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Young Girl Protests Sexist Books

8-Year-Old's Protest of Sexist Survival Books Prompts Action

It’s hardly surprising that two books caught the attention of 8-year-old KC Cooper, who loves to read. What is surprising is that she was nearly in tears when she pointed out the How to Survive (Almost) Anything books to her mom because they were sexist, Today reports. Her mom, Constance, says the boy version of the book featured chapters such as "How to Survive a Shark Attack" and "How to Survive a Camping Trip," while the girl version featured chapters such as "How to Survive a Breakout" and "How to Survive a BFF Fight."

Joshua Lynn, manager of Half Price Books, agreed the books were offensive and moved them to a less-prominent area of the children's section. "While we certainly understand why the books upset her and commend the girl for speaking out against stereotypical portrayals of gender roles in books, I would like to stress that we are strong advocates of First Amendment rights and do not advocate censorship or removal of 'objectionable' books from circulation," he said.

Meanwhile, Constance says she used the event as an opportunity to explain that girls and boys are hurt by sexism. The boy version implies that all boys do is fight and deal with disasters, but they could benefit from some of the girl chapters, such as "How to Survive Shyness" or "How to Be a Brilliant Babysitter," too, she says.

Source: Today
Join The Conversation
JAM282 JAM282 3 years
Yes, the publisher has a right to publish these and the bookstore owner is right in refusing to 'ban' the books on free speech grounds, but the young reader's right to freely speak out about the stereotypical contents of the book directed to boys vs. to girls is equally as important. Good for her. Now that people are aware of the divergent contents in these 2 versions of the book, hopefully they let their kids decide which one (if any) they prefer to read and not just buy the one that pigeon-holes them into a gendered stereotype, as this book's publisher (not to mention most clothing, toy, and other child product manufacturers) would have them do.
AmandaS24396 AmandaS24396 3 years
I can not believe how many people are calling her a baby or saying so what. In a world where women still have to fight to be equal this is taking a step back. Lulumoshi may you should step up and be man and not put us back years on the equality page.
LuluMoshi LuluMoshi 3 years
The girl is such a baby geez like man up girl
ElizabethMarland37270 ElizabethMarland37270 3 years
I'm of two minds about this issue. One the one hand, my girls would love to know how to survive a shark attack and a camping trip but on the other hand suriving a breakout and BFF issues are things they would also want to read about. Most of the girls I know, not all of course because everyone is different, want to read hair, makeup, skin and friend advice. I don't think books about these issues are sexist, they are covering the things girls are interested in. But they shouldn't stop at just those topics because girls are also interested in sports and things like camping. I can see how a book that only covers hair and makeup and friendship advice may frustrate an eight year old girl because for a lot of eight years olds, they just aren't into that stuff yet.
StephFilby StephFilby 3 years
So the books are sexist, really if that makes a child upset it s probably best she doesn't read books about sharks etc. Utterly ridiculous. As for toy colours being gender specific, they are not. They are sold in various colours so if, your little girl wants a blue one and your boy wants pink, go for it. Its parents who assume the gender colours are set. I have never had difficulty buying pink cars and tools and blue buggies and hoovers.
CoMMember13627225725544 CoMMember13627225725544 3 years
The books are sexist in my opinion and unfortunately depict much of society's expectations of the sexes. Just shows that parents and teachers still need to take their gatekeeper roles seriously. We can't shield our kids from all of this but we can teach them that they are individuals and more than social stereotypes. Encourage them to learn skills that will help them and to be true to themselves. God made male and female. Different but equal. In any case, he gives individuals different personalities and abilities. Society won't play ball necessarily and we have to keep working hard as parents to raise kids who aren't buying into hogwash.
JavaMama JavaMama 3 years
The 8 year old was "nearly in tears"?? If she's that tender and sensitive then how in the world is she going to survive a shark attack? Maybe there's a section in the girl's book on how to overcome her sensitivity. This generation has become so SISSIFIED! If she prefers to read the boy book then do so and ignore the girl book and the same would go for a boy. She doesn't have to cry over it and expect store owners or anyone to accomodate her for crying out loud (no pun intended). If my daughter acted like that I would've told her to "man up" lol.
SusanMorris83058 SusanMorris83058 3 years
Books like this provide a great opportunity to talk to our kids about gender stereotypes and the problems they cause for people of either gender. I would tell my kids that they can read either or both books, regardless of their gender, and that they have my permission to defy gender stereotypes if they choose. I'm the sort of mom who would buy baby dolls for boys and trucks for girls if that's what they want to play with. I wouldn't ban a book over this, but I would definitely explain why books like these contribute to a huge problem that is holding our society back from what it could be.
JaneeAckermann JaneeAckermann 3 years
