Because Tonka knows all.

While gendering toys is no new thing, Tonka takes it to the next level.

Wowzers.
Hat tip to reader Monica.

Join the Conversation

  • Halfmad

    Of course that being said, maybe we could come up with other marketing angles for Hasbro:
    Black people — what can you say? They’re just built different!
    Catholics — what can you say? They’re just built different!

  • SarahMC

    My brain just short-circuited.
    Angie and Veronica: If gender specific toys are necessary in order for children to bond with parents of the same sex, how would a mom and son be able to play w/ Tonka together? Or is the mom just telling dad what she needs money for, so she can go to the toy store to pick up a fun gender-specific toy for him to play with his son?
    Can’t dads bond with their daughters over dollies, coloring books, linkin logs, or, heaven forbid: Tonka trucks? Same goes for moms & sons, obvi.

  • EG

    Shorter Tonka:
    We market toy trucks to boys, and amazingly, we then find that boys are more likely to play with our trucks, so we use that as an excuse to make our advertising even more sexist. We acknowledge that there may be some girls out there who like to play with trucks, but we don’t really give a crap about them, because we’ll be getting their money anyway. After all, what’re they going to do? It’s not like there’s a feminist toy-truck-maker out there.
    And for anybody who thinks this doesn’t matter, I know a little girl who, at the age of 3 and a half, developed a really interest in trucks and trains which her mother tried to encourage. She bought her a box of toy trucks with decals and little people. The child took one look at the box and looked up at her mother and said “Why are there only boys in my trucks? I don’t want trucks with boys in them. I want trucks with girls.”
    It matters.

  • The Slant

    Thanks for posting that, halfmad! This is my favorite part:
    “The gender specific toys help to build confidence and create wonderful bonding experiences amongst both parents of same sex children and amongst the children who they relate with most.”
    Hahaha!! Because we all know gender-neutral toys do NOT build confidence or create bonding experiences. *headdesk*

  • lilianna28

    SarahMC,
    re: homeschooling
    What you are suggesting is of course a wonderful concept- teaching children outside of the structure of school. It is very difficult to homeschool, and those who choose it have a lot harder of a job, IMO.
    That said, my personal opinion on the matter is that school prepares kids for the kind of structures they encounter as they grow up and enter the workforce. It enables children to interact on entirely different levels- you aren’t just maneuvering through relationships with people mom and dad chose / you’ve met and formed friendships with, you’re interacting with multiple authority figures, kids nothing like you, etc. Any supplemental education outside of that 8-3 setting is a bonus, but I think schools are worthwhile for our children to attend and that they provide necessary learning structures, again in my personal opinion. I guess all I’m saying is I don’t think it’s an all or nothing kind of thing- you can attend school and learn to think outside the box.
    Then again, talk to me after my head explodes when my daughter has been through her first Thanksgiving Production a few years from now and the message of “Pilgrims helped the Indians!” comes across- I might have something different to say. Reteaching my daughter history is going to be a priority. :)

  • rileystclair

    [/i]believe ALL CHILDREN of any gender/gender expression should be actively encouraged to be fearless risk-takers. To me, there’s nothing sadder than a boy OR girl afraid of his or her own shadow, afraid of catching a ball, afraid of every passing animal, afraid of living and getting dirty and working hard and getting sweaty and messy. Fearlessness has been co-opted as a masculine gendered trait, and if I as a parent have to pick my battles (which, believe me, you do), then that’s the first and foremost one to fight, IMHO. So if the boy wants a sword and the girl wants a doll, or vice versa, whatever. I roll with it. But to me, the battle that’s paramount is raising kids who aren’t afraid of interacting fully with their world.[/i]
    i’m totally with you on the co-opting of fearlessness as male and that kids should be encouraged to experience the world. however, a very significant caveat to that is that seriously some people just are not into getting dirty or playing sports. i happen to be one of them. it’s not because i have a vagina, although that usually gets more sympathy for my not being into it than i would probably get if i had been male. i certainly didn’t fail to interact with the world or have all kinds of wonderful imaginative adventures as a child, and yeah, occasionally i had to suck it up and get dirty, but it was always a downside for me. essentially, i live in my head and i always have. the most fun i ever had playing with dolls and stuffed animals and action figures was because i could make up my own stories. so yeah, basically i just wanted to mention that kids can be all kinds of creative and adventurous without being much into rolling around in the dirt or playing sports.

