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#1 MintyBiscuit

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:09 AM

Ok, as many of you may have noted if you've seen my various rants about various subjects over the last few weeks, I'm not what I'd call a feminist. Many have questioned why, both on EB and in real life, and I'm sure many think I'm a lunatic. But things like this are why the words feminism and feminist make me cringe

http://www.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/...0122-2d461.html

Apparently The Very Cranky Bear is an anti-woman diatribe  huh.gif

Now, I agree that there are plenty of facets of life where we are a long way from the genders being equal, and women's rights in large areas of the world are utterly pathetic. But seriously? Do people not see that by making comments like this it makes them seem like they're reaching? There are surely better examples to illustrate a point.

Asbestos panties on, so have at it EB!


#2 cinnabubble

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:16 AM

I stopped taking you seriously when you said you weren't a feminist. The article seems eminently sane to me and I probably would have drawn the same conclusions.

#3 elizabethany

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

The article is a load of dung.  There is a big difference between raising children that are subservient and using the phrase "good girl".

If it was just the phrase, and not raising, then using the phrase "Good boy" would be equally as damaging.  But it is obviously not.

The author needs to get over her own predjudices and realise that you can be self reliant and self assured and still be a good person, irrespective of gender.

#4 gabbigirl

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

Actually I think the story is a good example of the subliminal messages we give our daughters.  

note to self - do not ever buy the very cranky bear book.

#5 PixieVee

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:23 AM

I don't think the article is saying that the book (which I've never heard of btw) is anti-woman diatribe. It's using the book to show how entrenched it is that women will be the ones to give of themselves to make men happy.

#6 Pompol

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

QUOTE (gabbigirl @ 24/01/2013, 09:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually I think the story is a good example of the subliminal messages we give our daughters.


This was my thought too. It's the subtext that's damaging, the constant reinforcement that women are the noble martyrs. This has been an incredibly damaging message in my life and the life of my family - especially for my mother who is forever going without, unnecessarily, to meet others' needs and is a very sad woman as a result.

I am so conscious of NOT buttonholing my daughter into the same mindset. It's a recipe for misery.



#7 stephanu

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

In regards to the book, it's not that she's a girl sheep that makes her plain, it's that she's a sheep. It's not because it's a male bear that makes him grizzly, it's because he's a bear. How utterly ridiculous.

If you have a problem with the genders of the characters, switch them. Doesn't change the story.

#8 Riotproof

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:40 AM

QUOTE (PixieVee @ 24/01/2013, 09:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think the article is saying that the book (which I've never heard of btw) is anti-woman diatribe. It's using the book to show how entrenched it is that women will be the ones to give of themselves to make men happy.

That's what I got out of it.

I don't like "good boy" either, preferring to praise behaviour instead "good listening", "thanks for being so cooperative" etc

#9 BookishOne

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:42 AM

QUOTE (Madame Protart @ 24/01/2013, 09:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Girls are brought up to not make a fuss, say yes when we mean no, don't hurt anyone's feelings (especially a male!)  by giving your real opinion.  It's how women put up with sh*tty situations in employment and relationships - we've been trained and conditioned to not 'fuss' least someone thinks we're not a 'lady'.


Really?? I was brought up to believe I should always stand up for myself, to have an opinion and not be afraid to voice it, think critically and question something if I think it is wrong / unfair etc, and to work hard to be anything I wanted to be regardless of typical gender roles.

#10 Mmmcheese

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:43 AM

The point is that is an example of just one book. When you look at all the children's books and look at the genders and what the characters do and how they behave a pattern emerges. That's not what I want my daughter hearing day in and day out. Damn right I'm thinking critically about the books that I read to her and I'm teaching her to think critically too. (At the grand old age of 21 months!) wootferretof doom linked to a really good article about how stories (movies, books, tv) influence the culture and the way people think, I'll go see if I can find the link.

#11 MintyBiscuit

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:48 AM

QUOTE (stopwhiningatme @ 24/01/2013, 09:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Saying you're not a feminist because of the rabid feminists is like saying you don't give a sh*t about the environment because of the rabid hippie living at the top of a tree in Tasmania.

You know, sometimes feminists disagree with each other.  I've disagreed with Germaine Greer plenty of times.

If you don't believe in equal rights for women, then just say so.

Oh, and I haven't read the article.


Yes, clearly I said I don't believe in women's rights  rolleyes.gif I didn't say I'm not a feminist because of articles like this, I said articles like this make me cringe at the idea of feminism. I don't consider myself a feminist for a whole number of reasons, and the rabid feminists are just a small reason.


QUOTE (gabbigirl @ 24/01/2013, 09:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually I think the story is a good example of the subliminal messages we give our daughters.  

note to self - do not ever buy the very cranky bear book.


ok, you haven't bought it, but have you read it? It's a story about five animals, not about men and women

QUOTE (PixieVee @ 24/01/2013, 09:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think the article is saying that the book (which I've never heard of btw) is anti-woman diatribe. It's using the book to show how entrenched it is that women will be the ones to give of themselves to make men happy.


anti-woman diatribe was definitely my wording.

