The decision of the Tàber school of Barcelona to review the illustrated albums of the library of the preschool courses It has raised dust. The Associació Espai i Lleure, who is the one who has advised this assignment, says that they have carried out "an exhaustive analysis with a gender perspective of the library". They have weighed both the value of traditional stories and the fact that "in early childhood from 0 to 5 years, symbolic imaginaries are developed from everything that is seen and heard." And they add: "If these contents are strongly stereotyped, those stereotypes are naturalized in children's imaginaries."
Despite the approach of the school when making this selection, the decision has been celebrated, questioned and rejected in the agora of the social networks and the media. Let's see some opinions below to contextualize the debate.
"It seems a serious mistake to check out books from a library, for whatever reason. Books can not be prohibited; what has to be done is to teach the students to be critical of what they read. In addition, the majority of books that have been eliminated tell stories that, initially (in the middle ages), were very different and had an initiatory and educational goal for young people. Over time, the story collectors, like Perrault or the Grimm brothers, adapted them to the stereotypes of the time. "
"It is always better to propose a critical reading than to pretend to eliminate it, because total will not cease to exist. The current interpretation is conditioned by an environment that does not correspond to that of fables and rondallas. In fact, the traditional stories were not intended for children, but warned of the dangers of the forest, for example, through symbols that are repeated throughout the world, as studied by Vladimir Propp. In some versions, Little Red Riding Hood is a boy, because the main theme of the story is its vulnerability due to age -like the grandmother, who is also vulnerable because she is old. Dressing in red attracts the attention of the predator. Since today we are aware of the gender issue, we can interpret it from here: girls can not dress as they want. But it would become a literary ultracorrection: the original message is distorted by an excessive and wrong desire for correction. While the different readings are debated, there is no problem. "
"I understand that the decision to withdraw according to which books only affects those intended for kindergarten ages. Later, the selection is established on the criteria of the librarians, as it should be in any school library. All education implies selection and what would be a pity is that in the end good politically incorrect books will be eliminated to replace them by mediocre representatives of a good literature laboratory. In the end they will get that, at recess time, children traffic with copies of Little Red Riding Hood. "
"I do not know of any case in which censorship has achieved its objectives"
"I do not know of any case in which censorship has achieved its objectives, at least in the long term. And I'm worried about that feminism that censures, signals and condemns. The fight for equality has to be creative and following the models of totalitarianism does not help. "
"I would put the focus on the stories that are written now; many times they are of a sexism that kills "
"The initiative seems commendable; It is a good way to approach the magnitude of the tragedy. I am not in favor of prohibiting, it is almost always a sign of impotence. It seems much more educational and educational to note, reflect, etc. on the messages, in fact, often sexist classic stories for boys and girls. It can even have a creative and imaginative side, since it makes it possible to make changes in the stories, to invent, for example, different plots, new endings, changes in the characters' sex, etc., and to see what happens. The English writer Angela Carter can be a good model. It would be very important that the focus be placed on the stories that are written now; many times they are of a sexism that kills; it would allow a policy more than a prohibition, preventive. "
"The classics have to be part of the children's imagination. We must promote bibliodiversity: make available different editions of the same title, enable the symbolic reading and not literal, escape the exclusive selection of sugary titles and fruit of the politically correct. The classics represent a first contact with key issues such as evil and injustice. They respond to a tradition that we can not ignore if what we want is to educate in a responsible way. And above all, this debate should highlight that there are serious shortcomings at the school library level. Parent commissions do not have to substitute technical criteria. And the accent should be on the need to have more resources to meet them. "
"Sexism grows and grows, and I would worry about new products and old ones would contextualize them"
"Sexism grows and grows. Now, I would worry about the new products and contextualize the old ones. We can not eliminate history, it is what it is. The role of the teacher is to show what was, what happened, making the context clear. From there, see what we learn, what helps us to build and what we reject. In Life Is Dream I show my students that Segismundo falls in love with the first person he knows, apart from his tutor, who turns out to be a man! Mary Beard, in the conference The Voice of Women, talks about how Telemachus silences his mother and sends her to do 'women's things'. It is a terrible moment of the Odyssey, but what you have to do is not censor it, but explain what Greek society was like in the 8th century BC, and ask the students if they do not believe that today would be outrageous. If we kill Sant Jordi, we do not make the princess stronger, we become the dragon that denies the new generations a knowledge that can help them avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. We have to create princesses of our time, who have the power of the heroes of the past. "