Sunday, November 27, 2005

Beautiful screaming lady

One parent has compared his own childhood version of Richard Scarry's Word Book with the version his kids read today.

I remember this book from my own childhood, and it was pretty awesome.

It's fun though to read through and check out the differences between the two books -- they tried to be more politically correct with the animals' jobs, changed a "pretty stewardess" and a "handsome pilot" to a "flight attendant" and "pilot," and best of all, took a "beautiful screaming lady" waiting to be rescued from a fire and renamed her simply "cat in danger."

6 comments:

PJ in Penticton said...

Interesting article. As a little girl in the 60's, I was told that I could be a nurse but not a doctor; a stewardess but never a pilot; a teacher but not a lawyer. The message was loud and clear, from teachers and parents to every form of the media (cartoons, movies, ads, books, newspaper articles, comedians). It's nice to see that's ended.

Anonymous said...

True, but on the other hand, this is a bit of sanitizing the past, and that makes me uncomfortable -- a little too "down the memory hole" for me. I'd let my kid read the old one, kind of as a history lesson in the bad old days.

Meredith said...

I think Scarry changed the book himself, so it wasn't some outside editor who did it without his permission. I just see it as Scarry keeping up with the times :)

Anonymous said...

I think equality can be promoted without having to go back and change things from the past. I actually don't really like how we have to be extra careful about being politically correct. Everyone is far too sensitive these days and takes offense to everything. While it can't be said for everyone, I'd much rather stay at home to cook and clean than go to work everyday. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than looking around a clean house then sitting down to a wonderful dinner that I made.

Anonymous said...

I can get behind updating how we refer to jobs, but "beautiful screaming lady" to "cat in danger?" Because we don't want to perpetuate an image of woman as screamers, or incapable of saving themselves from fires? No kid's worldview is going to be damaged by "beautiful screaming lady," and replacing it with "cat in danger" it only renders it humorless. Bah.

Anonymous said...

I think the changes (aside from the endagered cat, which is kinda silly) seem appropriate for the times. It is indeed a different world than in the 60s, and considering the age of kids who are reading these books, a picture associating female with judge is likely going to have more impact than a philosophical discussion of past gender discrimination versus modern attitudes toward women in the workplace.