The traditionalist view is very different. We would point out that masculinity is oriented to the physical protection of women rather than to inflicting violence; that traditional Western societies did not permit violence against women; and that violence against women is associated not with social norms but with anti-social behaviour.
Lisa Price lives in Walsall, England. A year ago she was persuaded that the leftist view was the correct one, having read some information on parenting websites. Therefore, she took the next step and decided that her son, Max, must not be raised along normal masculine lines:
Lisa, a full-time housewife, took the decision to allow Max to identify as either a girl or a boy 12 months ago, after seeing high-profile rape cases being discussed on parenting websites. "Gender stereotypes can be so damaging.
"They teach little boys to be aggressive and dominant over women," she argues. "There’s research out there saying that the whole “boys will be boys” thing basically teaches lads that it’s OK to be a certain way, because it’s in their nature to be aggressive. It’s detrimental for them and for females."
Lisa Price also justifies her decision to raise her son to be gender neutral in standard liberal terms, namely as part of autonomous choice. This view assumes that raising a boy to be masculine will hamper his freedom to be whoever he chooses to be:
"If Max wants to wear a pink tutu and fairy wings, then he can wear it," says Lisa. "He’s just expressing himself. I don’t want to put him in a certain box and treat him that way. I want to teach him to be whatever he wants to be."
The focus here is on our sex as being something limiting or restricting to self - which assumes that our self is something set apart from our masculine or feminine being. The traditionalist view is that it is not set apart and therefore the point is not to choose a gender but to best develop the masculinity that is embedded in our identity as a man or the femininity that is embedded in our identity as a woman.
I would note here that Lisa Price herself has followed a feminine path in being a stay at home mother and that she presents herself in a recognisably feminine form. The mum wants something for her son that she has not followed herself.
I wonder too if she has considered what qualities her son will need to be successful in his life. We don't just get to choose what the opposite sex finds attractive in a partner; nor do we get to choose what demands are placed on us at school or at work or in the home. Men do still need to have masculine strengths to bear the burdens placed upon them; the questing and resilient spirit of men also helps us to forge a path and to find our higher fulfilments in life.
So Max's mum is not doing him any favours in steering him away from developing along masculine lines.