Thursday, December 17, 2009

Caddie Woodlawn

How did I miss this book all these years? Since I started homeschooling, I've seen it on list after list of recommended reading for kids. This year, I found it on a list of books set in the Civil War time period that Leslie and I are studying in history, so I scheduled it into our reading. What a great book! I would have devoured this like milk-soaked Oreos when I was a girl.

However, it did set me to thinking (as I am wont to do, you know). Caddie is a lot like other young female historical characters my daughters -- and other young girls of their and my generations -- have fallen in love with. I'm thinking Felicity . . Laura Ingalls . . there are others not coming to mind right now. They live in time periods where women are valued for being dainty and lady-like -- and they don't like being lady-like. And the books celebrate their breaking that mold.

Not that I take issue with this at all. God made many kinds of girls/women and they should all be validated. But I'm trying to remember any books I read as a kid -- or that my girls read now -- that have a very traditional, dainty, lady-like main character and celebrate that.

I mean, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a girly girl. But they seem to always be portrayed as weak, or stupid, or shallow, or judgmental, or in some other way worthy of pity and scorn. That's not right. There are weak, stupid, shallow, judgmental "ladies" out there. There are also undisciplined, insensitive, rude tomboys out there -- but if children's literature portrayed all tomboys that way, we would cry stereotyping.

I just want girls to feel like they can be whatever kind of girl God designed them to be and not be scorned for it. We seem to have rightfully given the tomboy her dignity, but perhaps at the expense of her counterpart. Too bad.

1 comment:

Vianelli and Eastin said...

Sounds like a good book. Read it to me sometime...