when we assume that there is such a thing as books for girls and books for boys, we are continuing a tired and sexist narrative that has only furthered the power inequity that already exists within our society. We are creating a new generation of mansplaining, of groupthink, of toxic masculinity. Of girls only liking one thing, and boys liking another. Of men and women being from different planets. Of readers being shaped more by their assigned gender than their actual interests.
We are furthering the stereotype that boys don’t like to read about girls because they see little value in what girls do.
We are furthering the stereotype that boys don’t like to read about feelings because they are somehow above all of that.
We are furthering the stereotype of what it means to be a boy which translates into what it means to be a man and not seeing the incredible harm in that.
So I am wondering if we for once and for all, can we all agree that there is no such thing as a girl or a boy book? That kids need to be exposed to characters that inspire them, no matter their gender. That kids need to be exposed to characters that will expand their worldviews and invite them into new worlds that they knew little of before, no matter their gender. That kids need to be exposed to great books, without us adults thinking that they will only read a certain type of book based on what we see in front of us.
Someone walks into your house and sees your many books on your many bookshelves. Have you really read all these? they ask. This person does not understand knowledge. A good library is comprised in large part by books you haven’t read, making it something you can turn to when you don’t know something. He calls it: the Anti-Library.
I remember once in college, the pride I felt about being able to write an entire research paper with stuff from my own anti-library. We all have books and papers that we haven’t read yet. Instead of feeling guilty, you should see them as an opportunity: know they’re available to you if you ever need them.