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Part II: Are All Covers Created Equal? Bank Street 6th-Graders Weigh In On GENDER.

March 18, 2013

This time, we talked about gender in covers.  What, you ask, did we learn?  Hear it from the 6th-graders themselves…

New to this story?  Check out Part I.

“Some books are marketed specifically to girls and some are marketed specifically to boys.”

“It seems like the girls really care about how they look…  You don’t see clothes like that on covers with boys.”

“The boy books all look like they’re going to have a really big adventure.”

“The girls’ books are lighter colors than the boys’.”

“In the girls’ covers, there’s not much happening.”

“The guys have tense looks, and the girls are like, whooooo…”

“The publishers seem to think that girls are really into romance.”

“You never see pink on a book about monster trucks.”

Just as some covers “hide” a character’s race (see Part I), we learned that some covers “hide” a character’s gender…

“The 5th book of the BASEBALL CARD ADVENTURE series is interesting.  The book is called MICKEY AND ME.  The main character is going back in time to see Mickey Mantle but ends up seeing Dorothy Maguire.  She played catcher and her mask was blocking her face which was interesting… In the one book that is about a female ball player there is no evidence on the cover that is true.”

We ruminated on the “pinkification” of girly culture.

“Some of these covers… I don’t know.  I would be embarrassed to read that on the subway.”

We vowed not to let others define us.

“People have the right to like any color they want and be anything they want to be.”

To be continued in Part III, which features a field trip to a certain bookstore chain that will not be named.

Edit: Part III is now up.  Also check out Part I (on race) if you haven’t already.

Edit 7/16: Part IV is up.  Awesome editors have an honest conversation with the kids.

Edit 7/29: The wrap-up, Part V, is now up.  We ruminate and reflect.

EDIT from 2015: Check out the followup series, in which we reflect on how this curriculum has evolved over the past few years, here.

-Allie Jane Bruce


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