I'm reprinting this from Hobo Mama in the hopes that children's authors take note: We need more variety in our characters, on so many levels. One is in animal-gender form.
All cats are girls, and all other animals are boys.
You'd think this was biologically improbable, but it's true.
Witness the admirably entertaining Pet's Tails touch-and-feel book by Jellycat, written by Anne Wilkinson. Every single pet on every page is a boy:
"I love my budgie — his tail is a beautiful blue."
"I love my stick insect — his tail is like a twig."
"I love my fish — his tail goes swish-swish."
I commend Wilkinson on her extensive research that correctly identified the masculinity of nearly all pets.
And then, suddenly, on the last page, for the final animal:
"I love my kitten — her tail is fluffy."
That's seven boy animals to one girl. Though, honestly, considering that only cats are female, statistically speaking it's a miracle a girl slipped in at all!
Ok, I kid, but this happens so often in children's literature and other media that it's a trope. Cats are girls, dogs are boys … and so is everything else. That's why it seems jarring for people that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park/World are females. Dinosaurs for sure were all boys, weren't they?
When I read this book out loud to my kids, I try to vary the genders a little to do my part.
I also have long rejoiced in the tales of Bunnicula, with their sarcastic male cat protagonist.
How often have you seen this cats-are-girls convention vs. otherwise?
P.S. Our two cats are girls. Because that's all there is. Or so I've been told.
|Why are you dressing me in a skirt? |
I defy your gender stereotypes!