Lordo and Miguel both sent in an image found at Blame it on the Voices and Mangas Verdes that shows pages from what is described as a “1970s children’s book.” They helpfully instruct kids as to what boys and girls are like:


My first reaction was suspicion that perhaps this was a hoax–one of those things people come up with to supposedly show how antiquated and insane people used to be. But I did a little digging, and it turns out it’s real–the images are from a book called I’m Glad I’m a Boy! I’m Glad I’m a Girl!, written by Whitney Darrow. You can buy it used on Amazon for the bargain price of $269, if you want to be sure your kids don’t get confused about their roles.

See also “What Shall I Be,” 1960s and ’70s board games for girls and boys.

UPDATE: Commenter Jennifer says Whitney Darrow was a humorist, and that this book was intended as a satire of gender roles:

Whitney Darrow was a cartoonist. The images are not propaganda. They are not indoctrination.

She’s right–he drew cartoons for the New Yorker, among others. According to Jennifer, the book would have been widely recognized as satire at the time. But other commenters remember the book from the 1970s and didn’t see it as satire. And Time magazine featured it as an outdated book still available on California school library shelves in 1999, when it was apparently removed during an effort to update libraries. I found several discussions of it in books published in the 1980s and 1990s and none of them noticed it was satire either (which could just be a weakness in their analyses, of course).

And Ellie adds,

I’m not sure it was satire — it doesn’t seem to have been pitched that way.

From School Libraries, published by the American Association of School Libraries, 1969:  “This warmly humorous book makes everybody glad they are what they are.”

From The Horn Book Magazine, 1970:  “He’s glad he’s a boy and she’s glad she’s a girl.  In this warmly humorous book, they tell each other why and conclude that the best reason of all is — because they need each other!”

From the “Books for Children” section in Childhood Education, 1970:  “Simple drawings with line captions designed to help the young child discover his or her appropriate sex role.”

So I’m not sure what to make of this one.

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