Stuff I’m Suddenly Peevish About
July 18th, 2009 by Sonja

 It all started with a rainy, windy Saturday afternoon.  We took the LightChildren and a friend down to Church Street to see the sights and pass some time because when it’s rainy and windy “dey ain’t nuthin’ doin'” at the cottage.  So off we went to find our fortunes … or perhaps a board game and a fresh book.  LightBoy in particular was in need of fresh reading material.  So once the rain really started we took refuge in Borders.  After finding a board game based on Halo, we made our way to the Young Adult section to find a book or two for our young man.  There we were accosted by shelf upon shelf of book covers that missed the bulls eye of soft porn only by the narrowest of margins.  There were books all aimed at young women wanting to fit in and these days it would appear that fitting in requires merchandizing your body and making an object of it.  That was the lesson I took from the book covers.  It was difficult to find a book which would hold a young man’s interest in that section and we gave up … and got him Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  I’m not certain the books in that section would hold my daughter’s interest either … but that’s another story.

Then later in the week two other things happened.  First I had a mini-reunion with my two best (girl) friends from highschool.  We’ve maintained sporadic contact in the (cough-cough) years since graduation and get together too infrequently for all of us.  This was the longest reunion of all … we got to spend eight hours together all at one whack.  It was fabulous.  In a funny coincidence, we all three have two children; each of us have an oldest daughter and a youngest son.  The daughters are all in highschool and the sons are all in middle school.  Among many of the issues we discussed about our children was that of reading and books and from there the larger issue of boys and reading.  So it was with interest that I followed the second happening –  Open Mic at IMonk Cafe:  What Boys Might Read … there was a fairly lively discussion (128 comments at last count) about books of interest to boys at the middle to high school age.

It’s a great thread and is an incredible resource of reading material for all children in the middle to highschool ages.  I’m going to be referring back to it again and again throughout the year for both LightChildren.  LightGirl has read many of the books suggested, but there are many there she hasn’t.  LightBoy would enjoy many of them and has yet to engage them.  But here’s the thing that makes me peevish … what the hell was going on in Borders and why couldn’t I see any of those books that day?   The only thing I could see were dime store trash aimed at girls.  I didn’t say anything, but LightBoy turned to me in frustration and said, “Mom, these are all girls books.  Where are the books I’d like.”  I had to find a computer and do an age related search to find a book.  It was ridiculous.

Girls BikeThen I started really thinking about it.  I remembered back to when I was young.  I had a blue bike.  The only thing that denoted that my bike was a “girls” bike was the cross bar; mine swooped down for my now non-existant skirt.  The bikes my brothers rode had a crossbar that went straight across and if they jammed their crotch on them it was very painful.  Makes no sense.  Given our anatomical differences, boys should have the low, swoopy cross bar and the one for the girls should go straight across.  But back when bikes were first developed, girls wore skirts.  Now, of course, when one attempts to purchase a bike for one’s child one must purchase a pink flowery bike for a girl or a blue racing-ish bike for a boy.  This means that if you have a child of each gender you buy two bikes of every size (or you become adept at painting bikes).

Have you looked at women’s clothing lately?  Particularly outerwear?  Most of it is pink or purple.  Heaven forfend if you want navy blue, then you have to buy men’s sizes.  What if you have big feet?  Then you are relegated to men’s sizes and men’s (boring) colors.  Land’s End/Sears is the worst.  I’m fairly certain there are gay men with big feet who want brightly colored foot wear.  And there are women with big feet out there who want it too.  Like me.  And there are women with smaller feet who don’t want to wear brightly colored footwear, they want to wear the boring colors.  And short men with small feet.  The point is … why the genderism/sexism in all the marketing?

Is this what all of the feminists really fought for?  Is this what equality really looks like?   Really?   Somehow, I don’t think so.  It doesn’t feel right, or just or sane at all to me.  I’m not advocating for men and women to look alike by any means, I celebrate my difference daily.  But the result of this feminist revolution seems to be that we have fewer choices, not more and those choices seem to be based on market forces, rather than justice.

and it all makes me really peevish.

