Comments from parents

Adam Van Coevorden got in touch to say ‘I think this is a fantastic campaign. The slogans used on the bookmarks really hit home to me that my son will be pressured by all sorts of seemingly-innocuous sources to conform to society’s idea of ‘being a man’. I’m in an odd position of having pretty much been raised in an all-female family, so I think I’ve largely avoided some of this within my own household, and hopefully can pass on to my children that they don’t have to fit in with the stereotypes they’re presented with. I would love to have found a bookmark like this in a book my son had- I suspect (ironically?!) it might make me shed a few tears, as I hate the idea of any child being limited by our culture like this. I was a sensitive child, and certainly have suffered the calls of ‘be a man’- I want a more caring society for my children.’

Mel Painter commented ‘Funnily enough I was in an independent bookshop last week choosing a book for a friend’s daughter. The sales woman asked how old is the child and then asked boy or girl? And that was it, no other questions. Upon finding out it was a girl I was buying for I was directed to a pile of pink ballerina/princess books. No questions about what she was into. I have a daughter, there’s nothing wrong with being a princess or a ballerina or liking the colour pink. I’m just really disappointed those were the only options. It’s sad that even from a young age before kids can even read, these images are pushed home. Weirdly as a kid I don’t remember my childhood books being so gender biased, I actually think it’s got worse, probably because marketing to children is so aggressive now.’

Emily Campbell said ‘I find the concept of a gendered book for little children really strange, and hadn’t really encountered it before having my own children. So I do think gender divisions in toys and books are getting worse rather than better.’