I don't often blog about the larger issues of racism or sexism in our culture. I know they're out there, and they just make me angry. I'm not a "get out and join the cause" kind of person - it's just not a priority for me right now.
But I HATE when I pay money to bring this crap into my house. It doesn't happen very often.
The first time was when I bought The Chronic by Dr. Dre on CD back in the 90s. I knew I was hearing the "clean" versions on the radio, but figured they were just bleeping out the swearing. Turns out, it was a lot worse than that. The lyrics were horrible - way more misogynistic than they seemed on the radio, degrading, demeaning, all that. I was so offended, I had to give it away (and I'm not easily offended!)
It happened again recently, though on a much less offensive scale. I was stocking up on new books for T for our plane trips to and from Ireland. I found one called My Plane Trip by Cathy Beylon - it was both a storybook and a coloring book and even better was eligible for Amazon's 4-for-3 promo.
We read it, and T liked it. It's about a family of four who takes a plane trip and it goes through the details of getting packed, going to the airport, completing the security checks, the flight itself, and getting to the destination.
But upon reading it a few more times, I started noticing things that irritated me. Mom plays a very minor role here. You can see her packing, but all the text mentions Dad putting the luggage in the car, Dad drives them to the airport, Dad gets them checked in, Dad consults the monitor for the flight info, Dad stows the baggage, Dad collects the baggage. The only thing Mom does in the text is help the baby get ready for a nap.
Of course, both the pilot and co-pilot are male, as are the air traffic controllers. The flight attendants are female. TJ pointed out that everyone is white, or at least seems to be from the hair, features, and the few color pictures (it's a coloring book).
It irks me a little that both kids in the family are boys - I mean, little girls go on plane trips too - it would have been nice to make one of the main characters female. And the author is a woman. Sigh.
I know this seems minor, but it's something I think about a little harder with a daughter, who has already started telling me that "only men do x", where x is something that can be done by either gender. It's not like we have 10 books about plane trips and this is just one, so issues like this seem magnified.
Problem is, we can't screen *every* piece of media before buying it - our local bookstores don't have much of a kids' selection so we take our chances with what we order online.
I spent my entire childhood being essentially "invisible" on TV, books, magazines, etc because there just weren't any Indian-American characters anywhere. So maybe I'm more sensitive to this kind of thing.
I just wish there was an easy way to preview these things before dropping cash on them. Has this happened to you before?