Thursday, February 26, 2015

Boys and Books

Before the internet blew up over a dress today (it was bluish and gold, by the way), there was a blog post by Shannon Hale making the rounds:

Please read the whole post, but the takeaway is this:

"The belief that boys won't like books with female protagonists, that they will refuse to read them, the shaming that happens (from peers, parents, teachers, often right in front of me) when they do, the idea that girls should read about and understand boys but that boys don't have to read about girls, that boys aren't expected to understand and empathize with the female population of the world....this belief directly leads to rape culture. To a culture that tells boys and men, it doesn't matter how the girl feels, what she wants. You don't have to wonder. She is here to please you. She is here to do what you want. No one expects you to have to empathize with girls and women. As far as you need be concerned, they have no interior life."     --Shannon Hale--

I'm super proud of myself for passing on YA books to my younger brother that I thought he would enjoy. I'm super disappointed that I'm one of those people who passed them along with that warning:

"This is about a girl, but you'll still love it."

I'm super proud that he loves John Green, but that he'll read Maureen Johnson, too. And that last year he picked up Sarah Dessen's latest all on his own. 

I feel for that third grader Hale mentioned in the post--the one who felt he had to whisper his question, and for the guy who didn't attend the assembly because of what amounted to peer pressure. 

In fact, I feel sorry for every boy not in attendance.

Not going into detail, but my history is extremely patriarchal. Yes--there are a lot of strong women in my bloodline, but I grew up in a world where males dominated, and I am SO EXHAUSTED of the idea that men can't learn from women. 

I don't understand how, in 2015, this can still be an issue.

So my daughter and I had a great conversation, and now I'm posting the link here just in case you didn't see it. 

Because it's important.