  • somethingrather

    on the whole raising kids issue – while it’s fine to let them “play with what they want to play with,” those decisions in their little minds are informed by stupid commercials like this and what other kids are doing (which is 95% gender normative). i don’t think you need to force timmy to wear mommy’s heels and pearls, but wouldn’t it be helpful to occasionally throw in something they might not otherwise be exposed to? teach jill how to kick a soccer ball and see if she likes it? if timmy likes to help mom in the kitchen, get him an easy bake oven? it doesn’t have to be so either/or — totally hands off or totally cram other gender activities down the kid’s throat.

  • pram in the hall

    Here’s the email I sent to the Tonka people:
    I would like to know how boys are “built different” in such a way that use of a Tonka truck would apply to them in particular. Is there something special about the shape sorter for which the child needs a penis? This seems highly inappropriate.
    Sincerely, —
    Thanks for the link to customer service.

  • Misspelled

    I have to say, I love it when one gender or the other is referred to as “just different” — not “just different” from the opposite sex, but “just different.” “Just built differently,” or “just wired differently,” or “just born different.” It takes a serious spirit of alienation and exclusion to make either boys/men or girls/women sound like a collective freak of nature even in the face of the fact that they’re HALF THE GODDAMN POPULATION.
    Seriously, when you can start with a perfectly balanced dichotomy and make one half the standard and the other the endearing/exasperating/unteachable deviant mob from that standard, you’ve encapsulated the bullshit behind gender roles so perfectly that I can only shake my head. Or retire silently to my bedchamber. Or something.

  • Roxie

    I can’t believe no one suggested the name Pat!

  • fatsweatybetty

    Ha! It’s Pat! That’s before my time, so I’m not even sure why I get the reference.

  • Ksms

    To: Angie Salem
    Director of Marketing
    &
    Veronica Donofrio
    Consumer Affairs
    Hasbro, Inc.
    Of course, it’s been scientifically proven that males are biochemically more suited to the rough-and-tumble world of business than females. They’re more aggressive, smarter, less emotional, and their strong hunter-brain make them adept at hurling plastic toys and dominating in corporate culture.
    Because men and women are “just different”, you’d both be better suited to a more caring, nurturing role in society.
    I suggest you resign from your jobs immediately and go back in the kitchen where you belong. Since you have a natural desire to gravitate towards toy mops and Easy-Bake ovens, you should feel much more comfortable there.
    Thanks,
    – Concerned Consumer

  • BWrites

    Gah. This thread is making me so fucking ANGRY. Thanks for that rebuttal to Tonka, Ksms. I’ll be curious to see the response.
    I’m dubious if Basriona actually works with kids– maybe her definition of cruel is far, far different from mine, at any rate. The girls are just as cruel as the boys by the time cruelty comes out– boys are more likely to be physically violent, yes, but social nastiness can hurt just as much (trust me, I remember; I have worked with kids, watched them, and been a kid myself!).
    The dichotomy I can’t get is this: is it really so impossible to encourage gentleness and love in boys without turning them into ‘sissies’ who are reviled by their peers? I call bullshit. I’ve seen plenty of boys who are kind and gentle to younger children or siblings, who engage in imaginative play, and who are creative without being stigmatized by their peers. They don’t have to wear skirts and nail polish to defy the stereotypes and be their own person– though I think it’s awesome when they do that too.
    I don’t like “pure” gender neutral names much myself– I think I’d go with Alexander/Alexandra with a nickname of “Alex”, or something similar, if I chose gender neutral. Casey’s a good name, though, strong, without many stereotypes attached to it, and not as gentrified as Taylor or Jordan.

  • Gopher

    Is it just me, or does Basiorana sound absolutely pathological about enforcing proper ‘boy’ behavior? I hope shes infertile! I wouldnt want to see her raising a girl, or a boy!
    Also, I remember wanting to join a tree climb with some boys at a cookout my family was part of. They were playing with pocket knives, and enjoying themselves in the trees. I asked them if I could join, or see the pocketknife, and I remember them saying,”no, these are boys things, girls dont do that.”
    Pissed me off. Probably had a parent like you.
    pram in the hall,
    thats a good example of kids who are extensions of progress in society, rather than the weak perpetuation of oppression most of society demonstrate. You have very enlightened kids. Your story also brings up the reality, that if we didnt have kids (and adults) like yours then how would we erase this restrictive gender dichotomy? Sometimes you have to survive being called a wuss/tomboy, so that you maintain your identity to be an example for others in the future. I.e.-Yesterday we made fun of girls who played sports, today we encourage it.
    All basioranas doing is breaking her potential son down to conform to serve the idiocy, rather than break it. Indocrinating him into a system of privilege and discrimination. Why is she even on this website?

