Let Books Be Books
As the Carnegie Medal list is announced, author Anne Fine (shortlisted for her book Blood Family) has spoken out about gender marketing in books and the ”pinkification” of girls.
” Good books are not pink and blue; they’re just not.
“It’s not popular with parents or women. It’s a serious matter because it does narrow children’s sense of what they’re allowed to do or like in a horrible, horrible way.”
I do remember that in books I read as a child, female characters were often shown as the ones who helped Mum or looked after the food and there were books of adventure stories for boys but there wasn’t this mass of pink sparkly stuff aimed at girls and women which seems to have taken over in recent years. I have no problem with girls enjoying books about princesses but why can’t boys feel comfortable borrowing them too? Girls enjoy books about space and football as well as cupcakes and kittens. If there are such things as men’s books and women’s books is a frequent book group discussion but if books are labelled FOR BOYS or FOR GIRLS they take away choice and push their readers into someone else’s choice of what is suitable for them to enjoy. As you can see from the counting books above, boys will count cowboys and dragons and girls will count mermaids and puppies. We don’t have these books in our library stock and library reading promotions and campaigns do try to avoid the concept of books for boys/girls.
A campaign, Time to Let Books Be Books, has been launched to persuade publishers and shops and book buyers to take action.
What do you think? I’m with Anne Fine on this one. Bring on the dragons!