(Am I an idiot for posting this question and reigniting the discussion from a few weeks ago? Perhaps. I just think we should still be talking about all of this. Otherwise, how are we going to get anywhere?)
"Regarding the Dangerous Book for Boys....
My wife and I have three boys and no girls and I've been following this discussion around the Internet with interest. The controversy surrounding the fact that many (if not all) of the items listed in the book could apply equally to either sex sparked my curiosity. I'm wondering if your readers (and you) can think of any skills required for one sex, but not the other (besides the obvious hygiene items).
Only one I can think of off the top of my head would be physical fist fighting. While it is a good idea for a girl to know how to defend herself, that's different than needing to know how (and when) to start and finish a fight which I feel is a skill needed for boys."
I think that there's no real way to answer the question definitively, since there are different answers depending on how you look at it. For instance, I get the feeling that a lot of the commenters from the previous discussions on this topic (both here and on other sites) feel like we should be teaching both sexes exactly the same things because we want to create a genderless society. Others seem to feel like we should teach our kids the things they need to survive in the gender-divided society we have now. Is that glass half full vs. glass half empty? I don't know.
At any rate, where you come down on the spectrum of the all-the-same-so-let's-start-wearing-matching-grey-jumpsuits POV vs. the biology-is-destiny-and-the-market's-regulating-itself-thankyouverymuch POV changes how you answer Craig's question.
I tend toward thinking people need to keep the ideal in mind, but really need to be able to navigate the world we live in right now. So I'd say that boys need to have a working knowledge of the rules of the major sports in the country in which they live (that means baseball and football in the US) so they can have those watercooler "How 'bout those Yankees?" conversations that grease the wheels with other men. Since I'm not a man, I don't know all the other little things men have to deal with that women don't see.
I think it's important to develop a strategy for dealing with the urge to cry that comes over a lot of us in moments of intense emotion. It's really inconvenient and unprofessional to cry in the middle of an important meeting just because you're trying to make a point, so it helps to have figured out how to back yourself off that feeling before it overtakes you.
Learning to deal with the backbiting and gossip of junior high and high school. Girl World is brutal and always has been, and the only way to survive is to have someone to help you through it, even if it's only friends you find in books.
Even though someone commented on an earlier post that she thought it was horrfying (or maybe "repulsive," or something like that), I think girls need to learn how to walk in high heels. Knowing how to do it doesn't mean you have to do it every day, or even every year. But you can't tell me that you're going to wear completely flat shoes to get sworn in as Secretary of State, and you don't want to break your ankle walking across the stage.
I think girls have to learn how to say no. Men generally don't have as many problems with this as women do, but it's important to protect your own boundaries in all areas of life, so you need to be able to say no effectively, without guilt, and without alienating coworkers.