Monday, September 19, 2016

Gender Bias as a Learning Opportunity & The Week in Reading

Pete the Cat: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 
Did you know that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star has more than one verse?  Neither did we!  The Pete the Cat series of books is as fun to look at as they are to read.  Admittedly, this one lacks in the plot department, since it is literally just the verses to the song.

Giants Beware! The Chronicles of Claudette #1
This is a great book in that the hero is a girl!  Tellingly, I had to teach our 5 year-old how to find the descriptions of main characters in order to convince her that the heroine was in fact a heroine, and not a hero.  All in all, it worked out great though!  We covered story openings, character introductions, and gendered pronouns.  Beyond learning opportunities, and sexism foils, the book is also excellent in and of itself.  It chronicles the quest of Claudette, a young Norman kid, and her siblings as they hunt a giant, hoping to eventually kill it for the attendant fame and fortune.  Along the way, they learn a thing or two about misconceptions, honesty, and family bonds.

Superman #6
The authors have certainly got the heartstring tug down, but that may be about it. The story-line has been saved in every issue so far by a sprinkling of heroic moments involving either the new Superboy, (the son of Superman, and Lois Lane), saving Lois Lane, or vice versa. The authors are trying to do the right thing, or perhaps more aptly, they've been assigned to do the right things with this series. Their strengths at plotting, drawing dogs, and choosing non-grisly images are being sorely tested though.

Tiny Titans #4: The First Rule of Pet Club
This densely populated comic book has Streaky the Supercat, Krypto the Superdog, Beppo the Supermonkey, and Ace the Bathound, along with many other super-pets!  The comic abounds with lots of goofy jokes, but frankly, I'm a sucker for superhero pets, so I was sold when I saw the cover.

But do they pass the Bechdel Test?  That's what G+ 'er Richard Green wanted to know.

 Pete the Cat doesn't pass because the main character is a male cat.  His mother and sister at least make an appearance in this one, as opposed to "Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes" where he's the only character.

Giants Beware totally passes!  The main character's buddy is a princess-in-training.  They discuss things like princess councils, and how to count giants.  Spoiler alert, at the end of Claudette's buddy decides to switch to diplomat-in-training.

Superman #6 doesn't even come close to passing.  There's only a single female character: Lois Lane.  Admittedly, she does some really cool things, but there's not another female character for her to have a conversation with.

Tiny Titans might pass.  There's a conversation between Starfire, and her sister Blackfire.  They discuss their lack of pets without mentioning any males.  However, on the next page, Starfire sends her dad a letter.  I suppose the story could hold up under a very loose interpretation of the Bechdel Test, but it's certainly not a rousing success..

 By the way, if you're looking for interesting math posts please do check out Richard Green's G+ page!

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