  • EG

    I hope shes infertile!
    That’s just…mean. Really, really mean.
    I don’t agree with Basiorana on this issue; I think that she’s just reinforcing the hierarchy that makes it OK for girls to do boy things, because masculinity is somehow more worthy than femininity, but that boys shouldn’t do girl things because that’s a step down. But wishing infertility on someone because they have different child-raising beliefs than you do? It’s nasty.

  • Gopher

    OMG I just saw a commercial where a doll pisses on itself! The girl looked like she was grossed out! If a girl is indoctrinated to like this crap, then why wouldnt she be into creepy crawlies, and bugs? You know, those stereotypically ‘boys things!’ To channel her interest in the world around her torwards ‘playing mommy, and nuturing is a serious misuse of her mind. The girl in the commercial looked like she was grossed out. I got a quick laugh! Who makes this shit? Why not the “Quiverfull Kit,” or “Polygamous Starter Kit?” Or the “Prayer for Contraceptive Game?”

  • Gopher

    Also, basiorana,
    I have witnessed many men who are troubled because they were taught or are expected to not show emotion. One man I talked with complained that he was made fun of for crying when he broke up with his girlfriend. She said he should not cry, and should ‘be a man.’ We were talking about feminism and he said he was against feminism because it did not address these kinds of issues. I told him that it does, because feminists are against stifling healthy ndividual expression based on gender stereotypes and roles. He later changed his mind.
    EG,
    no its not harsh because I’m expressing genuine concern for child welfare. When a parent believes it is her duty to suppress a boys emotions to conform to privileged gender roles then what she is doing is abuse. She is also adamently upholding sexism. She shouldnt even be on this website. Yes, I do wish her infetility. Perhaps you are overly empathetic to that remark because you really, really want kids, and would not want that on yourself?
    Does anyone else find it twisted that a parent would want their 4 year old playing ‘mother?’ A pregnant 4 year old!

  • EG

    I consider it to be mean because it’s a personal attack, Gopher, and because you have no way of knowing whether or not Basiorana has grappled with this particular issue. I’d consider it to be equally nasty if somebody said to one of the people on this board who don’t want kids that they hoped they got knocked up and were unable to get an abortion. Wishing ill on somebody else is mean-spirited, especially because all Basiorana is saying that she would do is to socialize her kid according to prevailing gender norms. I agree with you that that isn’t, in my opinion, what’s emotionally best for children, but I don’t think it qualifies as abusive, either.
    Eh, the four-year-olds I know often play “mother.” A lot of child-play is based on imitating the actions and roles of the adults around them, so “mother” is a pretty common game–it also allows the kids to invert the usual power dynamic of her life by taking on the mantle of the more powerful figure (I used to go over to my dolls and animals and, hell, inanimate objects and recite my mother’s dictums to them–“Bear, when you are a big girl, you can have hot tea! But not now! Not hot tea for you!”).

  • Gopher

    What do you mean, “all shes trying to do is raise her boy to conform to social norms?”
    Like thats not hugely misogynistic! Thats literally enforcing sexism in society, and teaching a child to enforce and expect it as well.
    Lastly, I said she should be infertile as she would make an abusive mother. This kind of abuse is not often identified in society because its so common. However, just because its so common doesnt make it acceptable. We hardly need ‘breeders’ out there simply creating another walking, talking human life only to spew forth and expect to inherit gender privileged ‘swag’ soleley because they have a penis, right?

  • alyak66

    I agree with Rock Star’s comment (at the top) about little girls learning to walk by pushing toy strollers. I’d also like to add the child-sized vaccuum cleaners to the list. Early training for girl’s to become a house wife and mother. *sigh*
    On another note, I was actually expecting the commercial to end with a view of the “boy’s” Tonka truck beside one decked out in pink for little girls.

