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Aborigines Upset Over Inclusion of Didgeridoo in Daring Book for Girls

Aborigines Incensed Over Didgeridoo "Dare" in Book for Girls

The Australian answer to the hit book, The Daring Book for Girls is striking the wrong note with Aborigines. The book teaches girls how to play the didgeridoo — despite the fact that Aboriginal culture views the instrument as strictly boys only and not to be played by girls.

The publisher says it wasn't aware of the taboo and has apologized for the faux pas saying there was a "divergence of opinion" on the matter. The hollowed out instrument with the quintessentially Crocodile Dundee-esque sound (just try to imagine that tone without thinking of the movie) is viewed by Aborigines as a male ceremonial instrument. Not only are women forbidden from playing it, but doing so could cause grave consequences, even infertility.

The Daring Book has a less controversial profile than it may seem — its mission: "Whether you’re a girly-girl, an athlete, a brainiac, or a little bit of everything, The Daring Book for Girls gets you ready for anything — from pitching a tent and building a campfire; to running a lemonade stand and learning about female heroines in history; and even to tying a hitch knot and organizing your own spy team. The Daring Book for Girls is the can-do, how-to manual for enthusiastic, unfettered adventure, cheering girls on to be curious and brave—and above all, to have fun."


Join The Conversation
laluna laluna 8 years
We had an aborignal guy come into primary school and teach us how to play a didgeridoo. I remember i sucked at it. I know girls from then who have children now...
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I figured as much ceej, your comment just made me giggle :)
ceej ceej 8 years
"I could think of a really offhanded joke after that comment.." ah but you see I'm not running for VP of one of the worlds super powers. I teach my teenager about birth control, she doesn't believe in any religious voodoo.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
My 11 yr old daughter has this book and loves it! My son has the Dangerous Book for Boys too. :-) As soon as my youngest is old enough she'll get her own copy of the Daring Book as well.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
"Oh and, my daughter owns a didgeridoo, so far, no pregnancies!" I could think of a really offhanded joke after that comment... :innocent:
ceej ceej 8 years
Aboriginal belief systems are like any religion, based on superstition. Women are not allowed to play the didgeridoo as it is supposedly linked to their fertility, ie if you want children that wont happen after you've played and vice versa. All religious superstitions should be challenged as far as I'm concerned, bring on the female priests. Oh and, my daughter owns a didgeridoo, so far, no pregnancies!
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Oh please. This is a silly non-issue. The book probably intentionally included this to be ironically funny! I really wanted this book for myself...but instead bought "The Dangerous Book for Boys" for my husband. It's still sitting on the shelf :-(
Michelann Michelann 8 years
You didn't bother to discuss it with me at all, so it looks like you didn't bother to think about what I said. If you state your opinion, and I state mine, and neither of us think about what the other person said, then nobody gets anything out of it.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
Mich - sometimes people need to learn to disagree. I'm just stating my opinion and I don't agree. It doesn't mean I didn't hear you. So the back-handed comments can stop and I'm not turning this into an ongoing argument.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Exactly Krradford. It is a problem to publish books that are contrary to people's bigoted beliefs. All beliefs are equal.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Krrad, I'm glad you're so willing to listen to and think about other people's opinions...
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
This book is meant to be published in Australia. If you read carefully, you see that this is the Australian version, not the U.S. version. Regardless, I don't see why the Aborigines are all up in arms. If they don't like this book, they shouldn't read it. I'm not extremely versed on Australian civil liberties, but I know they have some version of freedom of expression. This book is not something that is being forced on anyone, so who really cares if it exists?
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
This conversation is the Bridge to Nowhere. Have a good day Mich. I need to get back to work ;-)
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Even if it were directly marketed to the Aborigines, it wouldn't be a bad thing in my eyes. They don't get to use 'culture' as an excuse for sexist behavior. Perhaps it was inappropriate to distribute anti-slavery literature (like Uncle Tom's Cabin) in the South pre-civil war? Certainly slavery and not allowing a girl to play an instrument are not the same thing, but the principle is the same.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
Again - in my first comment, I mentioned that it also depends on where the book is marketed. If it's global, then there is a problem in my view and many other global marketers that I work with tend to have the same feeling. However, if it is mainly marketed in the U.S. - not so harmful.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Every culture is as good as every other culture Michelin. They're just different. Try to be more tolerant.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Nobody trying to make the Aborigines do anything! They're upset because in America there is a book encouraging our girls to do something they believe should be only for males. That's sexism, and I don't approve of it, no matter what their cultural heritage says.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
All I'm saying is, as an American, I can't go into Australia and say, you have to start allowing girls to play this instrument. I'm not a citizen, I don't vote in their elections, so why is ok for me to tell them what they should do about a cultural issue. Granted there are situations where the aid of outside help may be warranted in other countries i.e. genocide. But it's an instrument.
JennaV JennaV 8 years
Ahhh....I don't know how I feel. I agree with you krradford about the culture thing but I also agree with Michelin about the sexism stance.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
How is it not the same thing?
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Yeah, women's rights and black people's rights are totally different Mich.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
It's not the same thing Mich. But that's how many people in the U.S. think so I understand your point, but I disagree.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I don't care what their 'cultural norms' are, you don't get a free pass from me for sexist beliefs. That's like somebody saying I have no right to go to South Africa and encourage black people to practice all the same behaviors white people practice. Maybe it's time the Aborigines came into the 21st century, at least on this one.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Exactly. It's so American of us to take people's cultural innovations for our own entertainment. But then we leave behind all of the hierarchical baggage, which is incredibly rude. We must adopt culturally sexist customs if we're going to play this instrument.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
I saw this book in the bookstore the other day and thought that it looked like a fun book without really scanning it. But I can understand why the Aborigines would find encouraging girls to play the didgeridoo offensive. It's their cultural view not to have girls play it. I wouldn't go into another person's country and tell them how they should behave. Though, I question the intended target audience for the book - if it is marketed globally then the writers or publishers should have done a better job researching cultural norms. If it's for a strictly U.S.-centric audience, it may not be as harmful.
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