After the whole “perfect princess” thing (see my previous post) I have decided to draw a line in the sand. It is all very well having a case by case judgement on each thing and all, but sometimes you need to send a clear message to retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and everyone else who is putting these things in front of your children.
I would love it if you could join me. It is a pretty basic rule.
I will no longer buy any books for my child that are labelled by gender.
That is it. We’re not talking about colours or subjects, we are not talking about in depth analysis of the message. Just that simple rule.
Unless it is “how to maintain your genitals”, (which is unlikely to be in a mainstream bookshop children’s section anyway…) there is no need for a children’s book to be gender specific.
So, no more “Boys Book of Football”, no more “Animal Stories for Girls”. Animal stories and football stories are fine, but why are we automatically excluding half of all children in the title? Even books with titles like “Girls Can Do Science Too!” are setting themselves up as being somehow unusual. Boys and girls don’t want or need to be shoehorned into marketing sectors. Especially not when it comes to learning and books.
I realise this rule misses a lot of books (it would even have missed out our old friend Princess Twinkle) and it may well include the odd book that has good contents, but, you know what, I’m tired of all this. Publishers need to stop telling my children what is and isn’t for their gender. If your book is so good, why can’t all children read it?
If enough of us do it, publishers might start noticing. For now, they can still put a load of pink frilly stuff on the animal book, and a load of muddy boys on the football book, but lets not make it so blatant.
It might be a small, flawed step, but it is something.
Incidentally, a brilliant campaign against the “pinkification” of girls’ toys, clothes and books can be found at http://www.pinkstinks.co.uk/ – go and have a look at the excellent work they are doing.