Check out this BuzzFeed article about a Scholastic Books series called Survive Anything! The article claims that the books are “misogynistic” because there is an edition for boys and an edition for girls. The boys’ edition teaches things like “How to Survive a Tornado”, “How to Survive a Broken Leg” and, perhaps least usefully, “How to Survive a T-Rex”. (Oughtn’t they at least teach how to survive time-travel first?) The girls’ edition, on the other hand, teaches stuff like “How to survive a BFF Fight”, “How to Show You’re Sorry” and “Top Tips for Speechmaking”.
This, the writer at BuzzFeed says, is not right. Why do girls get tips on emotional, domestic-type stuff when boys get tips on how to survive in the wild?
Well, I agree it’s not right, of course. But I don’t think it’s misogynistic. It’s really just sexist. But if you must use a stronger term, it’s misandrist. Surviving a tornado is a useful skill, although frankly, unless you already have tornado shelter built, it’s purely a matter of luck. Most of the Indiana Jones-like scenarios the boys’ version seems to cover are situations that (a) probably will never happen and (b) would be decided mostly by chance if they did happen.
The girls edition teaches all sorts of things that might actually occur. I’m a man, and I’ve never needed to know how to survive my parachute failing, but I have had to give speeches and say “I’m sorry” for things. But these books merely assume that men would never be concerned with such things. Well, enough of that prejudiced thinking, say I! I resent the notion that we fellas are only good for feats of brute strength and endurance, and that the civilized arts of diplomacy are closed to us!