Brief description of the issue
At the age of 7, girls are already able to name more synonyms to different emotions than boys, who are mostly only able to find synonyms to anger (BBC, 2018). Moreover, adults tolerate more when a girl is crying than when a boy is (CSF, 2016). In children’s literature, superheroes are rarely shown as sensitive or experiencing emotions: the emphasis is a lot more on their physical strength. Yet, such role models can teach boys that they aren’t allowed to cry, leaving them with a much more difficult emotional management. As for girls, the representation of passive princesses waiting for prince charming or executing domestic chores can confine them in these stereotypical roles and make them believe that strength is a boy thing.
Coloring papers created by Linnéa Johansson are aiming at showing different role models to children because, yes, superheroes can be sensitive and princesses can be strong!
Questions to ask children and parents during/after the activity (according to the coloring papers you chose):
- Can boys dance like Batman does?
- Have you ever seen a dad with a baby carrier such as Batman’s?
- Do you have a potty at home in your bathroom? Have you ever used it with one of your parents?
- Do you know moms who play music? And dads who like to listen to music?
- Do you know someone who uses a wheelchair? Why does someone have to use a wheelchair?
- Do you have pets at home? Do your parents like pets? Do they take care of them?
- Does your dad make cookies or other recipes? What is your favourite one?
- Who runs errands at home? Does your father run errands? Do you go with him?
- Can dads be sad? What can make them sad?
- Can girls be superheroes? And boys, princesses? Why?
- Do you know girls with short hair? Do you know someone who lost his or her hair because he or she was sick?
- Do you like to play videogames? Who do you play with?
- Do you like sciences? Do you like to read history books? Can anyone study sciences or history?
- What sports do you practise? Can anyone do any sports?
- What are Pocahontas and Esmeralda doing? Do they look happy? Why are they angry? Have you ever seen princesses or moms angry?
- Do you know friends who have two moms or two dads?
BBC (2018). No More Boys And Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?, Outline Productions, accessible à: https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2017/33/no-more-boys-and-girls
BOLOGNA, Caroline (2015). Mom’s ‘Super-Soft Heroes’ Coloring Book Shows Little Boys That Emotion Doesn’t Equal Weakness, The Huffington Post, article consulted on November 27th 2018, accessible at: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/linnea-johansson-coloring-book_n_6941782
CONSEIL DU STATUT DE LA FEMME (2016). Avis: L’égalité entre les sexes en milieu scolaire, Gouvernement du Québec, 154 pages.
KAUFFESEIN, Pascale (2015). Pour combattre les stéréotypes, une maman illustratrice sensibilise les super héros, Magicmaman, article consulted on November 27th 2018, accessible at: https://www.magicmaman.com/,pk-maman-illustratrice-suedoise-sensibilise-super-heros-dans-dessins-combattre-stereotypes,2550548.asp