Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

Growing up, I never liked fairy tales, or books about princesses. I thought they were boring and pointless. I would never want to be stuck in a castle, dressed in all pink, so why would I read about it? Thankfully my parents recognized this early on, and filled our bookshelves with “books for boys”, which were usually about animals, ships at sea, and sports. While I thought nothing of it at the time, I now am infuriated that  books that were aimed at young girls were typically girly and frilly. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of girls who enjoyed these books. But why limit these young girls to one story? In a recent article I read in the Huffington Post, a new book was being launched for girls. Its called “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls”, and it tells the story of 100 real women who have changed the world. The book features women such as the Brontë sisters, