So here’s the thing: My son loves fairies. Loves them. He can’t read enough books about fairies. He sees fairies out in the world. He has two fairy friends (albeit introduced by me, but propagated by him) who live in his bedroom. They communicate through written notes. So why does a book about fairies have to be a GIRLS’ book? Really.
I know that fairies “typically” fall into the category of “girl things,” but oh how I wish that authors or publishers did not feel compelled to label this book about fairies (like so many other things) with the gender of children for whom they (wrongfully) intend it. This narrowing of the market also narrows our collective consciousness. Even if someone knew that Q loved fairies, I’m certain they would not share this book with him. It’s for girls after all. And now it sends the message to anyone and everyone that fairies are only for girls. And, most importantly, sends the message to boys that, if they like fairies, that is wrong. Or they are really girls. So much for the broadening and opening of minds.
Of all things, I see literature as a place where Q can open up his imagination. He can see himself in any character, because that happens in his imagination. And he has done this with books about fairies to this point. Even though they feature mainly female characters, he identifies with them, delves into the stories, brings them alive in his life and his play. And I fear that once he can read he will see labels like the ones on the book above and they will send a message, loud and clear, that something is wrong. This book (and these kinds of books) are not for him. Or, if they are for him, something must be wrong with him. And that narrowing of choices and possibilities angers me. Beyond belief.
I have a son who loves fairies. Please, just let that love flourish as opposed to being shut away by some external source that is trying to align with social norms. And in so doing unwittingly promoting them.