Occasionally I read the kid a book that contains some wording that I don’t like, or shows behaviour that I don’t want her to emulate, but I carry on with the story and usually forget. Today I read a story that has been bothering me since.
The story is about a little girl with a goal – good, right? But then there’s another little girl that she doesn’t like. Here are the reasons she gives:
“Tiffany was the new girl. Tiffany was big. Tiffany was loud. Tiffany had hairy arms.”
As I was reading these short sentences I got uncomfortable. When I got to the last one I regretted reading the book.
I have hairy arms. It was something I was made self-conscious about this when I was young and for most of my adolescence felt like I was a horrible hairy best and no one else looked like me. That’s not true, and I know that now.
On top of being fat I had no reason to believe that any boy ever looked twice at me, or should ever.
Right now when my daughter asks me about her hairy arms – which she did just about a week ago and I’m still not sure why – I can show her mine and tell her that it’s normal. I don’t know how long she’ll believe that, especially when books like this decide that a feature my daughter has is a reason to give for disliking somebody.
She’s also going to be big, and she tends to be pretty loud.
Don’t get me started on automatically disliking the new girl.
I don’t know what would lead the author of Missy’s Super Duper Royal Deluxe Class Pets to write out those particular reasons, I don’t know if it occurred to anyone in the editing process that it would make a kid like my kid feel bad about who she is, but I think it should have.
We won’t be reading about Missy again.