More sexism from books your kids are reading

After I shared my post From Diagon Alley to Panem, girls ‘choose’ pink on Reel Girl’s Facebook page, Kari commented:

A sentence in my daughter’s book for 8-12 year olds (“Creep Over: Read it and Weep” by P.J. Night):

“Her mom was really smart, just not at math–even third grade math.”

ARGH!

 

One of these quotes would not be a problem, but there’s a pattern of it in kids’ media. It’s what Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals calls the “drip, drip, drip.” No one even notices the repetition of sexism, it’s become so normal. And by the way, this sentence could describe me. I’ve posted about how much I hate helping my daughters with math. I hated math. They can tell. They read or write, I’m totally into it. They do math, my husband helps them. Thus, I pass the gender stereotype on to a new generation. There are a multitude of reasons why girls are supposed to be good at art and words, not math and sciences, many of which I’ve blogged about. But it’s not “natural” for all girls anymore than it is for girls to wear pink.

So, I’d like to ask you, as you’re reading books with your kids, please post sexist, stereotyped quotes in this comments section or on Reel Girl’s Facebook page. I’m really curious about them. I can think of one that has always bugged me from Ramona about how she has boring brown hair and brown eyes. I can’t stand reading that to my brown-eyed, brown haired daughter. Again, if this were one book, but when so many book have blonde, blue-eyed heroines, when we just saw this dichotomy again in “Smurfs 2.” Enough already.

9 thoughts on “More sexism from books your kids are reading

  1. My all time favorite, from _The Lon the Witch and the Wardrobe_: Father Christmas gives Lucy and Susan weapons, but tells them they are for self-defense only, not battle, for “battles are ugly when women fight”. Because, they’re just so lovely and cheery when MEN fight?!

  2. Bit off topic, but how about this egregious example of tech sexism I saw in my local paper today. In an article on marketing tablet computers for children:

    LeapFrog and VTech are using their status as trusted education brands to win over parents after years of making content and other electronic devices focused on learning. Another advantage is that Wal-Mart and other retailers typically put LeapPads in the toy aisle, which walls them off from adult tablets in the electronics department.

    “We don’t want to be in the electronics aisle because mom doesn’t shop there,” VTech’s To said. “Teenagers walk that aisle. Maybe dad walks that aisle. Our target audience is really mom. She is the decision maker.” http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-77190211/

  3. I was reading “The Day The Crayons Quit” to my daughter, and when we got to the pink page, it said “It’s because you think I am a GIRLS’ color, isn’t it.” Then it moved right on, no refuting the statement, no laughing at how silly it is to have “boy” and “girl” colours. I guess I’m supposed to be happy because none of the other colours were called “boy” colours, but seriously? There’s no need to reinforce that colours are gendered at all. WTF?

    • UGH, awful. And yes, that’s just what I mean, its supposed to be progressive, but just within such a limited framework. Thanks for sharing

  4. “And by the way, this sentence could describe me. I’ve posted about how much I hate helping my daughters with math. I hated math. They can tell. They read or write, I’m totally into it. They do math, my husband helps them. Thus, I pass the gender stereotype on to a new generation.”

    Just a suggestion, but you could always try and learn the concepts that they’re being taught so you can help them. Your daughters are still pretty young. It’s not like they’re learning advanced calculus.

    • Hi Cat,

      I totally could try. but I don’t want to enough. My time is so limited and there are so many things I am trying to do. I do try to act interested when they get excite about math.

      Margot

  5. I hate the Ramona quote about having the wrong rain boots – “boy” rain boots. Also, the kiss-chase games in Ramona. Funny, though I don’t remember those bits from when I read them as a child. I edit as I go when I read the books aloud now!

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