Saturday, 20 August 2016

I'm glad I'm a boy! I'm glad I'm a girl!

US-American "witty, gently satiric" cartoonist Whitney Darrow, Jr. (1909-1999) worked most of his career for The New Yorker and printed about 1.500 cartoons in his 50-year-long The-New-Yorker-career (via and via). In 1970, he published what at first glance appeared to be one of the most sexist books ever printed. A great many people are convinced that it was not sexism but satire that inspired Darrow (via). Darrow, in fact, never stated his intentions. Let's sincerely hope that this book was intended to be satirical.



"I'm glad I'm a boy. I'm glad I'm a girl" is based on clear gender binarism and illustrates what makes boys happy versus girls. The examples range from eating habits to career choices ("Boys are doctors." "Girls are nurses."). While today this book is mostly regarded as satire, there is also the criticism that regardless of Darrow's intentions, the book was read by children narrowing the option of who they think they can be (Gazda, 2015).



"According to one coworker, Lee Lorenz, former art director of The New Yorker, “Mr. Darrow was known for his sense of humor and for being shrewdly observant of the contradictions of human behavior (Gussow, 1999).” Whitney Darrow Jr., the author of “I’m Glad I’m a Boy, I’m Glad I’m a Girl,” was a satiric cartoonist from The New Yorker, meaning that he used humor to ridicule people’s stupidity or vices (Satire). So, that being said, in light of the social changes that were taking place during the time of the books creation and release, I conclude that the author wrote the book as a satire on gender roles." (via)

Boys have trucks. Girls have dolls.


Boys are Cub Scouts. Girls are Brownies.


Boys are strong. Girls are graceful.


Boys are handsome. Girls are beautiful.


Boys are doctors. Girls are nurses.
Boys are policemen. girls are metermaids.


Boys are football players. Girls are cheerleaders.
Boys are pilots. Girls are stewardesses.


Boys are heroes.
Girls are heroines.


Boys are Presidents. Girls are First Ladies.
Boys fix things. Girls need things fixed.


Boys can eat. Girls can cook.
Boys invent things. Girls use what boys invent.


Boys build houses. Girls keep houses.
Boys are grooms. Girls are brides.


Boys are fathers. Girls are mothers.
I'm glad you're a girl. I'm glad you're a boy.


We need each other.


- Gazda, C. a. (2015). Once Upon A Time: Exposing Sexism in Children's Literature. Senior Honors Theses, Paper 112
- Images via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via

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