We grew up with Little Bo-Peep and Jack and the Beanstalk, but now in another case of political correctness gone wild, our grandchildren and their children may not know these characters for their innocent gender roles.
Publisher Ladybird has recently announced their plans to publish only gender neutral children’s books in an aim to remove stereotypes and cliches. While this is a step in the right direction to stop pigeon-holing our kids, is it really necessary? Do kids even notice or care?
Apparently children are being swayed to believe they should read books according to their gender, says Ladybird and should broaden their horizons. So say goodbye to Sleeping Beauty and Ba Ba Black Sheep (which came under controversy in recent years for its ‘racial undertones’) – it will be different soon.
A spokesman for Ladybird said they were amending titles because, “We certainly don’t want to be seen to be limiting children in any way”.
The change is in response to a campaign by the ‘Let Toys Be Toys’ lobby group who wanted to have gendered branding removed from toys and now books.
Other publishing houses agreed with the campaign, with Penguin Random House wanting to jump on board the gender-neutral bandwagon. The ‘Let Books Be Books’ spin-off group said on their website, “We’re asking children’s publishers to take the ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ labels off books and allow children to choose freely what kinds of stories and activity books interest them”.
They feel that children are being limited to their gender and publishers need to break them free of these shackles through neutral titling.
Blue covers are deterring girls and pink covers are deterring boys, says the lobby group. But with all this gender neutralising, political correctness and trying to make our children feel comfortable, are we going too far? By removing the blue and pink and the robots and fairies, are we going to be stopping children from making an informed choice? If a boy likes a pink book, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, so perhaps instead of removing the ‘girly’ books, maybe we should focus on what we are telling our children about what the books mean.
Perhaps the lobbyers forgot that Harry Potter was a roaring success for both genders – it talked of dragons and wizards, plus had a male title, yet girls still picked it up. Food for thought.
So what do you think? Is this a case of political correctness gone too far? Or is it good to remove titling that enforces specific genders to read a book? Tell us below.