Fairies NOT Permitted

This fairy has a great story. But like many of us, pervading attitudes about ‘her type’ sometimes prevent it from being heard! Let’s use Women’s History Month to keep practicing the open-mindedness we reinforced during Black History month.

Perpetuating Stereotypes: Apparently it is fine for girls to be served a never-ending diet of male superheroes while denying boys an opportunity to experience the many stories out there about strong girls, strong women and superheroes that are not male.

“Boys don’t want to read about fairies” is the reason I have been given yet again as to why an elementary school “decided to go in a different direction” after asking me to host a featured author program. Yet there is only a 7% chance that the ‘different direction’ includes stories about strong female characters “Why are there so few Girls Books?”.

My hero knows she is a multiracial girl fairy. But she still faces and tackles problems in stories written for all boys and girls. Yes, Enjella the Elbow Fairy knows she has an image problem. She wants to rebrand herself as a “superhero with wings.” But some educators won’t let that happen.

I have made many successful visits to many schools. Both boys and girls volunteer to act in my introductory play familiarizing the students with the cast of characters in my children’s book series. They bring an energy and enthusiasm that is a joy to behold. I have seen group after group improvise embellishments to the script as they act!

They all listen attentively to readings and ask insightful questions. Hey – all of the early grades believe in magic! Why can’t boys believe in fairies as well as superheroes? We need educators to believe in the magical transformation of reading a wide expanse of literature.

The students are so captivated that when I describe the writing process, how many drafts it takes to create a finished story including the all-important editing phase, they respond by creating and polishing stories of their own.

I made the decision in the first book, the origin story written for YA readers, Enjella Uprooted: A Tooth Fairy Gets a New Job, to re-name boy fairies “flandles”, to avoid any negative connotations of the word “fairies”. But yet, certain educators refuse to even give their male students the opportunity to see if they can relate to a scenario where the hero is a girl and a fairy.

Especially During Women’s History Month: How can schools espouse equal treatment for all when they prescreen and then disallow stories with strong female characters facing life’s challenges?

“Well Done Sister Suffragettes”

It saddens me to see old stereotypes perpetuated. 

   © Jane F. Collen  3/3/2023

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