  • zellie

    If someone had given this toy to one of my brothers or nieghboors back in the late 80s and early 90s, I would have played with it, just I played with the Fisher Price woodworking shop, tonka toy trucks and plastic rats and snakes. Also just as my brothers played with the Fisher Price Kitchen, Easy Bake oven and my variety of dolls.

  • AlaraJRogers

    My 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter got into a fight yesterday because they both wanted to play with the same baby doll. I offered them both a similar baby doll, different baby dolls, Spiderman, and a ball. No go. Both wanted the baby doll. Since it was my son who’d been the impetus behind getting the doll dressed (it was naked and we couldn’t find its clothes, so I made it an outfit out of a sock), and since he was doing things like changing its diaper, I let him have it.
    When he was changing the diaper, he said, “I’m the mommy. I’m changing the baby’s diaper.” I said to him, “No, you’re the daddy, because you’re a boy. Daddies change diapers too.” I was torn, because on the one hand if he wants to play that he’s a girl I don’t care — go ahead. But I also want him to understand that despite his own father hardly ever changing his diaper, changing diapers *is* a job daddies do, and if you’re male, you’re a daddy, but you can still relate to your baby the same way mommy does.
    He likes Spiderman, Legos, Star Wars, sandboxes, and playing ball. He loved going to a friend’s birthday party at a firehouse and getting to climb on the fire truck. And he likes baby dolls. And I, at least, am never going to tell him or let anyone in my hearing tell him he shouldn’t. And my 1 year old likes baby dolls, and carrying around a purse, and wearing pretty dresses, and she also likes to run after a ball and climb on the furniture and play with Duplos. And no one will be allowed to tell her she can’t do these things.
    Socialization gets them as they age. My older son liked baby dolls until he was about 5 or 6. he has been known to occasionally play Bratz with his sister (they have male Bratz dolls, and he uses them), but he hasn’t done that in a few years. Even now, though, he complains to me that there should be more girls in Lego sets, and he likes female characters that kick ass, such as Starbuck in new BSG. You can’t entirely fight socialization, but by presenting the positive role models and encouraging the non-gender-specific play when they’re little, I think it helps them to remember that girls are people too as they get older.

  • http://subtilitas.blogspot.com/ Basiorana

    Wow, people really hate me on this comment thread now.
    I believe the ability to pick and chose to whom you reveal your emotions is a powerful skill. I’m not saying that I would want my kids to never cry, just that I want them to be able to hold it until they are no longer in a potentially hazardous situation. And I don’t have problems with some level of gender roles as long as you teach the children respect.
    If you think that’s “abusive” enough to warrant wanting me to lose my reproductive abilities, so be it. Perhaps you should focus your infertility-wishing abilities on someone who deserves it more, but oh well. You are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to disagree with it. I presume you also want all religious women to be infertile, and pretty much every woman in the third world, and pretty much everybody but the most devoted feminists. It’s for “child welfare,” you know?
    But as for saying I don’t belong on this board– I support feminism because I believe women need to have the ability to control their reproductive freedom, because I think there are women all around the world who are TRULY oppressed, and because feminism has done great good in the world; it greatly increases the workforce without increasing the population, it encourages education, and it leads to more women in government, which tends to lead to more stable, less corrupt systems.
    I hope that you can understand that someone can appreciate and support parts of a movement without agreeing unequivocally with every aspect of it.

  • Constantine Palaiologos

    All right. I am Basiorana’s boyfriend, and I was raised by a radical feminist mother. I would like to personally say that being raised without gender roles, without a masculine sexual identity, and without the ability to hide my emotions has caused serious problems throughout my life (I am 23 now), and continues to do so. I am under the care of a therapist, and have spent most of my life in social isolation and abject misery because I am unable to function in ordinary social groups. Thanks to people like Basiorana, I have become much more socially apt, and on a personal note, I think wishing infertility on someone is a disgusting thing to do to anyone, regardless of whether you agree with their views or not. No parent is perfect, nor should anyone be held to unrealistic idealistic standards, which as I feel I am living proof of – don’t work anywhere near as well in practice as in theory.

  • darwin66

    Yet another thread on feministing showing feminism’s dogmatic side. Anyone who dares challenge the core beliefs of gender theory (which I find both impossible and lugubrious) gets ripped into with personal invectiveness. Basiorana’s points were hardly radical.

