Monday, January 31, 2011

Sorry, Susan B. Anthony.

Lately, I've found myself in a number of conversations that involve shuddering at books and related products deemed sickeningly girlie. You know the ones. They're pink, of course, and they either depict bejeweled, willowy young women, promise to help little girls become like those women, or both.

"Girl products" have become so ubiquitous that it's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to them. So let me be clear: I don't think pink is bad. I don't even think it's bad to give kids the opportunity to play dress-up or admire pretty things, if that interests them. My objection comes with these two implications:

1) If you're a girl, this is definitely for you.
2) If you're a boy, this is definitely not for you.

Obviously, these implications don't always come exclusively from the products. They come from Society and The Media and parents and other gift buyers who supply princess fantasies at the exclusion of gifts with other messages.

But there are still a surprising number of books out there with some variation of "for girls" in their titles, and I'm not talking about puberty guides or anything else that has good reasons to be gender-specific for most kids. Those are the ones that make me look at the calendar, confirm that yes, it is 2011, and go back to shuddering.


  1. I'll just be over here girlishly enjoying my Science Fiction.

  2. Now I'm curious - any particular books make you post this today?


  3. Nicole, you're allowed to do that now. The Hunger Games has a female protagonist, you see.

    Marie, it's been a bunch of books and other items, but I think the book that broke the bookseller's back (retroactively?) was a sticker book titled simply, "Girl Stuff."