Patatouille, a children’s book about raising a boy from the norms of toxic masculinity
Boys don’t cry, don’t clean and only play football? Patatouille destroys patriarchy in its roots, and who better than its author Tiffany Cooper make you want to discover this booklet that is as necessary as it is delightful?
You are fed up with your boy’s imagination being fed only with rewarding stories toxic masculinity ? We dug up a little nugget for you: Patatouille ! It’s morning in Solal Pat, the furry monster who has funny ideas on how to behave when you are a boy. Fortunately, Solal will help him feel better and freer.
On the occasion of the release of the book this Thursday January 12we met its author Tiffany Cooperwho addressed us inclusive education and representations.
Miss. How did you come? idea to create Patatouille, this furry, hideous fictional beast?
Tiffany Cooper. In the beginning, I wanted to create for this book a figure that would represent the patriarchy. So of course I thought of freak ! At first I drew it clean on it and it looked nice. The editors told me it looks good friendlywhich is little antinomian with patriarchy !
So I made a test to draw it in full crackerspiky hair, dark circles, slightly broken mouth and flies flying around him… and then we said to ourselves that it is much funnier and more meaningful!
Name Pat appeared to me as evidence one day : Pat for the Patriarchate. And I came up with the nickname “Patatouille”, because that’s what I tell my son when he plays the fool. And it must be said that it goes quite well with this monster!
Your book talks about the activities offered to boys, their clothes, household chores… Why you selected to heal this topic specifically?
Tiffany Cooper. I wanted to address these issues, because they are everyday life situations in which children are led to integrate sexist ideas in spite of themselves. It seemed important to me to say that all colors are for everyone, that we are nice to everyone (even those we don’t like), that everyone has to participate in the house, that all sports and all games are for everyone!
It seems obvious that it is said that way, but when you see how many 6-7 year olds think that pink or dance is only for girls, and that football and superheroes are only for boyswe say soThis book should be read to all children from an early age. pour put an end to received ideas !
This kind of message is often conveyed by adults around the child who do not even realize that the child has sexist ideas. This book can therefore also serve as vaccination for some adults !
Why did you want to talk about imposed gender norms? garçonsand not girls?
Because on the side of girls, it’s already pretty well assimilated : almost everyone realized that today a girl can do whatever she wants. Anyway, a girl who likes football or science, is appreciated today.
While a little boy who likes to wear pink, dress up as a princess or dance, Unfortunately, this still worries many people. ! By continuing to educate boys in a gendered way, we perpetuate patriarchywith known consequences: boys learn to hide their emotions, are encouraged to be violent and gradually assimilate the idea that femininity is negative (“Why are you crying? Are you a girl or what?”) and that male is positive, therefore superior. Which perpetuates male dominance over women and any other minority. That is what I want to nip in the bud.
Because basically very little boys are born innocent and without these gendered and sexist ideas! That means it’s something they learn. And that has to stop. Everyone would benefit from a fairer and more equal world.
We hardly see each other at Patatouille without an adultS. Why?
I admit I don’t know why, I didn’t do it on purpose! But maybe that’s because I read a lot of books peanut (Sniffer) etc Calvin & Hobbes when I was little, where there were almost no parents!
What I’m interested in is putting myself on the child’s scale, entering his universe. Solal represents the heterosexual cis white man before his sexist framing. I wanted to call him Solal because it means “guide” or “one who shows the way” in Hebrew. For a boy who refuses patriarchal orders, I thought it would be quite the symbol!
Do you think so children’s books denforce gender norms oppressive, or at least not doing enough to promote inclusivity?
It’s been like that for a long time, yes. Our generation is imbued with stories about brave knights (white) who go to war and princesses (white and skinny) waiting for love locked in dungeons… It was time to change that! Fortunately, with the new wave feminismin recent years we’ve started to see representations change and stories become more inclusive.
Do you think you see a better representation of the content offered to children in terms of inclusivity?
Yes Fortunately! Especially thanks to publishing houses such as We don’t count on butterwhich exactly aims to offer inclusive books for children. That’s why I wanted to post Patatouille with them ! Today there are more and more excellent gender inclusive books: princess kevin, Julian is a mermaid, Love, fame and boogers, Simone’s lover, Lipstick…
Depictions change in cartoons as well : Pixar recently published red alerta cartoon whose heroine is a girl Asian who is going through the throes of adolescence, and Disney just came out Avaloniawhich, among other things, shows a little boy mestizo in love with another boy ! It was about time !
These Daronna resolutions I will not keep, I already know that
Featured image credit: © We don’t count for butter