Great news! Scholastic Books has come out with How To Survive Anything books — two to be exact, one for Boys Only! and one for Girls Only!
Because we all know that boys and girls need to survive different challenges. For example, while boys learn how to survive a snakebite (my pro tip: stay the heck away from snakes) girls learn how to survive a breakout (my pro tip: stay away from mirrors?). I am not kidding. I wish I could make up stuff like this. (You know, because then I’d be a published author with Scholastic Books.)
So what’s going on here?
It can’t be that Scholastic Books is that tone deaf to the fact that we are in the 21st century and most people who can brush their own teeth are offended by outlandish stereotypes. (Although admittedly the How to Turn a No Into a Yes chapter seems somewhat less terrifying in the Girls Only! version than in the Boys Only! one.) Perhaps they were going for nostalgia, appealing to the grandparents who are yearning for the simpler times of yesteryear with more conventional gender roles. In which case I’d appreciate chapters on “How to Survive Baking a Perfect Bundt Cake” and “How to Survive Feminism.” Or maybe Scholastic intended the books to be a teaching tool for parents to share with their children, books that the whole family could gather around and laugh about, “oh, those silly writers. Don’t they know that girls care about more than How to Survive a Fashion Disaster?”
But I suspect that someone at Scholastic simply thought these books were a good idea.I don’t know if Scholastic makes decisions on the content of their books by committee, but the fact that there was even one person publishing books for children who thought that these books are anything but offensive is, well, offensive. And not just because boys could use a chapter on How to Survive a Crush, too.