equal opportunities for women, the first wave continued to influence feminism in both Western and Eastern societies throughout the 20th century.” See here.

and

“The first wave of feminism took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, emerging out of an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when 300 men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement’s ideology and political strategies.” See here.

What is certain is that each generation, its mores, its thinking and its perspective impacts on the following generation. With each succeeding generation taking up the torch, so to speak, and running on ahead with it, making it their own.

It would be disingenuous to not acknowledge that with the birth of the information age, feminism has taken on a new energy, a more pervasive presence. Aligned to that is the rise of anti-feminism, of a growing counter/anti feminism known collectively as the Men’s Rights Movement.

We are now engaged in not just a battle to roll back and eliminate the insidious influence of feminism in our culture, but in a battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation. Unfortunately feminism has a bit of a head start on the Men’s Rights Movement and has, over the last two generations entrenched itself into positions of power and influence in politics, in education and in the judicial system. Particularly in education.

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? actually yes and no, before the dawn of the information age, most people got their knowledge about feminism from very limited sources, now, at the click of a mouse anyone can literally go back in time and see just exactly what those early feminists really said, just exactly how feminism has managed to insinuate itself into those positions of power and influence.  More importantly anyone can track and plot how feminism has corrupted, has poisoned and has lied its way down the generations and brought us to the point we are at now. 

If you believed that feminism was about “equal rights” or if you believe that feminism is a benign influence in our culture that just wants boys and girls to have the same life chances and to stand shoulder to shoulder and side by side as equals, you are sadly mistaken. So, let’s just take a look at the end result of what three generations of feminism has achieved, in particular in education.  Because, apart from parental influences the second most powerful influence on young boys and girls comes when they go to school. Because it will provide an answer to the question “What Will I Be? If that question is asked by a boy.  Therefore:

Let’s talk about “The Boy Crisis”

“For more than three decades Congress has answered, “How high?” to the feminist command to jump, and provided millions in funding for the Women’s Educational Equity Act (WEEA). If legislation passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in July 2006 was any sign, this year will be no exception despite the fact that the only inequity girls experience is being superior to boys on nearly every indicator of academic excellence.”

Boys are in trouble. Yet despite glaring inequities, the tired myth of the short changed girl remains strong enough to seize another $2.9 million from taxpayers last year for an outdated federal program. Even more unfortunate is how the myth of inequity is wielded to oppose real reforms that help boys and girls.”  See here.

Who is to blame for this “boy crisis? Well this is what Christina Hoff Sommers believes.*

“The American thinker Christina Hoff Sommers, author of the book The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men, wrote that “the idea that schools and society grind girls down has given rise to an array of laws and policies intended to curtail the advantage boys have and to redress the harm done to girls.”

To Continue, Sommers in a scathing criticism lays the blame squarely at the feet of…….one particular feminist.

“Sommers traces it back to the work of one academic feminist, Carol Gilligan, a pioneer of “gender studies” at Harvard University. Gilligan’s speculations launched a veritable industry of feminist writers, citing little or no reviewable data, lamenting the plight of girls “drowning or disappearing” in the “sea of Western culture”

 “Most of Gilligan’s published research, however,” Sommers points out, “consists of anecdotes based on a small number of interviews.

“Sommers has identified the work of Gilligan and her followers as “politics dressed up as science” and points out that she has never released any of the data supporting her main theses. Nevertheless, the idea that girls are lagging behind boys continues to lead the discussion at nearly every level of public policy on education, and not only in the U.S.”

 “The global reach of American left-wing feminism has led to similar changes, and similar outcomes, in nearly every Western nation.” See here.

*Sommers is a feminist, or at least self-identifies as one, which I personally find a bit strange.

The answer for your son is that he will be:

Four times more likely to take his own life if suffering from depression.

”Although girls are more prone to depression, the suicide rate among teenage boys is four times higher. One theory as to why is that girls generally have more intimate friendships than boys do. In times of stress, girls can often lean on one another for emotional support, whereas boys tend to internalize their feelings” See here.

In extreme cases his rage and pain will explode.

Suicide is decreasing for our daughters as we increase our daughters’ ways of succeeding; it is increasing for our sons as we increase our sons’ ways of failing. Our schools are focused on raising the self-esteem of girls, on special programs for girls in math and science, on scholarships for females only. But it is our sons who are more likely to have ADHD, be loners, anti-social, and have run-ins with the law, like Robert Hawkins… Any parent knows that if we pay attention to one child and ignore the other, there is no question that the ignored child will act out; the only questions are how and when.” See here.

Your son is more likely to drop out, be medicalised/drugged, fall behind, and fail to get into college. 

“The statistics tell an alarming tale: According to the National Center for Educational Statistics:

Boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to flunk or drop out of school;

When it comes to grades and homework, girls outperform boys in elementary, secondary, high school, college, and even graduate school;

Boys are four to five times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);  

Women outnumber men in higher education with 56 percent of bachelor’s degrees and 55 percent of graduate degrees going to women.

According to the U.S. Department of Education:

Boys make up two-thirds of the students in special education and are five times more likely to be classified as hyperactive.

Parents of boys — stay calm! While the statistics are disturbing, they don’t describe every boy — or necessarily your boy — but they do raise concerns about many boys’ school experience. “The odds are that if you come from a family that values education, your boy will be successful in school and will go on to college. Most boys do. However, the average American boy is struggling in school,” advises Michael” Thompson.” See here.

In a side bar on the site that I took the above quote from is a question.

“Is It the Boy — Or is It the School?”

Joseph Tobin PH.D Professor of Early Childhood Education answered that question so:

“The culture of schools, especially for young children, is much more feminine than masculine. There are almost no male early childhood educators. Many teachers of young children find boys’ interests in violence, gross things, and bodily functions to be boring or stupid. We need to recognize that many of us have ‘internal prejudices’ against these interests. Just as we used to ask ourselves in the ’70s, ‘In what ways am I being sexist in my treatment of girls?’ we now have to ask, ‘In what ways are we disapproving of boys’ interests in our classrooms?’

Joseph Tobin, Ph.D.  Professor of Early Childhood Education, Arizona State University. Author, Good Guys Don’t Wear Hats” http://www.pbs.org/parents/raisingboys/school.html

Perhaps the question for your son, instead of What Will I Be?” should be “What Will I Be Allowed to BE?”

But more important is to do something now to change the toxic atmosphere that boys have to navigate in school and not accept  – Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) You could start with your own son. or godson, or nephew. Because…….it’s just a song and the future IS ours, maybe not to see, but at least to steer it away from making it unbearable for our sons, and all boys just setting on their future?

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