Yay for the store owner who stood up for freedom of speech. Now can I see the how to survive a breakout chapter??? ;)
AshleyBurt AshleyBurt 3 years
Ellenwood30726 - I guess I'm just young and remember scholastic fairs, but it's not about strict education it's about fun with reading and piquing children's curiosity and associate fun with reading.
AshleyBurt AshleyBurt 3 years
Karen14941301 - I agree totally. The parents of this child have failed them by making them believe the world is going to end of everything they see isn't perfectly equal. It never will be, where you don't have sexism you have affirmative action. It's back and forth. I went to a women's college and was forced to sit through women's studies and bear it. I know. Am I the only one that can just deal with it, teach my kids to worry about more important things and go on with life. Good job to this kids parents, y'all sure are a couple a winners!
AshleyBurt AshleyBurt 3 years
What are we teaching our kids? We have become so over sensitive and cynical about even the air we breath. I'm SO tired of this. Everything has a hidden agenda, everything.
JeniHeneghan JeniHeneghan 3 years
"Thousands of years of species survival traits"? Try social conditioning from the Victorian age and 1950s. And since when would species survival have anything to say about dealing with zits or fighting with your BFF?
SallyBackhaus SallyBackhaus 3 years
Thousands of years of species survival traits don't sit down and shut up because a few decades of social conditioning tells them to. From the dawn of time until aobut 40 years ago (in the indutrialized western world), boys did boy things and girls did girl things. Now girls are indoctrinated to cry "sexist" if boy things don't pander to them and boys are punished for not being feminine enough. Then we wonder why they grow up mentally and emotionally messed up.
Rebecca82641 Rebecca82641 3 years
It's not as easy as not reading it if you don't like it. The main problem is that boys are sometimes seen as being able too do more than girls which is what happened in this situation. And while children are young is when they are most impressionable. We want to and need to teach them that girls can do anything a boy can do and vice versa. Why show a boy fighting dragons or alligators and yet have a girl dealing with breakouts and. drama. What does that teach our children. Whether children read the book or not. The idea is already in their head about boys being stronger and smarter. This is a time for equal rights between the sexes. I don't blame the little girl for shedding tears, I would have as a child and I know my daughter would too. It's called having emotions. Something that's good for everyone to express even boys and men.
Barbara14941876 Barbara14941876 3 years
There is an easy way to fix these books. Put a boy and a girl on both covers. Change the "Boys Only" to How To Survive Things That Will Probably Never Happen To You and "Girls Only" to How to Survive Things That Happen To All Kids. The content difference is a bit sexist but the "Girls Only" version sounds useful as opposed to fantastical. The girl involved should do a bit of research and look at "The Dangerous Book for Boys" and "The Daring Book for Girls". They aren't completely free of gender stereotypes but are better than the "How to Survive" series.
TwiggySadek TwiggySadek 3 years
Sexism is everywhere, but the last place it should be allowed in is children books. Reminds me of ELC toys... why is there a discrimination in colors for each and every toy?! Why not simply make all toys colorful, without imposing "pink for girls" and "blue for boys"...
AshleighSpencer AshleighSpencer 3 years
OK here's my stance on this. One one hand, the first amendment does give the right to free speech and I support that. What I DO have an issue with is the fact that Scholastic Books found such a thing worthy of publishing. Sexism and stereotyping is all over the place. Our children shouldn't have to deal with it in the world of imaginative reading too. Books are supposed to be an escape.
GabriellePritt GabriellePritt 3 years
Honestly, I don't see the big deal. This has been going on forever. If you don't like it, don't read it. Simple as that.
Karen14941301 Karen14941301 3 years
Omg really???? If you don't like it don't read it! Seems simple enough to me!!!! Freedom to write your own ideas ..... The problem today is everything is way too PC & too much drama over stupid senseless things!
RachelSmith79840 RachelSmith79840 3 years
Nearly in tears?! Oh come on, I get they're sexist but seriously?! Tears?!
SandraSellers SandraSellers 3 years
My daughter and I saw these last year through Scholastic. She was disappointed that they made such lame books. She thought it would be real survival skills tht kids could do. Obviously we didn't buy the book and we found better reading material to purchase. I'm glad the bookstore didn't pull them off the shelves because I don't condone banning of books but I would really hope in literature--one area where a child can be free to imagine anything--that publishers would not get on the sexist, over sexualized mainstream bandwagon. Our kids get this enough. We have to shop in the boys departments for solar system and dinosaur clothing, for anything Wimpy Kid related or for video games and Minecraft, for the cool Legos. Seriously all children show interest in this stuff if you allow it!
EllenWood30726 EllenWood30726 3 years
What should be more upsetting is that these books are distributed through Scholastic, which is supposed to offer school kids appropriate and educational reading materials. That's where my complaint would have gone, not to the third-party re seller where they eventually ended up. I do give kudos to HPB for not caving on the First Amendment, though.
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