I know better than to get in fights on the internet. Really, I do. For some reason though, I can't stop thinking about this. And the more I think about it, the madder I seem to get.
Over at Tertia's
blog, there is a discussion about a book called The Dangerous Book for Boys.
The main theme of the fight is that it is for BOYS, and not for "boys and girls" or "for children". The girls are left out. We are teaching our girls that they can't do cool stuff. Holding up the stereotype that boys get to do the cool things while girls should sew, cook, and be matronly.
To this I say "Wah! Cry me a freaking river." And also "Bullshit."
My responses:#1: Spot on Tertia, spot on. I will be getting the book for my husband for father's day. (it's the quickest approaching gift-giving occasion, as Jake's (my son) birthday is not until September.
I did "boy" stuff as a kid. played war, climbed trees, played in dirt/mud I was the best tackle football player on the street. I completely befuddled my mother, who was a girly girl and longed for someone to play barbie and paper dolls with. My daughter loves shoes (at 18 months) - maybe she can play with my mom. Although, she plays with the bat/ball more than her baby doll.
Just because something is targeted/written to one gender does not mean that it automatically excludes the other. Jeebis. All the activities defined as "boy" - even though they weren't in a book didn't keep me from doing them. Just like the activities defined as "girl" didn't really interest me. We as parents should do the role-stretching exercises, if they are needed.
This is all so very very tired.
#2: Don't the little girls in question have PARENTS? Aren't the parents the ones with the responsibility to encourage their children to be whatever they want to be? My parents certainly did. I'm 37 years old. Back when I was very young, most moms I knew were stay at homes, or teachers, or secretaries. Even with no female executive role models, today, I am a senior manager at a Fortune 500 company. I have 2 college degrees, and 2 professional certifications. I married when I was 30. I bought my own house 2 years before that. Oh, and I did all this in the very good-ole-boy Deep South. I thought we women had come a long way. However, I'm starting to doubt it if we have to not allow any book about anything be written for boys at any time.
There is nothing wrong with the title "Dangerous book for kids". Or Dangerous book for girls. Or dangerous book for boys. It's called: Free Speech. Every potential reader has the freedom to buy or not to buy the book. The freedom of choice to raise their kids how they see fit, including teaching them that they can be/do whatever they want to. There is no need to force conformity upon everyone. There are enough book titles to go around. Besides, the authors are MEN - and they were writing from their own experiences.
Exerpt from CNN.com - Girls are explicitly -- and, some argue, unnecessarily -- excluded by the book's title.
Iggulden is unconcerned.
"It's not exactly that we are excluding girls, but we wanted to celebrate boys, because nobody has been doing it for a long while," he said.
"I think we've come through the period when we said boys and girls were exactly the same, because they're not. Boys and girls have different interests, different ways of learning, and there's no real problem in writing a book that plays to that, and says, let's celebrate it. Let's go for a book that will appeal to boys."
(full article HERE)
AMEN. It cracks me up that people will scream so loudly for rights and freedoms, while at the same time trying to stifle the rights and freedoms of others. The author made a choice with the title. If it offends you, don't buy the book. Period. End of story. It's a book, not a calculated sinister plot against women.
Anybody remember "Are you there God, it's me Margaret" by Judy Blume - well that's a book targeted to girls. And also a book I will make darn sure my son reads too, when the time is right. Parental influence is far stronger than any book title.
#3: My specific reference to the Judy Blume book - was that when I was in school, the girls were required to read it, and the boys were NOT ALLOWED to. I'm not even sure what they read while we were doing the Margaret book.
My point goes back to the fact that it is UP TO US AS PARENTS to teach our kids that we want them to think independently. I want my son to know about "girl issues". We have him in a dance class, computer classes, and t-ball. We will encourage him to do the things that interest HIM, just as I will allow/and encourage my daughter to play sports, and dig in the dirt, and lift weights, take dancing and piano, along with whatever other pursuits she is interested in. In fact, I am in big trouble if she turns out to be a girly girl, because I am so not one.
I'm not so much angry about the issue of people wanting equality for girls. I'm a girl. I parent a girl. I can do anything I want to, if I work hard enough. So can she. I just think it is MY job to teach her, not to rely on book titles, or the media, or "the culture". Because, frankly, I'm not impressed with "the culture" of everyone getting offended by everything. I'm not impressed that TV shows so many teenagers having sex. I'm not impressed by the culture promoted by hollywood. Again, it's MY JOB to help BOTH of my children sort through all the garbage, and somehow grow into warm, caring, successful human beings. We have to teach them how not to bend to peer pressure. How to buck the system when it is unjust. How to be strong enough to fight for what you believe in. Teach them inner strength and fortitude.
Complaining about book titles and assuming that any title has power over your child just seems weak to me. It's buying into whatever stereotypes are out there. Like there is no acceptance of responsibility for our own actions or beliefs. I don't expect anyone else to do it for me.
For everyone who wants the author to change the title of the book, why can't YOU do the communication to your own child? If your daughter says that little Tommy told her that she couldn't build a model plane because it's "for boys", then why can't you say - yes, little boys like to build planes. But let me tell you a story about a LADY who flew all the way.....Amelia Earhart... Would YOU like to build a plane? I'll help you.
To me, THAT is the lesson that will be far more valuable to the child.
Good gravy! Have women become so weak that we now base what we can and can't do on the TITLE OF A CHILD'S BOOK? I think all the women who marched for suffrage rights would be rolling over in their graves to know this kind of "debate" is going on. Maybe we are just too damn lazy to actually teach our children anything.
I need to stop now. I may just burst!