Word Up

PIC alphabet

What in the shrinking ballsack of sexist Satan is this? You see, a couple of kraken-lovers have assaulted me with a picture that has only hitherto been found in the Oxford English Dictionary under the definition of ‘arse-seepage’. In fact, if you look up there (try to imagine me pointing like a panicking air steward) you can see it yourself. It’s two sets of magnetic words for kids who are learning to read. The only problem is that there are two of them because, apparently, boys and girls use different bloody words.

You have to be shitting me with this. When I first saw it I peered at it like a pervert through a letterbox in the hope that it had been photoshopped. It hasn’t. It’s real. In fact, just in case you’re not already backing away from this blog post with all-consuming horror let me give more details. The words for boys include ‘bones’, ‘running’, ‘skeleton’, ‘string’, ‘treehouse’, ‘money’, ‘grass’, ‘moon’ and, for some really ballsed-up reason, ‘lawnmower’. Clearly, though, these are lost on anyone in possession of a muff because the words for girls include ‘perfume’, ‘handbag’, ‘wand’, ‘cooking’, ‘clothes’, ‘bunnies’, ‘sherbet’, ‘sparkle’ and – for fuck sake, take a breath for this one – ‘fluff’.

Worse the blurb on the packet says that these word collections “complement” national literacy. Yeah, in the same way that letting drivers swig gin complements road safety. Seriously, how in seven shades of shit are these magnetic packets of evil complementing anything but the notion that girls and boys have such wildly differing vocabularies that the English language actually needs to be segregated.

Is this really how wildly out of control that sexism has become, that teaching kids to read is now about addressing their genitals rather than their brains? No wonder teachers are knackered and jumping off bridges. It’s because, according to the maggot-addled spaff-weasels behind these magnets, they have to give boys and girls entirely separate English lessons, just in case boys develop, I dunno, confused sexualities over seeing the word ‘tiara’. And fuck knows what the word ‘swimming’ could do to a girl’s sensibilities.

In fact I have no idea why these magnetic words haven’t gone even further. May I suggest that if the manufacturers decide to reprint some of these magnets they could include the words ‘smelling salts’, ‘doilies’, ‘virgin’ and ‘fainting’ for girls along with ‘cad, ‘bounder’, ‘gadzooks’ and ‘handlebar moustache’ for boys. Fuck knows, there’s even a market for segregated dictionaries, just in case girls get it into their head to read about ‘conkers’ (another magnetic delight) and need to go back to their ‘fairies’ (and another).

Who in the swelling gonads of piss-covered squirrels actually comes up with this stuff? Seriously, you could give me a ten year deadline to make a new toy for children and it wouldn’t cross my mind to draw an enormous dividing line through the English language. Then again I probably wouldn’t work for a company that, ironically, has such as nasty grasp of English in the first place. Go on, take a look at the packets housing these magnets. The blurb takes such a massive shit on the use of apostrophes and capital letters that the manufacturers would be better placed teaching kids to scratch their own arses than to read.

Or perhaps these magnets are less about teaching kids to read and more about giving them an excuse for thirty years of therapy. I have only a fevered idea of what it must like to be a little girl who enjoys ‘running’, only for her to be told that it’s a boy’s word. And how boys must feel when their love of ‘lemonade’ turns out to be a girl’s pastime is beyond me.

All of this means that I’d like to produce a word collection of my own. Apart from the obvious four-letter efforts it would scream ‘cockwomble’, ‘par-boiled puss bucket’ and ‘giant fuckwad’. Oh, and you can forget about these words being on magnets. They’d be written ten feet high on the front of the manufacturer’s building. If they want to learn about the English language I really would be more than happy to teach them.

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40 Responses to Word Up

  1. scallopsrgreat says:

    Laughing aside at this very funny post, this is just misogynistic shit. It is another layer of policing what boys and more specifically and harmfully, girls should be interested in. I noticed “love” only appeared on the girl’s list. That alone speaks volumes.

