Monday, August 29, 2011
Froggy's Baby Sister Sucks
You know, I am really sick of men/boys/males condescending to girls for... really, no reason. The reason I'm cheesed off is that there's this book I'm often reading to my two girls -- Froggy's Baby Sister by Jonathan London. You can hear the full-text read aloud here. It bothers me because its got some stereotypical lines where the male lead does not like his baby sister for the sole reason that she's a girl. That wouldn't be so bad if the story showed she was just as awesome because she's a girl, but it never does. Even if it did redeem that, I'd still have a problem.
I don't know how to feel when Froggy learns the new baby is a girl, and I have to read to them "A girl? Yuck!" When Froggy teaches her to catch flies, he says "Not bad... for a girl."
Yeah, at the end, Froggy learns to love her, but not because she's a girl. Yeah, the book is aimed at young boys, but that means nothing really. Aren't we beyond this immature gender bashing? All the kids outside my neighborhood play with each other regardless of if they're girls or boys. This is the sort of thing that gives girls personality disorders and low self-esteem.
What are my girls thinking when I read "A girl? Yuck!" Are they learning that girls aren't as good as boys? Are they going to grow up with fundamental knowledge that they're disgusting? Am I planting a seed? Are they going to think that, whatever they do, they're just a subset of humanity. Even if they're the best at what they do, it's only going to reach the "good enough for a girl" ceiling.
Why is this even still an issue? Women are breadwinners and men don't mind doing the work My wife's playgroup has two men who are the stay-at-home dads. One has a wife who's a doctor. Out of all my friends, neighbors, and relatives, there are more girls than boys, and almost all the girls are the eldest. Despite their superior numbers and age, are you going to tell them that they're second-class citizens?
I'm sick of it. My girls are not going to grow up with this idea that men validate their existence. My wife validates my existence, and I validate hers, not because we're a boy and a girl, but because we're right for each other. Boys and girls are different, definitely. Girls are more talkative and sensitive. Boys have more upper-body strength and less inhibition. There are differences, but that doesn't mean one's better than the other. And neither are "yucky".