Building Children’s Resilience To Sexualisation and Gender Stereotypes

by Rachel Bell on March 7, 2016

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I’ll be sharing some really practical strategies on this at the all new festival for International Women’s Day, POWThanet, this Saturday 12th March. Mums, dads, carers, aunties, uncles, grandparents, educators of girls and of boys all welcome – I’ll be at Turner Contemporary, Margate, in Foyle Room 3 at 4pm. I’m also really up for hearing parents’ and carers’ own experiences of the heavily gendered world affecting their kids –it’s what spurred me on to write a Gender Equality policy for pre-schools and primary schools. Kids need all the help they can get to navigate the bonkers culture that sees a girl dampen my four year old boy’s confidence by telling him his orange squirrel tee is ‘for girls’, that sees a girl made to dress up as a princess to get into a party. Meanwhile, it was World Book Day! so here are some great places to find books that celebrate equality and diversity, books with girls in their own adventures, books with caring boys, single mums or dads, same sex parents, mixed race families, kids who are free to be themselves and not boxed in by Princess and Superhero culture.

A Mighty Girl – one-stop site for books, films, media and awesome facts and stuff about girls. No princesses waiting to be chosen or rescued here

Letterbox Library – booksellers that celebrate equality and diversity
PearlPowerclub – books for 4-8 yr olds about a girl who strives for gender equality
Let Books Be Books –  do you want your child to think certain books are ‘off limits’ or they are getting it wrong because it’s labelled for the opposite sex? This campaign group asks book manufacturers and retailers to stop dividing kids’ books by gender
RivetingPress.comgirl-positive publisher of comics and books promoting and encouraging smart and strong independent girls

And two of my faves:
Girls Are Best by Sandi Toksvig
Set women’s herstory straight with this book that’s full with myth-busting fun facts about girls’ and women’s achievements. Read the Florence Nightingale bit.
He Bear She Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Books that teach body ownership/consent:
Your Body Belongs To You and No Means No teach 3-7 year olds that they are in charge of their bodies and can choose whether to give physical affection etc. Go to A Mighty Girl for these and read this useful link re book, I Don’t Own My Child’s Body

For books on healthy relationships and recognising unhealthy ones for 9-12s and teens, check out this post: 20 Mighty Girl Books For Tweens and Teens About Healthy Relationships

For Grown-ups:
@DadvPink on Twitter
Living Dolls by Natasha Walter
The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard is an easy-reading way to walk in a girl and woman’s shoes for a day
The Macho Paradox – Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help by Jackson Katz is a book every man should read. It’s about hip hop, sport and masculinity in pop culture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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