Digital Mom. Analog Daughter.

Classic Lit: For Girls Only?

Today was a typical Saturday for Technifamily.  In the morning, little girl and I busted out the stroller and went for a jog.  She has a lot of fun on these runs, because there’s usually a lot of people outside doing stuff, and there’s often sprinklers going off (she’s obsessed with sprinklers!).  So we did that, then we came home and did some cleaning, goofed off for a while, then naptime for her.  I of course did what I normally do during these weekend naps – worked!  Yep, when you’re a mompreneur with a full-time job on top of that, you’re pretty much always working on something.  I don’t mind it because I like being busy, but once in a while it would be nice to just lay on the couch and just space out.  But I digress.

So after little girl woke up from her nap, we all trekked out to the local bookstore, Book People.  Book People is an awesome store, it has a great selection and a lot of really quirky, entertaining gifts.  So there we were in Book People, when I spotted this:

Stories for Girls
(I’m sure you can just hear me sucking my breath in, and imagine the look of dismay on my face as I reached for this).  Classics for girls?  What are those?  Stories of pink unicorns and rainbow puppies?

Oh if only.

I opened the book to the table of contents.  Here it is:

OK so let’s analyze why these stories are “for girls”.

The Railway Children – This is a story about a father who is falsely imprisoned for espionage, and his 3 children who amuse themselves by watching trains and waving to the passengers.  OK, huh?  Prison, espionage…sounds like a veritable boyfest to me.  Except for the fact that the story focuses on the children and family and their relationships.  Because boys don’t care about that stuff, and that makes it OK for girls, I guess.

The Wizard of Oz – we all know the story here.  Can’t say I ever thought of it as a “girls” story, as I have known plenty of boys who love it as well.  Guess because it stars a farm girl and a troupe of witches?  Yep.  Boys hate witches.

The Secret Garden – A story about an ill-tempered young girl who is abandoned, a family that is nearly destroyed, and then regenerated.  Yeah I guess boys wouldn’t care about that family and relationship stuff.  And this one stars a girl as well.

Black Beauty – Autobiography of a horse told by the horse, who experiences both cruelty and kindness in his life.  The horse is even male, and is in no way related to My Little Pony.  I assume that this is for girls because boys can’t be bothered with the life history of an animal.

Little Women – A story about…the lives of a bunch of women.  Wait – does this mean girls shouldn’t be interested in stories about men either?

Heidi – A story about a little girl who is raised by her aunt after her parents die.  I’m assuming that because it’s a book about a little girl, and not a little boy, is why it is a “girls” classic and not a “boys” classic.  What, boys can’t relate to a little girl who has experienced a tragedy?  I guess not, since they’re boys and boys don’t have feelings.  Or something like that.

As someone who hates that there has to be a pink version of everything (there’s even a pink corn popper – oh the humanity!), I was really unpleasantly surprised to find this book of “Classics for Girls”.  These are great stories that can be enjoyed and related to by people of any gender.  If I were a parent of a boy, I would be equally annoyed that whoever put this book together thinks that my son could not understand or relate to these stories.  I would also want my son to see that women can star and be heroines in stories the same as men are.  That does seem to be the common thread in these stories – for the most part they all involve female lead characters (except for the horse – and horses are girls territory, we all know that).  So why not name the book something that reflects that – “Classics Starring Girls (and Horses) Who Kick Ass” or something along that line?

My daughter, who is almost 2, apparently has no clue of what she is “supposed” to like.  This is the book that she made a beeline for:

Of course we bought it for her.  That girl makes me proud.


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