Mark Twain’s short story “Advice to Little Girls” is newly published in English as a picture book.
I’m about to get radical on you. Are you ready?
Fuck this book.
Is it hilarious? Yes. Was it written in 1865? Yup. Can it still go fuck itself? You betchya!
Here’s the short story in it’s entirety. “Advice to Little Girls” by Mark Twain. It takes all of 2 minutes to read.
My main/only problem with this book is that it’s based in the patriarchal mindset that girls & boys should be treated differently. Gender is a social construct. Children/people will act however/be whatever we teach them. If you treat them differently, they will learn to be that way.
Here’s the test to see if this is arbitrarily gendered: re-read the story and replace the word “girl” with “boy” or “child.” It’s the same story. Nothing changes. Tada! Arbitrarily gendered!
And no, I couldn’t care less that this was written in 1865, & that was “just how things were back then.” This book could have been written yesterday. This is STILL how things are NOW.
And no, I couldn’t care less that people are going to call me nit-picky. Oh, I’m sorry, is my desire for social equality for myself and future generations getting all over your Internet? Let me just shut right up, then! I’ll go back to being subjugated like we have been for +3,000 years.
My suggestion is to read it (reading is always preferable to not) to whomever you please. But then have a conversation about it, because kids will learn this. If it’s not from you, then they will learn it from someone else, and who knows what that will be.
“That was a funny book, huh? What did you think about it? The book says it’s for girls, but I think boys could read it, too. And grown ups.”