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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Unhappy with school reading book

130 replies

Kinect · 08/10/2013 08:01

DD is in reception & has three reading books a week. We have a little book to fill in with a note of how DD reacted. Yesterday's book was, "a princess & a dragon'. Story went like this princess, dragon, roar, help, prince, prince saves princess, they are happy.

I have written in the notebook that it is against my feminist principles to read the story with DD.

I am very unhappy about material like this being in school.

Should I take this further with the school?
Or is my comment in the notebook sufficient.

OP posts:
Pooka · 08/10/2013 08:09

I'm sure your comment will be sufficient.

beansmum · 08/10/2013 08:13

I don't know - I would have read it, and talked to dd about it, and maybe followed it with The Paperbag Princess. Then I would have spoken to the class teacher (assuming they're at all approachable) and told them that I wasn't happy. I'm not sure I'd take it any further than that. Which doesn't answer your actual question...

Pooka · 08/10/2013 08:19

I'm fascinated by the idea that you will monitor books and prevent reading them on the basis of their feminist credentials.

Going with what beansmum has said, you've missed the opportunity for a feminist critique and to educate your dd. if I had a fundamental issue with an early reader, we'd read it and then I'd explain issues. Bit like every time I read angelina ballerina (because dd loved them) I'd have a commentary about the ways in which angelina was being a pain in the arse. Ditto with my naughty little sister.

kilmuir · 08/10/2013 08:21

But its a story, made up, blah blah. Get a bloody grip. Tell her that women do not have to be rescued by a male, but in this story she is. Maybe the prince is homosexual,?

SavoyCabbage · 08/10/2013 08:27

Just counteract it with your own information and stories. Some princesses will need to be rescued some will not. Not every story can encompass every scenario every time.

meditrina · 08/10/2013 08:34

If all the books were like this, then maybe you'd have a point. IME early readers provide a good mix.

Your possible actions are to a) provide other reading material at home, b) use stories to discuss wider themes and c) offer to buy new reception material for the school (budgets mean wholesale replacement by the school is unlikely, but donations are welcomed).

Talking to your DC about what is happening in the story, so they develop critical awareness, is probably the most important. Your DD is probably already aware that she is not a princess and that dragons don't exist.

DramaQueenofHighCs · 08/10/2013 08:40

This has got to be a windup!! So you'd oh have men saved by men and women saved by women then? Would you have happily read it if it had been a prince being rescued by a princess? Such double standards if so as feminism should be about equality. If you want to go down the over anylising line: the prince in the story would've undergone many years of fighting training to be able to rescue the princess so therefore he is a trained professional and not rescuing her just because he's a man. If your house was on fire would you refuse to get rescued by a man because it is against your principals as it makes you seem 'weaker' than them? Women get rescued by men sometimes and men get rescued by women sometimes. GAFG!!

It's people like you that give feminism a bad name because you're so OTT. As I said, it's about equality so just make sure you read DD some stories where women are the strong characters too. If you only read ones where women are strong characters then you're just as bad as those you complain about and with nobody being the 'strong' one books will get very boring very quickly!

psychomum5 · 08/10/2013 09:01


"But its a story, made up, blah blah. Get a bloody grip. Tell her that women do not have to be rescued by a male, but in this story she is. Maybe the prince is homosexual,?"...You just made me snort my coffee!!

Yeah, what she said!! (or maybe he....should I be assigning gender ConfusedHmm)

Books from school are just to get them started on the chore of reading nightly, which WILL be a chore when you hit Biff and Chip.

Seriously, you will be BEGGING for princesses and dragons by the time you get drowned by the Biff and Chip books!

CrowmarshGibbon · 08/10/2013 09:11

dramaqueen - why can't the Princess rescue herself? I think self reliance is a good principle to teach children rather than sitting around and waiting for someone else - male or female - to fix things for them.

beansmum · 08/10/2013 09:14

I reckon fighting a dragon is probably a two person job

PeterParkerSays · 08/10/2013 09:17

We have 4 pages of Biff, Chip, Dad etc try to knock apple out of tree, wield stick at tree, knock apple off, dog eats apple.

As a one-off book, I wouldn't raise it, but maybe have a word if your daughter's continually getting princess type stories.

BuffytheAppleBobber · 08/10/2013 09:26

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 · 08/10/2013 09:36

This reply has been deleted

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3birthdaybunnies · 08/10/2013 09:37

Are you sure your dd didn't choose it herself? Ours go and choose from a box. Maybe your dd wants to read about princesses? The teachers would I am sure love for you to come and help them all choose appropriate books.

curlew · 08/10/2013 09:40

I do think we need to think very carefully about the messages we send our girls. And our boys. And a lot of books aimed at girls are of the type the OP outlines. I think it's a good idea to make sure the teacher is aware. There are some fantastic princess stories with a "less traditional" theme- maybe talk to the PTA about providing some dosh to update the Reception book corner?

minihahawithafringe · 08/10/2013 09:43

i had lots of issues with books at school....

Mrs Large goes on a diet and cant have cake....whole story about her denying herself....then gives in and eats the cake saying i'm fine as i am.

the three bears go to goldilocks house to trash it because they were so angry with her for trashing her house

my dd is 10 now and these are two of the stories that i remember off the top of my head. i felt like i was there every week when she was tiny

ICameOnTheJitney · 08/10/2013 09:44

OP I'm with you however....I won't argue against the millions of sexist books out there with schools etc...what I DO do is discuss "real" princesses with my DD. Tell her that they do things like Diana did....campaign against injustice and do brave stuff...I explain that they wear jeans and boots unless they're going out to a party...and that they ride horses and have careers.

I also say things like "Well I wonder why she didn't just slay that dragon herself...I would have. Wouldn't you DD?"

And I balance it by buynig books with strong girls in them.

BlackberrySeason · 08/10/2013 09:46

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ICameOnTheJitney · 08/10/2013 09:47

Can I recommend The Night Pirates by Peter Harris as a great book for little girls of about 5, 6 and maybe 7. It's about a little boy who goes to sleep only to be invited onto the pirate ship of three little girl pirates who take him on an adventure.

I love the way Peter Harris has stopped the girls from being the docile character who stuff happens to and made the girls into the active lead characters.

BuffytheAppleBobber · 08/10/2013 09:48

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrauMoose · 08/10/2013 09:48

I'd recommend 'Reckless Ruby'....

ICameOnTheJitney · 08/10/2013 09:49

DramaQueen Bless you for your concern about you say, the problem is lack of equality....which is why we need to work hard to balance the fucking HUGE amount of wishy washy shite books with weak little prissy arses of girls for characters by fucking them off for some which switch the roles.

When there is an EQUAL amount of books with strong female characters THEN maybe you can shite on with "what about the menz">> and wring your hands over them.


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pictish · 08/10/2013 09:50

The Paper Bag Princess is a story about a princess rescuing a prince from a dragon.
It has a funny ending as well.

ICameOnTheJitney · 08/10/2013 09:50

Buffy The Night Pirates has little girls who take a boy on an adventure and then control the action...they overcome some bad pirates and then take the boy back home.

pictish · 08/10/2013 09:51

I also recommend The Worst Princess, in which the main character is totally unimpressed with her rescuer, and teams up with a dragon instead.

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