8 Responses  
  • Jennsews2 writes:
    July 18th, 20099:26 amat

    Amen, amen, and amen!!!!

  • Jamie Arpin-Ricci writes:
    July 18th, 20099:38 amat

    In respect the Borders, this is a sad reflection of a market-based culture that seeks to accommodate the most profitable trends, even if they reinforce terrible values. There was a time bookstores had a more noble place in our culture. Some still do, but they are fewer than they should be.

  • brad writes:
    July 19th, 20091:57 pmat

    Side note on books for boys. Several people on iMonk post mentioned Ender’s Game. Worth checking out is: *2MPower Writing: Teaching from Great Literature – Ender’s Game* by Arno Vigen, for teaching language comprehension and writing skills. How cool of a home-school unit would that be?!

  • Keith Bruzelius writes:
    July 19th, 20092:20 pmat

    I follew the track-back from iMonk. It was a great post. I notice you call the kids the lightChildren, lightBoy, etc. I don’t know if you’ve ever checked this out, but here’s a link to a story by George MacDonald at CCEL:
    The whole site is extradorinary, but this story is kind of cool if you’re Light :-)

  • Keith Bruzelius writes:
    July 19th, 20092:29 pmat

    A link to a George MacDonald story you might like at

  • Sonja writes:
    July 19th, 20099:07 pmat

    @Jamie … you’re right. And ordinarily we frequent independent bookstores, however, we were looking for a broad range of items (games, books, and other things) plus it was raining. So Borders snagged us.

    @Brad … thanks for the heads up. I’m thinking of combing through the iMonk post and turning the suggestions into a database of some sort. It would be a great resource especially for the homeschooling community. So that teaching resource is also good to have. I may be picking your brain for any more of those you might know of 😉

    @Keith … welcome to Calacirya (the Ravine of Light)! And thank you for the link. I loved! that story. It was fabulous. I’ve used that source for other things before but had never seen that story, so thanks!!

  • Steve Hayes writes:
    July 27th, 20098:33 pmat

    What actual age is “middle-to-high school”?

    Educational systems vary in different countries, and even sometimes within the same country, so it is difficult to translate.

    Have your kids read Harry Potter?

    Or is that too young for them, so that they will only grow into it later?

    Talking of pink and purple, most of the “Christian” books in the “religious” sections of our bookshops have pink and purple covers, with script-style fonts. I’ve never been tempted to open any.

  • Liz writes:
    July 28th, 20091:13 pmat

    @ media. Media is all about tracking what sells. I am totally with you on the soft porn. I don’t think this is so much “sexism” at work as simply a bunch of copy cat authors all feeding on a trend. Hence the sheer number of books. I’m with you that its trash. And don’t even get me going on Twilight. I haven’t actually noticed whatever Border’s latest stock in the kiddie dept is, since in the name of saving money, my daughter has been going to the library as opposed to buying books lately.
    @ Lands End/Sears. I used to love Lands End. Since Sears bought them, they suck a little more and more each year. Not surprising. I have a never ending hatefest going on with Sears. Sears just stinks, that’s all. They make their vacuums just a teeny bit different from the norm so you have to get them repaired through them and not at your local vacuum fixer guy. Of course it costs more. Ditto on their photo studio: the size is just a teeny bit different so you either have to buy THEIR frames or get your kids photo custom framed. Etc. The list goes on..and on…and on… now that Eddie Bauer’s future is precarious, I’m gettin’ nervous about my potential clothing sources drying up. I guess I don’t see it as “sexism” though. I haven’t noticed the clothes aimed at adult women being all pink and purple. I’m rather fond of greens and black myself and usually find enough to replenish my supply when I need to. I WILL be more than happy when the ugly prints that are currently in vogue vanish from the fashion scene. Who designs these fabrics? And who thought people might be missing all that polyester from the seventies? Men’s clothing, boring and untrendy as it is, just doesn’t seem to fall prey to this stuff. Guys don’t care. They replace their clothing by when it wears out, not by staying abreast of trends. If you happen to be a woman who thinks this way, good luck to you in finding what what you liked two years ago on a rack today. The only conspiracy is one designed to make you spend more money.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa