I’ve been thinking a lot over these past few months about gender and books. When the SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF OUR BOY CHILDREN cry began about two years ago for a second I was thought, oh my gosh, I don’t read anything where the MC has a penis! The immediately I realized, wait, why can’t the people with penises read about people with vaginas? It works the other way around and no one cares.
At what point did reading become something we can call masculine or feminine? Then I wondered how many men read Jane Austen… not that many. “She is too fond of books and it has addled her brain.” Men had to read about war, and history, and Greek myth. Novels were for people with lady parts who observed the holy rite of tea time and wore kid gloves.
I went into Toys R Us this holiday season with my daughter so that she could get her friend a toy for her birthday. The first thing I noticed were the stark sides to the store. Pink on one side and clearly labeled as GIRL and the other side a polar opposite in blue and labeled BOY. The problem came when my daughter realized the Spiderman Web Shooter her girlfriend wanted was a boy toy, she wanted to buy her a nice doll instead. So I wondered, how did my daughter come to think like that? School, where your child will learn every societal thing you never wanted them to learn. YAY HIGHER EDUCATION. We bought the web shooter, and on the way out we stopped by the GIRL side with my toddler son who loves Tinkerbell and got him a little something as well.
My plea is near to yours. Just take the BOY out. SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN! Take them out of this girl vs boy mentality. Let boys read about girls like Katniss having amazing adventures and being strong without telling him he is feminine. Start earlier! If your little boy wants to read Pinkalicious, then let him. I certainly do and my toddler son (who also likes to have his nails painted the color of his favorite cars) is perfectly well adjusted.
Boy books are boy books because we say they are. Girl books are girl books because we say they are and for some reason being a girl book is LESS THAN.
Dear Parents, just STFU and let your kids read.