The mother of an 8-year-old girl is applauding her daughter's recent outspoken objection to a set of children's books that she described as "sexist." The girl's outrage at the contents of the books ultimately led them to be removed from shelves at a local bookstore in Berkeley, Calif.
Constance Cooper, a fantasy and science fiction writer, recently detailed the story of her daughter's "recognition of sexism" on her personal blog, constancecooper.com, writing of how the two were perusing the selection at the local Half Price Books store in Berkeley, Calif. when her daughter, KC, noticed something wrong.
"Our family was browsing in a bookstore when my daughter called out, 'Mama, you have to look at this!' Usually this is a happy cry, but not this time," Cooper wrote.
KC then showed her mother two children's books she had found, one entitled "Boys Only: How to Survive (Almost) Anything," and an accompanying girls' version, entitled "Girls Only: How to Survive (Almost) Anything." As Cooper writes on her blog, the boy version of the book included chapters such as: "How to survive a shark attack" and "How to survive whitewater rapids," while the girl version included the chapters "How to survive a breakout" and "How to survive a BFF fight."
Cooper writes that her daughter was especially upset at the "camping" chapter in the girls' book that states "camping may not always be a girl's top choice of activity, but here's how to make the best of a bad situation and survive in style." KC was reportedly upset most about this chapter because she does in fact love to camp with her family.
"[KC] insisted we had to tell the manager how unfair these books were, and a nearby employee heard her and asked if she could help. Kudos to Half Price Books: the employee was horrified. She agreed that the books were offensive, and although we hadn't requested it, she yanked all copies [boy and girl] from the shelf," Cooper wrote on her blog post.
The proud mom also told NBC in a recent interview that she is pleased with her daughter's critical thinking skills and hopes she will carry these attributes into adulthood: "I hope my daughter will continue to think critically about the messages she's given in our culture and speak out when she thinks something is not right."
Cooper's blog post did generate some negative feedback from those who believe yanking the children's books is an aggressive form of censorship. The author had posted a link to her blog on the group blog website BoingBoing, where it received 180 comments in one day. "Somebody else is deciding what other people should read. You don't like the books, don't buy 'em. If the store owner doesn't wanna sell 'em, great. But if you or your kid think they're worthless, how does that give you or your kid the right to decide that for everyone else?" one person questioned.