I don’t usually write about children’s books, but when I came across this awful book I just could not contain my revulsion.
For those of you who don’t know, I work at a primary school, and quite often I have the pleasure of listening to children read. At times it can bore me stiff when a child finds no enjoyment in reading and I’m subjected to endure ten minutes of incomprehensible monotone mumbling. Luckily, most children do enjoy reading and on good days I strike gold when children are so enthusiastic about what they’re reading that they’re literally gushing.
I was not, however, impressed with the gushing of a certain 9 year old girl when she presented me with this book here on the left. I was, in fact, horrified. She was so excited about sharing it with me that she read every word on the front and back of the book before she even opened the ugly pink thing. Now I have nothing against pink – I actually really like pink and must own at least 10 different shades of pink hijabs (most of which I could never pull off but that’s besides the point); but when pink becomes a symbol of all things superficial and pretentious, there is everything wrong with that colour. Back to my horrified face: this girl was so in love, she was practically stroking this book entitled The Girl’s Book of Glamour: A Guide to Being A Goddess. What in God’s name has glamour and being a goddess got to do with being a 9 year old??
Now if I hadn’t seen this kid reading this distastefulness book and had, say, picked it up randomly in a bookshop, I would have assumed that it was actually written ironically. And I would have found it very funny.
Only it’s not ironic. And it certainly ain’t funny.
Check out the contents pages, courtesy of Amazon ‘look inside’ feature:
After a bit of research on Amazon, I found that this book appears to be popular with mostly 8-12 year old girls. It’s quite clear that these girls seem to be receiving these books as gifts rather than books that they requested themselves. Is this honestly the kind of trash people want their daughters to be reading?
I truly believe that books are like personal, portable teachers: they inspire you, they are the building blocks of your mind, they shape you as person. So when your child is reading a book that teaches you “how to eat your way to beautiful skin”, “how to descend a staircase”, how to impress people and “strut like a star” so that “heads will turn” and how to “add inches to your height” as it will “make you look more glamorous”, you are only promoting yet another form of media brainwashing that teaches young girls that appearances are everything and that looking after their bodies is much more important nurturing their minds.
This trashy book can only teach superficial, ego-centric, self-indulgent values. How can this be considered a ‘self-help’ book when it only serves to make young girls even more self-conscious and insecure about their appearance? When books like this exist, is it any wonder that girls as young as 8 years old are obsessed with their bodies and have eating disorders? I know of girls as young as 8 years old who shave their legs, dye their hair, pluck their eyebrows, get acrylic nails – the list goes on. When did kids stop being kids?
It is the duty of every adult who has active contact with a child to provide them with healthy reading material, and if they are curious about books such as The Girls Book of Glamour, which is only natural, we need to ensure that we discuss the issues that arise from such reading material. This article by Lisa Bloom, How To Talk to Little Girls, gives great insight into how we should read with children.
As a side note, The Girls Book of Glamour does (of course) give the rare disclaimers which (of course) make the whole thing OK:
Remember – it’s definitely your personality, not what you wear, that really matters.
No shit, Sherlock.