  • Ninapendamaishi

    every single post darwin66 makes in short:
    I’m smarter than all of you, so while posting a shorter and less analytically in-depth comment than most of the posters, I just wanted you to know that ___ part of feminism is stupid.

  • Ninapendamaishi

    I don’t exactly think Basiorana’s posts were getting completely ripped. I think there was definitely some discussion going on. And no, in this culture Basiorana’s comments are not radical. Neither is the belief that children should be given abstinent-only education.

  • fatsweatybetty

    Constantine & Basoriana (or am I really just addressing the same person twice?) –
    Bull. Shit. One example of the lack of gender roles supposedly crippling a man outweighs the reality of prevalent traditionally crippling both women and men?
    Also, I would bet that your emotional and social problems are a lot more complex that what can simply be blamed on your mother. Imagine if society allowed you to show or not show your emotions as much as you want and allowed you to be who you are rather than forcing you to conform to the ideal role of a Real Man.

  • SarahMC

    If “masculinity” is so important to the growth, development and happiness of men, why do they have to be trained in it? Why do girls/women have to be trained in “femininity”?
    They are social constructs. The only reason a non-masculine man would have a miserable life is because the rest of society, trained in rigid gender norms, can’t handle it and treats him poorly. The solution is not to perpetuate the masculine/feminine construct but to abolish it.

  • http://subtilitas.blogspot.com/ Basiorana

    First of all, not everyone creates multiple accounts to prove their points. Constantine wanted to comment, is all (Also, I knew at least one person would accuse me of that!).
    And there are two ways to successfully abolish things. One is to pass laws, like the abolition of slavery. That’s not likely to happen here. The other is to do it in increments. With each generation, you move closer to your goals. This is actually happening with gender roles. But it will not happen overnight, and raising a child to be so far ahead of society that they are ostracized from it is harmful to the child without actually helping society. One child will not change the world, especially if he struggles to function in it.
    My posts are not radical because I am not radical, though I actually am very socially liberal. I think changing society takes time, many generations and many increments, and forcing people to change causes more trouble than it prevents. It causes people to backlash against the movements they should be supporting.
    You use words like “imagine” because you know that’s not what the world is like RIGHT NOW. So were I to be raising kids RIGHT NOW, I wouldn’t raise them to be happy, good, and successful in some distant future, but rather to be so RIGHT NOW.

  • Constantine Palaiologos

    To FSB in regards to my post – It may be that how I am is “right,” but so long as society says otherwise, I’m the one who will be at a disadvantage. I would like to seriously ask you if this world that you picture is realistic. A world where someone like me is normal may be great, but it stands almost zero chance of happening. Let’s be realistic. Humans BEINGS throughout their history have had gender roles, and they are in fact biologically hardwired into our brains (for evidence see non-human primates, particularly the culture of chimpanzees, bonobos, and our homonid ancestors). You’re asking humanity to make a fundamental shift that society never will make.
    To Gopher, I’ve been reading your prior posts. I’d never be one to Godwin an internet argument, but you should seriously think about the company you keep.

  • http://subtilitas.blogspot.com/ Basiorana

    Eh, I’m pretty sure we can overcome any hard-wiring we might or might not have. It’s just a bad idea to try to do it in a generation.

  • fatsweatybetty

    Of course that is not what the world is like right now. And it never will be a reality if people keep raising their kids with the current status quo. You could very easily raise your kids to be “happy, good, and successful” right now, but how would that get us any closer to a future where people are able to step outside rigid gender roles. Keeping with the current gender norms does not move us toward freedom from gender oppression.
    Yeah, I could raise my son to be a macho prick and raise my daughter to be a lifeless trophy wife. They might be happy and their childhoods may be easy, but at what cost? If we don’t actively make changes now, future generations will say the same thing, “Gosh, I wish I could raise my kids outside of these suffocating gender norms, but it is so gosh darned tough.” And so of course they would also stick to the current gender roles because it is arguable easier. What progress!

  • http://subtilitas.blogspot.com/ Basiorana

    Ah, but it’s not keeping the status quo– it’s just enabling them to live within it. A boy can grow up wanting to be a stay-at-home dad and still not bring in his dolls to show-and-tell, and while he’s more progressive than his father’s generation he’s still going to be accepted by his own. And then his son can move another step forward, because society will be slowly moving that way.
    It’s all about baby steps.

