Scholastic's Suffocating Stereotypes


Josh Golin

From Scholastic's Firefly Book Club, for pre-k and kindergarten children:

If you can't read the small type, here it is:

For girls, it's the "Perfectly Pink! Pack: Little princesses will love these five enchanting stories -- filled with everything PINK!"

For the boys, it's the "Power Pack: Keep active kids reading with five power-packed books about rockets, bulldozers, and more."

I guess if I want my daughter to be a good consumer I better tell her to put down that toy truck, stop being so active, and focus on being a little, enchanting, pink princess. And remind her that, in Scholastic's world,  it's the boys that have the power.

These suffocating stereotypes aren't, of course, unique to the kiddie marketers at Scholastic.  (Here's a fantastic word cloud breaking down the words used in  toy commercials aimed at boys and girls.)   But what's different is that Scholastic is using tax-payer funded time to peddle this junk to a captive audience of schoolchildren.  Remind me, again, why we let them do that.



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I don't understand what the

I don't understand what the problem is--is it actively telling children to refrain from the things geared at the opposite sex? So-called stereotypes have a basis in the natures of boys and girls. Of course different children are different, with different interests and different talents, but there are tendencies based on the different makeups of the male and female brains, and what is wrong about them? It seems to me that you might almost as well punish a girl for playing with a truck as for playing with a doll, or punish a boy for playing with a doll as for playing with a truck. Why get mad at someone for not actively telling girls not to act like girls, or boys not to act like boys? I'm not accusing you of this, but I don't see the problem here that you do at all, and I used to be a staunch feminist before I realized the truth about it.