It was International Men’s Day this week, so a great day to examine the stereotypes and expectations we put on young boys as they grow up.
In lots of children’s books, they’re superheroes, they don’t cry, they rescue, they earn all the money and prop up the family during sad times. Males in books are pirates, treasure hunters, monsters, baddies; often strong, always courageous.
BUT I don’t know many men who are always strong and always courageous in real life.
I know a lot who look after their children, cry when sad stuff happens, talk about their feelings. I know men who lean on their families when they’re struggling to cope and earn less than their wives.
Seeing more of these men in kids’ books would be fantastic and would give children an inkling that perhaps ‘Man’ isn’t a definition of temperament, characteristics, emotional stability or employment status. There isn’t one way to be a man.
If you want the kids around you to see more equality in their children’s books, and have them reading diverse children’s books, it’s definitely not going to happen by accident. You have to seek it out.
Check out our book boxes here.
In other gender equality news, earlier in the year we worked with a brilliant organisation called Lifting Limits . They are working with teachers and pupils to identify gender biases in teaching and support schools to operate holistically in a less gendered way.
The report is fascinating – dig in and get in touch if you’re interested in your school taking part in something similar.