How I’ve helped teach boys that girls are boring and unimportant

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“Isn’t that too girly?”

It’s one of the questions that bookseller L-J Lacey is asked if she suggests parents buy a book with a female protagonist for their boy.

But it’s not the boys who object to reading stories about girls, says Lacey, who owns Melbourne children’s bookstore Three Four Knock On The Door – it’s the parents. Boys tend to be far more interested in what the story is about than the gender of the protagonist.

“One of my book clubs just happens to be all 9 to 10-year-old boys. We have read several books which featured a female protagonist. The boys have never been bothered,” says Lacey.

“The last book we did was Magrit by Lee Battersby. No one complained that it was about a girl. Some loved the story, some struggled with the concept, but not one had an issues with the female protagonist.”

Lacey says it’s not good enough to just have female secondary characters such as Annabeth in Percy Jackson or Hermione in Harry Potter.

“We need to teach boys that girls are capable and equal. We need to teach them to respect girls,” says Lacey.

Lacey says that 90 per cent of the books she sells have a male protagonist, and customers almost never buy books for boys with a female hero.

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