How to be the best gender-stereotyped boy/girl ever

// 18 February 2007

Anyone who has had to shop for childrens’ books lately will have noticed the appearance of a number of books like The Dangerous Book For Boys.

I must admit, I’ve even bought this particular book for my 10 year old brother. It’s a good book, with tips on things like conkers, go-carting and a preponderance of facts about dinosaurs, the solar system, piracy, secret ink and so on.

But it’s hard to get away from how gender-typed these books are, and girls – when they are catered for – come out much worse.

In fact, you’d do better to get girls on your shopping list the versions of these books aimed at boys, and hope the title doesn’t put them off to much. Take the How To Be The Best At Everything series, which comes in two versions, one for girls and one for boys:

Boy v Girl

While boys are instructed on things like how to survive a volcano, read a compass, find water in the desert, make fire and row, girls are expected to put up with learning how to braid hair, customise their phones, do the perfect manicure and make friendship bracelets.

While some of this stuff is definitely going to appeal to girls, how limiting. The publishers are putting girls into a very unimaginative box. It’s just really disappointing.

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