A public school in Barcelona decided to remove from its child library 200 books for children of up to six years of age, because it “reproduced hidden sexist patterns” and were considered “toxic”
The public school Tàber, in Barcelona, is in the center of a controversy in Spain after it decided to remove from its child library 200 books for children of up to six years of age, because it “reproduced hidden sexist patterns” and, therefore, were considered “toxic”. Among the publications removed are “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Sleeping Beauty”, and “Cinderella”.
The action was recommended by the Space and Reading Association of Barcelona, responsible for implementing the “Library and Gender” project in several public institutions. According to the group, which is dedicated to debating LGBT and gender issues, if children see “highly stereotypical” representations of relationships and behaviors, they might consider them normal. 600 children’s tales were analyzed, of which only 11 percent were considered to be “positive” in terms of “gender perspective”.
In these books, representatives of the association claimed female characters are secondary or merely receive secondary tasks, providing service or being submissive; while men appear in brave and competitive attitudes, always solving problems.
The measure was criticized by entities and several associations of parents. The Barcelona Libraries Network regretted the removal of the books and said it did not agree with what it called “censorship”. For the entity, which summoned a meeting with representatives of public and private institutions in the following days, the values which might seem outdated in old children’s tales should not be vetoed, but, instead, explained and adapted in activities with the students, and supplemented by the reading of more up-to-date texts.
“This is getting out of hand. Trying to adjust traditional tales to the new ideas of our society, even though they are positive, is an aberration,” wrote journalist Jacinto Antón at El País.
The Association, on the other hand, answered the criticism and the classification of their decision as “censorship” by the Libraries Network point out that the books would only be prohibited for children of “up to six years of age”, who could “absorb more easily the sexist language”. The entity agreed that these classic tales are important, but defended that their analysis should only be taught to children of more advanced ages.