I'm not usually one to rant and complain, but there is a common theme I keep noticing in the books I read to my children that I feel needs to be addressed.
How many of you are familiar with the original version of The Three Little Pigs? Or even the Disney version?
I imagine many of us are. In the 1890 version of English Fairy Tales written by Joseph Jacobs (and most of the versions thereafter) the three little pigs are male. However, today when I pick up a modern-day version of the Three Little Pigs, the one who builds the house of bricks or the sturdiest material (aka the "smart one") is female.
For example, there's this one:
And this one:
And this one:
Now, don't get me wrong. I love all these books and own every one of them. But the other day as I was reading one of them to two of my sons, the older one asked, "Why do all the stories have the girl as the smart one and the boys as the dumb ones?"
His question broke my heart. Of course, I had noticed this common theme with these modern-day retellings of the three little pigs, but I guess I'd hoped my boys wouldn't notice. But no, they are too SMART for that.
I'm sorry, I'm all for diversity in books, heck if it doesn't seem diverse enough to have three male pigs, then by all means put some females in there. But when boys are bombarded over and over with books claiming that they are the dumb ones, what kind of impression are we leaving on them?
Obviously, I'm a little more sensitive to this since I'm a mother of FIVE boys. And I want them to grow up knowing they are good, smart, and kind. And after all I try to teach them in my own home, I don't want them to ever question it—not because of a book, or a movie, or the media.
And hopefully, if you've never taken the time to think about the kinds of messages we're sending to the young people of the world through our books and media, perhaps this blog post will inspire you to.
Over and out.