Most of the time that I spend reading MG books or watching movies and TV shows, I am happily racking up all the things I like about them. Every now and then, however, I come across something I HATE, HATE, HATE.
Anyone who has read my blog posts here at Project Middle Grade Mayhem knows what a nitpicker I am. But this is not a NIT. Or if it is, it is a MOUNTAINOUS one.
The thing I hate is this:
ANY VERB USED BEFORE THE PHRASE "LIKE A GIRL" THAT IS MEANT TO BE DISPARAGING. (Yes, I sometimes DO need all caps!)
This includes CRIES like a girl, THROWS like a girl, and RUNS like a girl.
When I see a sentence like "the big, strong jock cried like a girl," I wonder why it seems strange to say "the girl cried like a big, strong jock." Big, strong jocks DO cry, after all. And when they do, they are crying like BIG, STRONG JOCKS, not GIRLS.
This bee has popped up in my bonnet because I just read a popular MG novel (which shall remain nameless, to spare the MALE author SHAME) where a GIRL says someone throws like a girl, and not as a compliment. I couldn't believe it! What a traitor. I would have no problem with a sentence that explained WHICH GIRL EXACTLY couldn't run or throw, etc. Such as "the big, strong jock cried like a girl who had just seen her favorite plush animal torn to pieces in the washing machine." That seems fair to me. So does "the girl cried like a big, strong jock who had just had his football squashed flat by a runaway bulldozer."
Anyone who mistakenly thinks girls can't run or throw should talk to the girls who completed the Fall 2010 Girls on the Run program in the Mehlville School District in St. Louis, Missouri or the fifth grade girls' softball League Champs at The Harker School in San Jose, California and LEARN A THING OR TWO!
(P.S.—My MG novel THE BOY WHO HOWLED is a shining example of gender fairness!)