My Bio

My Bio
My name is Sharon Levin and I've been reviewing children's literature for 20 years. I founded and run the Bay Area Children's Literature List. My biggest passion (outside my family) is getting books into the hands of children and teens. My favorite thing is getting non-readers to realize that they're readers. I also LOVE t-shirts that have to do with books or literature. As soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll have a click through on the above picture so you can see my entire collection (and where to get them).

November 4, 2014

Women, are we our gender's own worst enemy?

Yup, that's an inflammatory blog title and of course it's not an absolute, but I think it's something we have to think about.

In a way this is a follow up to when I stated that it seems to be women, more than men, who steer boys away from books about girls.

It happened again last week with the "Oh no, he won't read a book about a girl." even though the book was The Fourteenth Goldfish by 3 time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm, it's an AMAZING book and there IS a boy main character as well, but for the grandmother who turned it down (yes, nose wrinkle and all) having a girl so prominently in the book was a deal breaker.  I stopped to think about it and realized that in ALL my years of reviewing, book talking, bookselling, I've never, NEVER had a dad say "Nope, no books about girls."

So, this has made me think, "What is this?  What has caused this to happen?  Where else does it show up in society?"

Well, I know that I've had many women say to me over the years, "I hate working with/for women." or "I hate working in an all female office."  Personally having worked in an all female office for a woman (obviously) and working in a predominantly male office (for a man), I prefer the female dynamic.  And, again, I've never heard similar sentiments from men about working for male bosses or working in an all male office.

Is it cool for us to 'gender bash'?  Do we think this makes us more appealing to men? DOES it make us more appealing to (some) men?  I've seen men nod approvingly when they've heard women make these statements, so perhaps it does.  Are THESE the men we want to 'please'? (Well, not me, that's for sure.  And I'm sure the feelings are mutual.)

So, in this vein, let's address something currently hip (and this is a Chanukah Miracle, since I'm desperately unhip) the song by Meghan Trainor, All About That Bass.  It's great that she loves herself just as she is (I'm certainly WAY more bass than treble myself), but the line, "I'm bringing booty back. Go 'head and tell them skinny bitches that. No, I'm just playing, I know you think you're fat. But I'm here to tell you, every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top." pits woman against woman again.

Yes, Ms. Trainor says that she's 'playing' and that even skinny 'girls' think they're fat and she's saying they should embrace themselves too.  Great, so then why call them 'bitches'? 

Why is it 'us vs them'?  Can't it be about self love for all (not THAT self love! Prince already covered that in Darling Nikki).  If we love ourselves, why does it have to be 'balanced' with hate/disdain for others?

Avrile Lavigne's song Girlfriend, is not just about getting the guy, but tearing down his current girlfriend in order to 'win' him.  Beyonce's song Flawless has some GREAT lyrics,

We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes

Which I love, love, LOVE, but why (and maybe I'm missing something here) does the song also include the lyrics "Bow down bitches."?

I did a 'scientific study' by asking my daughters and their friends if they could come up with any popular songs by men that cut down other men.  Is there a "All About That Pate" that praises baldness and cuts down "hairy bastards"?

They couldn't come up with one.



  1. While it does not exactly hate on "hairy bastards", it does extoll the virtues of bald-headed men.

  2. Very cute, thanks for sharing. :-) But it's women liking bald headed men, not men cutting each other down. I just don't see that the way I see women making women the enemy. Sigh and grr (not directed at you, directed at misogyny from women)