Sunday, June 17, 2012

What the hell? Boys get survival tips and girls get girly tips?

I'm reading a book called Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein--stay tuned at Marie's Book Garden for the book review--and more aware than ever of the extreme gender boundaries found in books, toys, and popular culture. As a feminist mom of three sons, I imagine I'd be even more angry if I had daughters.

Here's this week's example of sexism and stereotypes gone crazy. Scholastic Books, the publishing house that brought us kick-ass Hermione Granger, has published a series of "survival" books for kids.

Girls learn such essential skills as how to survive a BFF fight, how to show you're sorry, how to have the best sleepover ever, how to take the perfect school photo, how to survive a camping trip, how to survive a fashion disaster, how to spot a frenemy, and how to teach your cat to sit.

In the meantime, boys are trained to survive shark or polar bear attacks, frostbite, plane crashes, desert life, flash floods, broken legs, earthquakes, forest fires, zombie invasions, parachute fails, avalanches, swarms of bees, sinking ships, and snakebites.

Apparently, Scholastic has received a number of complaints about these titles and does not plan to print any more copies. But just how much more sexist can you get? Fascinating that the girl cover shows an adventurous girl on a zip line, but the inside contains tips about surviving fashion and friendship. You can't judge this book by its cover. It needs a warning on the cover: ALERT! CONTAINS SEXIST, INSULTING STEREOTYPES DESIGNED TO KEEP GIRLS FROM SUCCEEDING IN LIFE OR EMERGENCY SURVIVAL SITUATIONS.

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