Tuesday, October 26, 2010

gender busting and kiddos

Some very lovely peeps of mine (thanks Rachel and Trish) pointed me in the direction of a couple of really amazing resources for kiddos around gender non-conformity, and then I found a couple on my own.  If you've been sticking with the blog for a bit, you know that working against the grain of gender stereotyping and gendered social rules is an important issue to our family.   Boy-o, though in many ways stereotypical "boy", has also been known to wear a princess dress and rock the ponytails now and again.  And it's my hope that Girlio will follow her own path and find her own ways to circumnavigate all the heteronormative, gender normative messaging that's so pervasive in our culture.   (Because the strict rules we carry around gender limits, and sometimes hurts,both boys and girls.)   The reason I was so excited to find these resources,  is that there is a veritable dearth of information around rewriting and reworking the concept of  gender, and gender roles, particularly for the small set. 

Anyhoo -without further blabbing on my part - on to the resources!

The first is a series of three colouring books (and though as a general rule, I am anti-colouring book because they are more likely to stifle creativity than encourage it, for these I'll be making a big ole exception) created by Jacinta Bunnell, and illustrated by a host of artists.

The first book is called Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon. This colouring book's description explains: "We have the power to change fairy tales and nursery rhymes so that these stories are more realistic. . . . Sometimes the Spoon...aids the work of dismantling the Princess Industrial Complex by moving us forward with more honest representations of our children and ourselves. Color to your heart's content. Laugh along with the characters. Write your own fairy tales. Share your own truths."

Um, can we say "you had me at hello?!"

#2  in the series of colouring books is Girls are Not Chicks, which is described as "twenty-seven pages of feminist fun! . . . Color the Rapunzel for a new society. She now has power tools, a roll of duct tape, a Tina Turner album, and a bus pass!  Paint outside the lines with Miss Muffet as she tells that spider off and considers a career as an arachnologist!  Girls are not chicks. Girls are thinkers, creators, fighters, healers and superheroes."

Yup - Still loving it.

And then the latest in the series is Girls will Be Boys Will be Girls  which is touted as "a fun consciousness-raising tool for adults & children who want to unlearn a lifetime of sexist and heterosexist education."

Information about the author and illustrators, as well as ordering information at:  http://www.girlsnotchicks.com/ or  http://www.etsy.com/shop/parthenialoyal

I can tell ya that Santa might be getting his queer on and dropping a few of these goodies off at our house this year.

Then, while perusing one of the sites that the aforementioned colouring books are available at, I stumbled across a really cool sounding children's book. 10,000 Dresses, written by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by Rex Ray, explores the journey of a young boy who yearns to create and wear beautiful dresses. 

10,000 DressesThe publishers description says: "Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows. . . . Unfortunately, when Bailey's awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary. "You're a BOY!" Mother and Father tell Bailey. "You shouldn't be thinking about dresses at all." Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey's imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey's dreams come true!"

The book is available here: https://www.reachandteach.com/store/index.php?l=product_list&c=37

My Princess Boy BookMy Princess Boy is a book written by the mom of Cheryl Kilodavis about her own, and her family's experience with son Dyson's gender nonconformity.  Please watch the clip below about their family, Dyson's amazing school, and their experiences.  It is really so so lovely to see such openness to letting this little dudes negotiate his self-expression in a world that writes boys pretty darned narrowly (though I think I would've left my four year old at home, but that's just me).

And check out the book and the website:  http://myprincessboy.com/


  1. Yay!!! Looks like some fun stuff. I seriously almost went ballistic on a K workbook yesterday in which Simon was supposed to draw a line between boy-girl as opposites. *facepalm*

  2. Thank you for writing about these options - so interesting! I will definitely be picking a few of them up. I am currently working on a tween short story called "Queer as Folktale."

    Love the way you write, currently reading more... :)

  3. I read this when you posted it, but today, I saw this post for the first time. And I thought you'd like it. Hoping you haven't seen it yet...


    I haven't read anything else on the blog. It could be awful, as she is a cop's wife...but this was good.