After being called out as grossly sexist, a children’s joke book in Spain has been pulled by its publisher. The book, "Pequechistes: Sobre chicas (sólo para chicos)" or "Little Jokes: About Girls (for Boys Only)," includes some deeply upsetting jokes about women and our relationships to men. Not only does it compare women to tiles by quipping “they’re both at [men’s] feet,” but it also glamorizes domestic violence: "What do women and a squash ball have in common? The harder you hit them, the sooner they come back to you."
When the publisher Libsa faced complaints, the sales director Emilio Mata defended the text, stating, "It was just meant to be fun” and included only "the best jokes and funny stories for boys.” Spain’s Women’s Institute was rightfully outraged, explaining that yes, even a joke book has the power to teach children to treat women with violence and degradation. When the Institute threatened Libsa with a lawsuit, they removed the book from stores to "[avoid] controversy."
Though it’s comforting that children are no longer being encouraged to laugh at abuse of women, it’s shocking that these books were ever deemed appropriate and entertaining. And that publishers continued to defend them after they were called out. While I'm usually sad to see a book banned or censored, presenting serious and disturbing issues to kids as glamourous or humorous disturbs and undercuts the growth and education of thoughtful young minds.
Thanks to New York Daily News
Image via New York Daily News