  • fatsweatybetty

    “Hard wiring” is used to excuse a lot of bullshit. Whether there is or is not any sort of “hard wiring” for social gender roles, or to what extent, really doesn’t matter. It does not excuse oppressive gender norms that do not allow people to be individuals.
    I do not think that this sort of change can be made in a generation. But things will never change if no one at least tries, regardless of what is easy. Like that saying that gets posted up in the hallways of elementary schools: What is right is not always easy and what is easy is not always right. Super-cheesy, but applicable I think. The point is, when do we start trying to change gender roles? Because if we wait until it is easy on parents, kids, and the rest of society, we will be waiting forever.

  • http://subtilitas.blogspot.com/ Basiorana

    My original argument was to not force one’s children to grow up completely without gender roles, but rather to allow those which are necessary in the modern day. And with each generation, there is more acceptance. We should try– but each generation should draw a new line and not put our ideals over the needs of our children.

  • darwin66

    I’m smarter than Ninapendamaishi, so while posting a shorter and less analytically in-depth comment than most of the posters, I just wanted you to know that Ninapendamaishi part of feminism is stupid.

  • Ninapendamaishi

    Seriously darwin, what are you, 5?
    I have engaged in a lot more in-depth discussion and analysis than I have seen you do in these threads. So irregardless of whether you have in-depth, reasoned out positions on things, you sure don’t display them to the rest of us.
    Are you one of those professors who lord it over students who disagree with you? (just out of curiosity.) Because honestly, if you hadn’t made such a big deal previously about being a professor, I wouldn’t pay as much attention to the general insulting tone and lack of depth present in the bulk of your comments.

  • SarahMC

    I’m pretty sure we can overcome any hard-wiring we might or might not have.
    If gender roles were hard-wired, parents, society and the media wouldn’t have to drill them into children’s head.

  • darwin66

    irregardless?

  • Ninapendamaishi

    irregardless to add emphasis, or regardless. Whichever you prefer.
    Wanna compare verbal SAT scores? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) Except.. let’s not. I already feel like I’m stuping, and I suddenly feel slightly embarassed.

  • EG

    OK, wait. Darwin is insulting other posters’ intelligence? Classy. Nothing is more impressive, argument-wise, than random insults.

  • Ninapendamaishi

    Well something that sort of amazes me, personally, is the way that some people feel free to act when they’re anonymous, online.
    Like for instance, I feel like overall, the things I’ve written are not things I would feel like I needed to hide from family or friends (I mean yeah, I’m a little outspoken, but that’s true in real-life also). On the other hand, I really question how darwin would feel about her students and colleagues reading her comments on this website and knowing they were attributable to her.
    I can say that personally, when I was younger I went through a short phase of arguing with people a lot online and being what I know think was unnecessarily nasty or arrogant sometimes. But at the time I was dealing with some serious anxiety/insecurity issues. So I just wonder what some of these posters on here would be like to deal with in real-life.

  • EG

    That is both the lure and danger of anonymity, right?
    Obviously, I use it. And that probably leads me to be more aggressive than I might otherwise be–but the political positions I take are mine, and I wouldn’t be ashamed to own them. I decided to use a pseudonym for this board because I knew I’d be discussing issues I feel strongly about and I was concerned that if by chance a student of mine wandered onto the board and read such strong opinions, he or she might feel uncomfortable expressing a different opinion in class, and that would feel to me like an abuse of my power as a teacher.
    In my experience, people who bully and insult other people on-line are usually doing it on-line because they don’t have the courage to stand up to other people in real life. The good version of this is when a person in trouble who is still frightened about reaching out for help in person (i.e. someone who feels like the only feminist in their school, someone who has been raped and doesn’t feel like she can tell anybody), the anonymity of the internet can help them take those first steps. I like to think the good outweighs the bad…
    (I think I’ve put far too much thought into this!)

  • Ninapendamaishi

    Oh I use a pseudonym too, b/c I don’t want every random person to be able to google me and know all about strongly held opinions on controversial things, sure.
    But I just mean that in the way I’ve presented myself, I overall am not ashamed, and overall it is not that different from the way I would engage in an intense intellectual debate with classmates in the dining hall, or something. And certainly I doubt close friends would be surprised if they read my stuff.
    Ahh -when politically and academically-oriented types collide online. We are so nerdy haha.