“Football? You should’ve been a boy!”… “Why do you play with boys’ stuff?”… “You don’t want Spiderman painted on your face, that’s for boys… how about a lovely butterfly?!”… “Boys don’t wear pink! That’s for girls!”… “Boys don’t cry!”…
These are just some of the comments writer Cheyrl Rickman, a campaign ambassador for Let Clothes Be Clothes, is looking to address in her new book aimed at children from ages 3-8 years, called YES YOU CAN! The book is currently on Kickstarter and needs 100% funding if its to be published – but after just 2 days it looks like the target will be smashed!
YES YOU CAN! aims to show children that all toys, clothes, colours and hobbies are for everyone, and encourages kids to be proud to be all they are: http://kck.st/2pUPIDk
‘Yes You Can’ encourages individuality, promotes gender equality and challenges gender stereotypes in a child-friendly way. The book aims to counter messages that tell children they “can’t wear/do/play with that,” because of their gender, and tell them ‘Yes You Can!’
“I wrote this book to show children they don’t have to change who they are to suit outdated gender stereotypes.”
Cheryl has spent the last two years campaigning and meeting directly with supermarket and department store buyers to ask them to reduce gender-stereotypes in store. As an Ambassador for Let Clothes Be Clothes, she is our lead representative when meeting with retailers and has done us proud in developing relationships between us and some of the biggest names on the high street, including John Lewis and Tesco. We are offered nothing in return from promoting Cheryl – we just really believe in her work and think this book is exactly what is needed to give children the tools to understand stereotyping in a positive way.
“I thought, if we can’t shield our children from these stereotypes, at least we can help them see them for what they are.”
YES YOU CAN, aimed at 3-8 year olds, features The Climbing Trees Girls: Eva, the outdoorsy one; Maxi, the creative/skateboarding one and B, the football-loving sporty one) who find themselves in a strange new world where people are told what they should play with, what they should wear and what they should do for a living, based on the colour of their hair – an analogy to explain the futility of gender stereotypes to a younger audience.
And, while the three main protagonists are girls, (who save the day) boys who like diggers and boys who like dolls both feature in the book. “Because,” says Cheryl, “just as there is more to being a girl than being gentle and princessy, there is more to being a boy than being boisterous. There is nothing wrong with “girly girls” or “boisterous boys”, but when that is the only option presented to children, that is very limiting and restrictive.”
“I hope parents will read this book to their sons too. I want them to see that being badass isn’t exclusive to one gender, just as being gentle isn’t either.”
The story is also about finding your spark and standing up for what you believe in, which follows on from recommendations by Raising Girls and Raising Boys author and parenting expert, Steve Biddulph that parents need to encourage their children’s interest and help them to find their spark to make them “feel secure and content” with who they are.
To back Cheryl’s book on Kickstarter please visit http://kck.st/2pUPIDk