    • The Kraken says:

      Oh, good spot Scallops! Good spot! I hadn’t noticed that. And you are right. It tells you all you need to know.

    • Jonna King says:

      I honestly don’t see how this is ‘misogynistic’ or why it is more harmful to girls, truly I don’t. I feel it is just ‘offensive’ all round and, more than that, utterly ridiculous.

  2. Rob Kerr says:

    Hear hear! I’ve sent them an appropriately apoplectic email of disgust, linking your rant and quoting some of the choicer morsels (I hope you don’t object).

  3. kate longthorne says:

    Whoever came up with this idea is obviously 150 years behind!!It is 2013 not 1880!!!!I do not believe the majority of switched on parents and educators will buy into this clatrap anyway,i certainly wouldn’t inflict it on my daughter(and if i did i’d have to get the “boy” one!)I think it is important to remember that every child is different,develops their own interests and toy manufacturers are only in it for profit and nothing else!!!!

    • The Kraken says:

      You said it Kate, you said it. As much as I can see that manufacturers do this for profit (rather than the evil intent of sexism) it’s still helping to uphold inequality. Bastards.

    • Anon says:

      Umm, 150 years behind would make it 1863. Ain’t numeracy just as important as literacy? ;)

  4. smellblender says:

    Agree. I noticed ‘Music’ on the girls side too. This isn’t really sexist at all, it was clearly written by a post frontal lobotomy patient.

  5. Sang Fang says:

    It’s so wrong. But it’s also a completely obscure, cheapo bullshit product that is probably found in about 3 village post offices throughout the country. Hardly impacting the new generation. And they will sell a handful, all of which will be used for about 10 minutes then forgotten / lost under various cabinets – like all this sort of junky crap.
    So instead of flying into some sort of red-faced righteous apoplexy, just treat it for the tiny insignificant piece of shit that it is. Ignore it and laugh at it’s lameness.
    These anachronisms pop up occasionally, but are about as destructive as a mosquito bite on an elephant.
    Go and have a beer.

    • The Kraken says:

      Thanks for your comment. In fact, if you checked out the product properly you’d find that it’s being sold on Amazon and in a range of shops. And, darling, the reason why I’m red faced and furious is because this isn’t a lone incident of sexism against children. It’s one of many. Believe me, every day little girls and little boys are told what they should and should not like according to their gender. I have a little girl and I see it when I buy her clothes and toys, when she watches films, when she listens to music, when she goes to school and when she plays with her friends. Do you have kids? And if so don’t you see it too?

      • sheona says:

        Oh now that’s just plain confusing. They both get bubbles and chocolate. That might cause years and years worth of gender confused therapy.

        But only girls got friends.

  6. sheona says:

    rather excellent reviews of the pink set on Amazon :)

  7. Halo says:

    Setting girls up for being fluffers, and getting boys into swinging. Nice.

  8. LetToysBeToys says:

    Great blog! We feel just as angry as you do – please come join our campaign on twitter @lettoysbetoys or Facebook where we are working hard to get retailers to stop stocking this kind of sexist nonsense as well as take down their gendered signage. We’ve had successes with Boots, The Entertainer and Tescos thanks to our 5000+ followers.

    These fridge magnets are also causing a stir on twitter and Dobbies (where they were spotted) have now agreed not to stock them. If you want to go straight to the source though contact the makers Indigo Worldwide and tell them what you think!


    Let Toys Be Toys

  9. Jess says:

    If this pissed you off, you might like to visit Let Toys Be Toys: http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk/

  10. Grupa says:

    If you think this matters enough to warent all the fuss, you’re on the wrong planet. As parents, just go buy something you _do_ like. As you go through life, you’ll find that not everything is for you. That’s okay – just don’t get so uptight about it all!

    … if you are not parents, but still see fit to comment on this, just wait until you have kids of your own. Any preconceptions about the theoretical idealistic world you think you might create for your kids will soon vanish into the pit of reality and you’ll start to see the plain facts about what kids do and don’t like. It’s often way more predictable than your egalitarian liberalized fantasy world would like it to be.

