I've mentioned before the book and accompanying blog called Packaging Girlhood, which examines the (often detrimental and dangerous) messages girls in our society are getting from product marketing and media. Now, the authors have begun a new project to look at the situation from the other point of view, called, predictably, Packaging Boyhood.
In the process of raising a daughter, I've definitely realized more than I ever had before about the assumptions and expectations our society unreasonably associates with being female - but it also opened my eyes to the baggage with which we saddle our boys. And, honestly, I don't think the issues of raising boys in gender-biased ways even get discussed with the same depth that issues with girls do. I know parents who would let their daughters play baseball or bulldoze with play trucks ten times over before they would let their sons play with dolls or toy kitchens. A girl who exhibits boy-like traits is a tomboy - a boy who takes on qualities generally associated with girls will be labeled with some derogatory version of "gay." Sometimes I think the box into which we've put boys' identities is more constricting and inflexible than the girls' - and all the more damaging because it's rarely talked about.
The Packaging Boyhood authors are asking for help in a variety of ways: emailed articles or stories about raising boys in our media-saturated culture, survey or responses, or participating in focus groups. Visit their website to find out more.