QUOTE (Madame Protart @ 24/01/2013, 09:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't know the book but I agree with the author of the article one billion %, so I'll take her word for it.


This is the part that frustrates me. This book is one of a series about the character Bear, but it's a kids book about animals. Maybe I'm really naive (I can already tell a lot of you would think so), but I just don't see how a story about five animals can be teaching little girls to be subservient. The story would remain the same if the sheep was a boy, and for the record, the sheep isn't just doing it to appease the bear - she's doing it so her and her friends get something out of the deal (a warm cave to play in on a cold and wet day). It irks me that some people will read this article and think "bah, never buying his books" when he has written some beautiful books.



#12 Bluenomi

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:49 AM

Having read the book many times I think that article is full of crap. It's about a BEAR. He's cranky and someone helps him to not be cranky. That's it.

Next they'll be saying The Very Hungry Bear encourages eating disorders and The Very Itchy Bear encourages bad hygine.

#13 MintyBiscuit

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:50 AM

QUOTE (Mmmcheese @ 24/01/2013, 09:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The point is that is an example of just one book. When you look at all the children's books and look at the genders and what the characters do and how they behave a pattern emerges. That's not what I want my daughter hearing day in and day out. Damn right I'm thinking critically about the books that I read to her and I'm teaching her to think critically too. (At the grand old age of 21 months!) wootferretof doom linked to a really good article about how stories (movies, books, tv) influence the culture and the way people think, I'll go see if I can find the link.


I think it was this one?

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-you-don...ing-your-brain/

I agree that if you don't agree with the message you shouldn't read your kids the book, and that's entirely fair enough. I just find this particular example really harsh, and a very long stretch in my mind. It's a book we've read many times to DS and he loves it, and I have honestly never considered the genders of the animals to be relevant as the story would remain exactly the same if it was a boy sheep and a girl bear.

ETA - I'll beat everyone to it - yes, the fact I don't consider the genders relevant is obviously half the problem wink.gif

Edited by HollyOllyOxenfree, 24 January 2013 - 08:51 AM.


#14 MintyBiscuit

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:56 AM

Oh, I should've pointed out in my OP, I agree to a point with the idea of good girl not being something that's ideal to reiterate constantly. But I also feel the same about good boy. I don't like any language that constantly focuses on good or bad with children, I much prefer to focus on the behaviour itself.

#15 MintyBiscuit

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:59 AM

QUOTE (Madame Protart @ 24/01/2013, 09:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But the fact is the sheep isn't a male, and the bear isn't a female.  Why?  

And honestly, you wouldn't find it strange if there was a very cranky FEMALE bear that a male was trying to please and calm down?  It's playing right into stereotypes.


As I said, I barely noticed the genders. And the whole point of the book is that each animal actually tries to appease the cranky bear, male and female. And they do it to achieve their own end - somewhere warm to play. This is half my point. People who haven't read the book are now assuming it's all about this poor girl sheep desperately trying to appease this big mean bear. The way she has talked about the book in the article gives a completely false notion of the point of the story.

#16 stephanu

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:59 AM

Here is how the story goes.

A group of animals enter the bears cave to escape the rain. The bear is angry because the other animals came into his cave and woke him up, so he kicks them out. The not plain animals (a zebra, lion and moose) decide that he's so cranky because he's not interesting looking, like they are. So they sneak in to his cave and give him a makeover to look like them. This makes him even crankier. He's tired and wants to sleep.  He doesn't care how he looks. So the sheep fashions him a pillow, and he's so grateful he lets them play in his cave.

#17 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:59 AM

I relate more to the bear this week.

#18 Mmmcheese

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

Yep, that's the one. We still read the books, but I point out it's more often the girls that make peace in the situation. Or that we have heaps of books with lots of boys in them, why aren't there more stories with girls in them.



#19 BadCat

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:05 AM

I'm partly with you OP.

I will often not refer to myself as a feminist because of the loony fringe.  I am, however, a feminist.  It depends on the company I'm in whether I am willing to use the term.  With my brothers for example, a feminist is nothing more than a lesbian with hairy armpits wearing bib overalls and abusing menfolk as they wander harmlessly past.  (Yes, I come from a dodgy family).   With DH I can refer to myself as a feminist because he gets it.

The business about the book is bunk as far as I'm concerned.

And the bit about saying good girl?  Well surely it's all about context.  IF you tell your daughter she's a good girl every time she sacrifices something but not when she achieves something then of course you're teaching her the wrong thing.  But I hardly think by saying good girl to your child who was just done her first poop in the toilet you are setting her up for a life of subservience.

It doesn't have to be a rigid script.  It just calls for a little thought about how you are using words.  It's the same as telling a girl she looks pretty.  It she's dressed up for an occassion then it's fine, but if it's your go to comment whenever you see her then you need to dig a little deeper and see the person inside.

