Every time we go, I find a few books that are disturbing or that aren’t a “good choice” for the girls. But the most disturbing book I have encountered to date was in the nonfiction section by Cheryl Kilodavis titled My Princess Boy-A Mom’s Story About a Young Boy Who Loves to Dress Up.
The story line goes a little bit like this
The little boy in the story loves to dress up in dresses, wear pink and even wears a pink dress to his own Birthday party. The mom calls him (privately and publicly) “My Princess Boy” and details how hurt they both are when people laugh at him in public. The final page reads “If you see him, will you laugh at him? Will you call him a name? WIll you play with him? Will you like him for who he is?”
Now, this book may seem simple and straight to the point…no bullying, accept people for who they are, etc. etc. But there are a couple of things that are VERY wrong with this.
1) The author is trying to imply that society will be, and SHOULD BE for that matter, accepting of boys dressing like girls. I’d have to say this isn’t so true. People do stare. People do laugh. People do judge. We are different genders with different labels. They are not intertwining. It’s one thing for a little boy who has sister or lots of girl friends to be dressed up, play with dolls, etc etc…but no one is telling him that he should go out in public like that, or wear a dress to his Birthday party. It is not the norm to see a boy wearing a dress. To say otherwise isn’t promoting an idea of acceptance, it’s promoting ignorance.
2) The purpose of the final page is GUILT, and only guilt. A young child reading this book would feel bad for not accepting a boy dressing like a girl. With everything going on in the world, children are already targets of persuasion. Institutions are constantly insisting that we not leave others out, accept one another, don’t judge a book by its’ cover, the list goes on. Certainly in life, the goal is not to make others feel bad about who they are, but you cannot imply that we must accept the lifestyles other choose, just because they choose them.
Further, such heavy and biased issues don’t really belong in a children’s book. Issues such as this should be discussed in the home, based on religious (if applicable) and personal views of the family, not by a woman who is suggesting that society should be accepting of something simply because she accepts her own son in that context.
*While looking for a picture of the book to include on the blog, a Google search produced ‘My Princee Boy-The Website” It can be found here: http://www.myprincessboy.com/index.asp
It details the book and the mission of the author. The real princess boy has made appearances on Joy Behar (surprise), the Today show and shows overseas….in his pink dress and a tutu.