    • CN says:

      Sorry, but in the “pit of reality” do only girls like lemonade and have friends and are they obsessed with fluff (?!) while only boys like to glue things and go swimming? I don’t think so. These magnets reflect “reality” in no way imaginable. From a woman who as a little girl lived in the real world and loved swimming and playing with trains. It all depends on a child’s personality, NOT their gender. Plus how disturbing is it that neither of them get “books” as a magnet?

  11. Tom says:

    I expect http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk would be… *interested* to hear about this, from anyone who’s actually seen them on sale

  12. femalepower says:

    maybe you should attack all of children’s toys, clothes, etc before some random thing that nobody buys. if you really think little boys and girls have the exact same interests you don’t have any children

    • The Kraken says:

      So you genuinely think that the interests of boys and girls are based on nature rather than nurture? darling, you are on the wrong website. The bible belt is thataway.

    • Halo says:

      Take away the blue or pink packaging though, and they are just words. Why the actual fuck should some words be marketed for girls or for boys? I have kids, and they were both given the same set of toys to access and learn with, and they chose to play with what they wanted to THEMSELVES. One of them likes cars and trains and vehicles. One of them likes dolls and dressing up. But they were both offered the CHOICE rather than some things being seemingly off-limits on the basis of their genitalia.

      • The Kraken says:

        You said it Halo, you said it. It is about choice and the problem is that when you visit toy aisles there is no choice. Girls have one thing, boys have the other. And as much as we, as parents, don’t allow this false segregation to deter us it still sends the wrong and most damaging type of message.

    • The Kraken says:

      Darling, yes, I have children. And that’s why I have noticed that there is a problem. Do you have children?

  13. Jude says:

    what shop was this picture taken in?

  14. Guinea Pig says:

    Anyone thinking that the above “toy” is not a problem is not looking at the bigger picture. The above “toy” is just an example of the raging sexism girls (and boys) have to deal with on a daily basis.

    When I was ten (27 years ago), I wanted to buy a toy car so that I could play with my brothers. No one said I shouldn’t, my parents didn’t try to stop me. But at the back of my head, I heard a voice saying “Don’t buy a car. That’s for boys. You’re a girl”*.

    This is how pervasive gender stereotyping is. Coming from a family where gender had never been an issue (I was treated the same as my two brothers), I’d *still* managed to pick up thoughts that appeared to have come from the 1850′s.

    Children shouldn’t be told what toys they’re allowed or “should” play with. And it’s only getting worse.

    *I bought the car anyway and had a fabulous time playing with my brothers. We were on holidays in France at the time and it’s one of my favourite memories of the trip.

  15. jay jackson says:

    What do I think of this article? I think it was written by a woman

  16. becon says:

    I’ll have a pink one… but only if cooking friends is a single magnet

  17. Cat says:

    Not only sexist, but a case of genderism as well.

  18. Georgie says:

    I literally cannot believe we aren’t past this shit yet. I have a son and daughter, they love playing together, one day dressing up in fairy outfits and the next day getting coated in mud, does this mean from now on they cannot play together? How on earth with this kind of thing in existence can children possibly be free to experiment with life and find out what they enjoy all by themselves?

  19. Lady Disbelief says:

    If you must put this type of information on the internet can you please put a warning first – I saw the word ‘dragon’ and have now had to take to my bedchamber with some smelling salts it has made my poor little heart beat so fast and I feel so faint. I pray an angel will bring me some bunnies and sparkle to aid my recovery so once again I can venture into the sunshine with my friends to eat chocolate without the fear of my sensibilities being offended.

    Do you think these were created by homophobes? i.e if a little boy sees the word ‘fairy’ it might turn him? Seriously, can’t believe this stuff exists!

  20. Note from Lapland says:

    Holy mother of fucking God. What is wrong with people? *sits in corner downing wine and ranting about the downfall of society*

  21. Hvitr says:

    I’d love a set of Kraken magnetic words for my fridge.

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