#20 bebe12

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

Hi,

Firstly of course its a girl sheep- otherwise it would be a ram. If you go to a farm sheep are female and rams keep separate.

If you choose to teach your girls that there only role is to put themselves last that is what they learn.

I have a DD and now DS neither will be told its ok to put themselves last, but when making decision they should consider the impact they have on others regardless of gender.

My DD going in to Year 7 is told she can be what ever she wants to be - Her role models are doctors, scientist, engineers, lawyers, teachers, marketers etc. And these role models are her parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles. She also can look up to anyone she finds out about.

They learn what we model. We currently have a female PM. So the good girl role this reporter is on about is her own hang up.

But just my reaction to the article.

#21 RedBob

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

You can be a feminist and still have issues with strands of feminist philosophy. I am. FWIW, I've always had issues with the concept of all women being oppressed by all men, because it completely sidelines the class issue and ignores the fact that while someone like Gina Rinehart is oppressed because she's female, she's still a whole lot less oppressed that the woman who cleans her office at 3am.

But I will still call myself a feminist, because I believe in women's liberation.

#22 Jane Jetson

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

I am tired of always having to disassociate myself from the media construct of the "loony fringe" every time I say I'm a feminist. If more of us just identified as feminists perhaps we could erode the unshaven lesbian separatist image, rather than half of us claiming we're not feminist (which is basically laying a claim to not supporting women's rights to an equal share of life) and the other half saying we are BUT and then feeding straight back into the stereotype.

I think the article makes a good point, and that there are subliminal messages all over the shop that reinforce women's role as the nurturer and the self-sacrificing one. (Who posted that excellent blog about Beauty and the Beast the other day? That was great.) I wish the author had mentioned more than just one children's book, because now everyone's going to just pick apart her critique of this one specific book.

#23 EsmeLennox

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:30 AM

Actually gendered fictions and the ways in which gender is constructed in texts is a large area of exploration in any upper school English curriculum. Readers do take up 'gendered' readings of texts due to certain traits and characteristics the characters have. There are many text books written on this subject, and I do think it warrants consideration, so in that regard I agree with the author of the article. I also don't think she comes across as particularly rabid at all, rather it strikes me as a thout full and considered argument about gender in our society.

In most of our literature male characters are presented as active, mobile, public, rational and desiring. Female characters are often presented as passive, static, private, emotional and desirable. This is very prevalent in children's literature, so I think the author is right to question how characters are presented to children.

Quite a few authors have deliberately written literature to challenge the stance, deliberately setting readers up to to view particular characters as male or female. The are some excellent text books and literature that clearly show how, as readers, we assume certain traits to be female and certain ones to be male. Read, for example, 'The Company of Wolves' by Angela Carter. Actually, in keeping with the Little Red Riding Hood theme, another great version does a brilliant job of challenging gender is the film 'Hoodwinked'.

Considering gender in literature gets into questioning the dominant ideological paradigm in which we are raising our children, and it is an important consideration. Literature does send kids messages about behaviour according to gender, luckily though, there is more and more out there that challenges those traditional roles too.

Edited by Jemstar, 24 January 2013 - 09:40 AM.


#24 rosiebird

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:31 AM

QUOTE (HollyOllyOxenfree @ 24/01/2013, 08:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ok, as many of you may have noted if you've seen my various rants about various subjects over the last few weeks, I'm not what I'd call a feminist. Many have questioned why, both on EB and in real life, and I'm sure many think I'm a lunatic. But things like this are why the words feminism and feminist make me cringe

http://www.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/...0122-2d461.html

Apparently The Very Cranky Bear is an anti-woman diatribe  huh.gif

Now, I agree that there are plenty of facets of life where we are a long way from the genders being equal, and women's rights in large areas of the world are utterly pathetic. But seriously? Do people not see that by making comments like this it makes them seem like they're reaching? There are surely better examples to illustrate a point.

Asbestos panties on, so have at it EB!


It's very interesting that you use the word "diatribe" in this context. In fact, it is not at all like a diatribe - it is a subtle, pervasive theme, even in children's literature. Feminists discussing inequality - now apparently that is a diatribe.  rolleyes.gif


#25 stephanu

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:32 AM

QUOTE (Madame Protart @ 24/01/2013, 09:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But the fact is the sheep isn't a male, and the bear isn't a female.  Why?  

And honestly, you wouldn't find it strange if there was a very cranky FEMALE bear that a male was trying to please and calm down?  It's playing right into stereotypes.


Because that's how the author decided to write this particular book. If it was the other way around no one would notice. I'm sure there are many books written with a weaker male character and a strong female character, or with both characters male, or both characters female. There is variation out there. Should we be cancelling out any book where the female happens to be the weaker character?

And no, I would not find it strange if the cranky bear was a girl bear. In the context of the book the bear has every right to be cranky, not to mention its a grizzly bear. If it were changed around would we be discussing how terrible it is that the girl bear is being stereotyped as a temperamental woman being placated by the poor whipped male? We can apply bad stereotypes to any situation.




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