Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Boys draw, girls doodle: More needlessly gendered children's products

These two books just showed up in a book order form that was sent home from school

The picture is horrible, but they are two doodle books, one for boys and another for girls.

They boys book's description says
Draw a cool tree house, a flying machine, and much more! Let your imagination run wild with these illustration starters.

The girls book description says
Doodle a dolphin, picture a penguin, design a fancy costume, and more! Fun, simple, and best of all, no drawing skills required!

So, boys can draw, girls doodle (less skill required). Boys get to use their imagination, starting with illustrations and then deciding where to go from there.

The part that annoys me most is that the girls book requires no skill. I am assuming that the skill required for both books is quite similar, but the approach to selling the concept of drawing is quite different by gender.

Maybe boys feel more of a sense of mastery than girls that permits them to be less intimidated by learning something new, like drawing, even if they do not necessarily have previous drawing skills? I'm not sure exactly, but the girls book is definitely deskilled in comparison to the boys book (just like women's work in the home is deskilled in comparison to paid work).


  1. This article, as your previous ones, has revealed what many of the enlightened amongst us carry in our collective guts. We are the 40+ women who have lived through the covertly delivered, oppressive messages that target women from childhood.

    It is an effective means of lessening a woman's ability to realize her full potential in order to sustain patriarchy and the status quo. We become consumers of the reality this framework manufactures for us and thus, we become the instruments of our own enslavement.

    I would challenge only one point in this article. The title is mis-worded. "Needlessly" is a misnomer. This type of wording is absolutely essential ammunition in the war against women. We know. We bear the wounds of it.

  2. At least they changed the colors for the books. Girls is blue and Boys is red.

  3. Wait a minute, I thought that girls were supposed to be better, according to the gender laws, at the arts because they were essentially "emotional" and boys didn't have to worry about drawing and/or doodling because of their "rational" essence that orientated them towards sciences and maths, those "masculine" ways of thinking that are supposed to be far superior than the "feminine" disciplines. (At least until they grow up, and then men are supposed to be better at everything.) Why can't they keep their gender rules straight so I will know how to raise the next generation of girls and boys?

  4. Tess... great comment. I do agree that needlessly should be a misnomer, and I am amused that I hadn't considered that previously. I think that is telling, in and of itself.

    JMP, love the comment. I do need them to clarify this quickly so I don't destroy my children by teaching them the wrong gender rules!