Anyone who thinks that the women of North America were subjugated by some kind of patriarchy back between 50 and 100 years ago, need only look at the traffic on rural roads in the morning, to know better. (If you want further confirmation, look at the sinking of the Titanic.)
Those school buses have been running mornings and afternoons for as long as i can remember—and i’ll soon be 70. They are a symbol of women dominating men and boys [and perhaps girls as well, though girls seem more able to wheedle adult women than we are]. A few paragraphs worth of reflection should clarify this for those of you who haven’t yet said Aha! Egad! Eureka!, etc.—or known it for years already.
Finland is not a patriarchal state, but men seem to have more freedom of expression there. Finland also values social efficiency—as they have had to do, especially during the years when the USSR imposed “reparations” [which more accurately were the spoils of victory] at the end of World War II. When i was in Finland in the 1980s, i saw rural buses instead of school buses. Schoolchildren received passes to ride them as part of their free public schooling; but they were not limited to children. Because the children provided a large “ridership”, the buses were economically viable.
Because there were rural buses, rural people did not need to own cars—which made rural living much less expensive than in North America. It’s a very good example of social efficiency as distinct from technological efficiency.
Finnish rural buses did not have big bright flashing lights fore and aft. They did not have STOP signs that stick out from the driver’s side. They did not stop all traffic, they acted like non-school buses act in North America. When the schoolchildren got on and off the buses, they needed to know how to deal with the traffic. Of course, rural children need to know how to deal with the traffic on the roads next their homes anyway.
So why do Canadian and US school buses have big bright flashing lights fore and aft, and STOP signs that stick out from the driver’s side? I don’t remember the children who rode on them, including four of my sons, being all that grateful for the fuss; and i don’t remember them being all that frightened of the traffic. (We did not live along major highways, but there were some fast drivers—they just didn’t come by every minute.) It was obvious enough to me and my sons, that the School Buses were babying the children.
So who babies children—Mommies or Daddies?
There may be a few Daddies who baby their children, but for every such Daddy there are several to very many, babying Mommies… especially if the children are boys. The School Buses with big bright flashing lights fore and aft and STOP signs that stick out from the driver’s side, are the spoils of political victory for babying Mommies, well over half a century ago, not anything remotely patriarchal. Let’s give credit to the Mommies who lobbied for them… and paint the school buses pink.
Pink school buses will be truth in packaging: School biases against boys are more important than the babying bus lights and STOP signs, and a larger reason to paint school buses (and school doors) pink. I plan to make those biases, and some thoughts about giving boys schooling better suited to male biology, the topic of one or two separate postings.