to object to this reading book

(215 Posts)
Itscurtainsforyou Fri 13-May-16 21:48:37

My 5 year old brought home a reading book about "man on the moon". It talked about the 12 MEN (not people, men) who have walked on the moon. I could let that one go as it was talking about past events and they were all men.

However at the end of the book it says something along the lines of "maybe men will walk on the moon again" - IABU to think that they should have used non-gender words (such as "people") or worded it differently? I felt the need to explain to my 5 year old that in the 1960-70s most astronauts were men and of course these days women were equally likely to walk on the moon/go into space.

Maybe I'm just easily wound up but this just seems like subtle sexism and there should be no place for it in schools.

CalleighDoodle Fri 13-May-16 21:53:12

Women are equally likely? Youve a lot more faith in the world than me op.

Today i heard a man at soft play say to
His 3 year old on a peppa pig ride say 'you're a terrible driver. Typical woman' and then the head teacher at my daughters school assembly make an equally sexist remark that shocked me but ive since forgotten showing that it is so casual and constant it isnt ahocking enough to stick!

Itscurtainsforyou Fri 13-May-16 21:56:59

Hopeful is probably right! But I believe children should be encouraged to believe they can do things not be subtly told this kind of thing is out of their reach...

lougle Fri 13-May-16 21:58:34

I can't get worked up about this. To date, 12 men and 0 women have walked on the moon. The book is factually correct. Yes, it would be nice if it were acknowledged that women could walk on the moon too, but given that the odds of anyone walking on the moon are so small, it's no big deal.

sonlypuppyfat Fri 13-May-16 22:01:21

I think you are easily wound up

MelanieCheeks Fri 13-May-16 22:15:43

Maybe you could use it as a starting point to talk about space exploration, and look at the women who have played a big part in the international space station?

sixinabed Fri 13-May-16 22:36:14

YANBU. Little changes like this are very important. Of course it should say either 'men and women' or 'people' could walk on moon again in future. Books are very influential (at least to my children).

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 13-May-16 22:40:18

Of course it's no big deal to instil in children the idea that men have always done the most exciting things and always will 🤔 Or we could let children believe that things may be changing!

BeYourselfUnlessUCanBeAUnicorn Fri 13-May-16 22:42:14

It's factually correct. I can't be bothered to get worked up about this stuff. As long as i tell my DCs that they can be anything that want to be. Incidently I'm far better at parking than my DH and take great pride in that. I don't care when people say about women drivers. I often think they have a point!

Only1scoop Fri 13-May-16 22:43:52

Is it 'maybe man will walk on the moon again'

I can't see anything wrong with that question....

As in 'mankind'

Euphemia Fri 13-May-16 22:58:04

When was the book published? Probably in the 70s, if the books in my school are anything to go by! grin

HelenLynn Fri 13-May-16 23:16:25

I don't think you're being at all unreasonable, OP. The absence of female characters, or their under-representation, is really widespread. I think it's a very significant way in which the idea that males are the "norm" or the "default", and females "different" or "other", is perpetuated. Try counting the characters that are identifiably male or female on kids' book covers in a bookshop display and see how the numbers compare and what the norm is there. Or try opening kids' books at random and see how many have a male protagonist, and how many have only male characters, and how many have only male characters except for one, who's often a mum. Or notice how often people use "he" when talking to children about an animal/insect/vehicle. Once you start noticing it, it's everywhere, and extremely annoying.

Re: women in space, here is NASA's current cohort of astronauts-in-training, of whom half are women. Here is the all-women staff controlling the International Space Station on one recent occasion, with the flight controller posting the pic commenting that it's so normal it barely merits a photo any more.

TweeBee Fri 13-May-16 23:27:06

Not to excuse it but is it because of phonics? Men and man are pronounced phonetically whereas woman, women or people are trickier.
When DS first got a book home he was so annoyed to read that dad had a nap ('grown ups don't nap! Just babies!') because he thought it should say sleep, but he hadn't learnt the ee sound then.

OwlinaTree Fri 13-May-16 23:33:11

Same as twee. Men is easy to read phonetically. Women and people is not. It's hard to write a non fiction reading book for early readers using mainly phonetically decodable words. Id probably say oh it could be women too, but this book will have been written with the readability in mind as the main feature.

idontlikealdi Fri 13-May-16 23:37:38

I think you're looking for a fight where there isn't one.

BIWI Fri 13-May-16 23:40:55

It's sad and depressing when other women (I assume that idontlikealdi and sonlypuppyfat are women) don't get things like this. OP you aren't being unreasonable at all. Yes, obviously there's a factual element in what you've been reading, but surely we should be inspiring our children to think about the possibilities for girls as well as boys.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 13-May-16 23:42:02

How jolly convenient for men that they are phonetic. Good job as well, otherwise girls might get the impression they can actually do something.

Now can we come up with a non-sexist reason that almost every animal in kids' books is a male animal?

OwlinaTree Fri 13-May-16 23:43:17

Nomrs in many cases books are sexist. In this case there is a reason for the words used.

BoGrainger Sat 14-May-16 00:02:34

I agree the book is sexist but 'people' is a difficult word for early reading books. If the rest of the book is easily decodeable than YABU but if is not then YANBU.

Foslady Sat 14-May-16 00:27:09

I wouldn't get angry, I'd just use it as a tool to instill that even though it's in praise of men walking on the moon, women would have helped get them there, all the careers in STEM women can have and that if you have a career in mind you go for it - men and women should be seen as capable as each other.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 14-May-16 00:48:19

It's an early stage phonically decodable ORT book. Unless you can think of a way of decoding it involving only phase 3 phonemes there's not a lot you can do. You can't use people or women. Although leaving that page out totally is an option.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 14-May-16 00:51:29

"We"? Is "we" or even "you" decodable?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 14-May-16 01:04:29

They may have taught 'we' at that stage. Can't remember off the top of my head. I think you is later.

GarlicShake Sat 14-May-16 01:05:34

YANBU. I object to "man" being used as a synonym for "people" or "humans", as well. Fair enough in older writings, we just have to explain it and try to emphasise it means women and men. But there's no excuse for perpetuating the misogyny.

The default human is not a man.

Winterbiscuit Sat 14-May-16 01:13:19

YANBU. It's unthinking and lazy to just say "men" where it should be "men and women". It's not just a one off as it happens all the time and reinforces the stereotypes.

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