Radicalizing the Children

I’m going to take a quick break from (procrastinating on) writing final essays to pass on a link I just stumbled: Feminist books for five-year-olds.

I found this interesting particularly because of its mention of a book about a princess who doesn’t want to get married, and even intentionally turns one of her suitors into a toad in order to discourage them all from trying to woo her. There are precious few stories out there for children about people who don’t want to get married, so it’s no wonder that the kids had so much trouble accepting the idea that there are people out there who would make that choice. They really are just culturally indoctrinated to believe that getting married is wonderful, to the extent that it is the only possible option.

This attitude mirrors the beliefs of older people that there couldn’t possibly be anyone who doesn’t want to have sex. Children of this age have no idea what sexuality is in the first place, so of course we can’t really introduce them to asexuality (not that we should need to anyway, right? Aren’t children already pretty much asexual?), but to introduce them to the idea that some people don’t want to marry would provide a precedent for the idea that some people don’t want to have sex. Maybe kids who come to understand that as a possibility will, when they are introduced to the idea of asexuality later on, be more inclined to say, “Oh, of course! That makes sense, why didn’t I think of it before?”

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8 thoughts on “Radicalizing the Children

  1. I agree! I think asexuality needs to be seen, more, as a fourth standard sexuality in order for people to understand it better. It took me a good 10 minutes one day to convince/explain to one of my friends that asexuals do exist and I’m one of them. I probably used the terms ”the opposite of bisexual” and ”it’s like I’m gay but I don’t like guys” several times.

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    • “Although, interestingly, the children seriously struggled with the idea that anyone might not want to get married.”

      At ages 3 and 6…that’s kind of scary. I guess it’s not surprising– I had a blind assumption that I would someday get married until I was at least 21. When I look back, I can’t name any particular place or person where I got this idea. It was always just there. I knew not everyone got married, but people rarely think they’ll be the exception to a “rule”, just like very few people think they’ll get divorced.

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  2. It’s a shame we don’t want kids, otherwise we could raise some ultra-feminist kids.

    Oh well, can always try to get my traditionalist brother to do it.

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    • Yeah, I was thinking you should totally get that book and get your mom to read it to the kids!

      I very well might buy it and give it to my cousin for Christmas. Considering that she’s already reading Little House on the Prairie though, she might be a little too old for it.

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  3. ”it’s like I’m gay but I don’t like guys” Man I laugh every time I use that to try and explain asexuality, its so apt and absurd at the same time.
    I’m all for the equalization of the genders, especially in small children; just that my paranoid self is always worried that the writers will be lazy and instead of building up the lesser, they’ll push down the greater.

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    • Yeah, that seemed to be a problem with some of the books. Although since I haven’t read them I can’t really be sure what they were going for. I think it’s good to have some stories where women are able to best men, because that does happen in real life, but at the same time, it can’t all be about punishing and hating them!

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  4. My friend’s favorite childhood book is also a radical challenge to marriage. It’s called Nuncajamas, by Adela Turin and Letizia Galli. She said it “encourages young girls to reject the myths of the handsome rich prince and happily ever after. It comically shows the destructiveness of these myths. The story ends with the princess and her witch friend moving to a country of gender equality, good health, and great apple pie.”

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  5. Pingback: Linkspam for Asexual Awareness Week: Blogs which I Read When I Was Finally Firmly Identifying with Asexuality | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

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