I don’t want to be a princess: reflecting on the stories of gender
There are people around me with whom I share much of my life, that I can keep long conversations and to be very much in agreement or very much in disagreement and keep loving each other.
One of these people is Cristina Saraldi, guilty of me being here today, talking in her pond.
With her I speak frequently about a variety of topics, many of them related to children and parenting. Of course, it cannot miss talks about stories and what we tell our daughters.
One day Cristina wrote me to ask if I knew of stories that talk about gender equality and from there on, we had one of those long conversations which made me reflect.
It might seem that we are living in the time in which we live in gender equality, but the truth is that I don’t think so.
I feel that the reality of gender is far from what I seek for my children. It seems that the stories of gender, is a story with “subtitle to address the gender”, costing us as a society to integrate realities more diverse, where the stories don’t revolve around the gender, and if we look at the variety of families, realities and reflections, more appropriate to the social diversity which we live.
Today, I am convinced by the idea that stories are a reflection of the societies, of their moments and their values. And I am even more convinced that reading is a conversations between author and reader. And also, that reading with our daughters is a three-way conversation.
I can continue reading beautiful stories to my daughters, because we can talk about the role of women and men in all of them.
Okay, we can continue telling stories full of everyday male chauvinism because the story is very good.
But as a way of compensation we could have stories that reflect another reality, right? Stories to look at.
And I am not referring to all the stories that speak of princesses doing things that are supposed to be ground-breaking, such as farting, put on boots or even write.
I’m rather not attracted to the fact that we always have to identify with princesses or that farting is something extraordinary.
When I think of what I would like, I think of stories of adventure, of intrigue, of fear, or laughter, stories that keep me attentive to the reading to know how to resolve the plot. Stories that can be played both by boys as by girls, both men and women, without gender or social diversity, are the protagonists.
Then they come to my mind readings from my childhood:
“Abuelita Opalina” by María Puncel, collectionn Barco de Vapor, editorial SM.
A beautiful story about the relationship of grandparents and grandchildren, told by Isa, I never knew if it was a boy or a girl, the writing and the drawings is always a cause for doubt.
“Pippi Longstocking” by Astrid Lindgren, edited again by Blackie Books.
I never asked myself how could Pippi do everything being a girl, I saw it perfectly possible, she had thousands of questions to resolve much more interesting than the gender.
Readings that I have been finding after, as:
“Ernesto” by Lola Casas, edited by RBA Libros.
Leo, so fierce, looking for what he could eat that day, so he can ask his wife, who will be the one to go out to hunt while he stays with the offspring.
“The adventures of Cecilia and the Dragon” by Lawrence Schimel and Sara Rojo Pérez.
It could happen to a guy or a girl, the illusion of being with a Dragon, seeing it, smell it, watch it, it has no gender.
“La peluca de Luca”, a story of brave people.
A beautiful story that could happen in any school playground. Anyone can wear a wig
“The C Family” by Pep Bruno and Mariona Cabassa, edited by Kalandraka.
Or how a family prepares to go to see the circus, I would like to believe that for readers it is a book like all those that talk about routines and things that are done in the family. But in this book the father is making breakfast and the mother who runs off to work.
“El Libro Violeta” by Cristina Romero and Francis Marín, edited by Editorial OB STARE
A story to celebrate the diversity and an invitation to be happy as we are.
These are the books that I think speak of gender equality, these are the stories that I like to read, that I love to tell.
For the number of books published per year, I don’t have many titles, honestly. Perhaps, we could all enlarge this list.
Thanks Cristina for putting me to think and thank you all those who read, I will love to read your comments.