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Little Willow [userpic]

Just Say No to Gender Bias

December 31st, 2007 (04:17 pm)

Current Mood: determined
Current Song: TCM commercial music

On a regular basis, I try to talk kids out of saying, "Oh, that's a GIRL book," or, "Ewww! Idon'twannareadaBOYSTORY!"

Guess what? I often succeed. How? First, I tell the hopeful reader about the story, why I like it, and why I think he or she will like it too. I make book recommendations based on the reader's personality, literacy, and interests, not on the gender of the reader, the writer, or the protagonist.

You'll find that most books - gasp! - have both female and male characters. Many books have a definite leading character, but that character most likely interacts with other characters. Plenty of books for kids have scenes at home and school, with parents, siblings, neighbors, classmates, and teachers. Between two book covers, you'll discover a new population of people and/or critters.

Now, this may or may not surprise you, but adults also say, "That looks like a girl book!" and "That looks like a boy book!" I told a parent about a great book about gymnasts, only to hear, "Ah, but gymnastics is for girls, and I have a son." Pardon me, but boys are gymnasts too. They are also incredible dancers.

Both genders can play any sport.

Boys and girls can play on the same team.

As you can tell, I don't like double standards, and I don't like gender bias.

Consider the following phrases:
"You throw like a girl."
"She's such a tomboy."
"Boys are doctors, not nurses."
"Presidents aren't girls."

Do you say these things?
Do you think these things?
Do you find any of them offensive?

Why assume that someone can or can't do something simply based on whether that person is male or female?

I encourage you to recognize talent and achievement wherever they may be, and not base things upon gender. Let someone's words, abilities, and actions be more important than their genetic code. Please encourage your friends, siblings, children, and students to do the same.

Talent knows no gender lines and has no gender bias.

You can do anything you set your mind to if you work hard enough.

Good books can and should be read by both genders and by all ages.

Discerning readers want to read (and will appreciate) a good book, period.

View all Bildungsroman posts which include a discussion of gender bias.

Related Booklists:
Hey There, Sports Fan
I am a Dancer

Related Articles:
Mining the Field and Challenging Readers
Gender Bias: Holiday Gifts


Posted by: Lauren (begliocchi)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)

You know, I've never thought of it in terms of "girl books" or "boy books". It's always "What do you like to read...". Heck, I had a little boy wanting Hannah Montana books and was so embarassed to ask, and I felt so bad for him that I got one of my guy co-workers to go out and tell him how cool the series is - and this co-worker is a 30 year old, 6 foot 10 Dutchman with the voice of God. *hee* So long as they're reading, it's all good. =)

Edited at 2008-01-01 01:04 am (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)

That's fantastic!

Posted by: Susan (burstoflight)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 01:08 am (UTC)
{oth} nh repeating history

I never really thought in terms of boy books or girl books either. I just read anything that sounds appealing.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)


Posted by: Bink (funkmasterbink)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 05:34 am (UTC)
out doors

You know what makes me angry...The Dangerous Book for Boys.

They have a girls one now too...but grrr!!!!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 05:55 am (UTC)

Long time no speak! Hope you are doing well.

Some people took issue with those titles because the boys got to be "dangerous" while the girls were "daring." Some folks were displeased because they weren't the same. Others were upset because they sounded, well, dangerous.

Posted by: bright as yellow (idreamofpeace)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 08:40 am (UTC)

It's only been in the past five years of my dad's life that he's started reading books written by women and I still have to have conversations with him like "yes, dad, Amy Tan is a woman and wrote Joy Luck Club which is about generations of daughters and mothers, but I really think you'd like this book of hers because..."


Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 08:46 am (UTC)

I'm glad that he's _finally_ reading them. Keep bugging him! :)

Posted by: SarahsBooks (sarahsbooks)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)

Darn right.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)

Darn tootin'.

Posted by: saralholmes (saralholmes)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)

It's only lately that I realized that I read a lot of "boy" books growing up. Is it just me, or has gender bias increased with book marketing? It didn't seem nearly so divided when I was a young reader.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 1st, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)

I agree that marketing is a factor, and that the division was not as apparent twenty or more years ago.

Posted by: IT'S BEER O'CLOCK (hanyo_alchemist)
Posted at: January 6th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)

Oh, I hate the whole gender bias thing in reading. I love all sorts of books, whether they were intended for girls, boys, children or adults. If I like it, I read it. Heck, I had an old book called Little Duckling sandwiched between a forgein artbook and a manga called Death Note in my temporary bookshelf, and I read through all three.

Not only that, but my original characters are not going to be stuck in gender roles. In fact, one of the males is a soft-spoken, impulsive, almost maternal optimist, and the lead female is tough and practical.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 6th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)

Got to love an eclectic bookshelf!

One of my favorite narrators has no gender: Death, in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Good luck with your stories!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 3rd, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
No to gender Bias...

As my own suggestion. In reading books I don't really care if it is for boy or girl...I used to have a highest level of curiousity. And when it becomes it a boy boy it gives me more interest to have a look of it :)...More knowledge...more gain...

From the Philippines,
ChooseYourOwnAdventureBooks.org for Kids, Adults and Teachers (http://www.ChooseYourOwnAdventureBooks.org)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Re: No to gender Bias...

Knowledge is power!

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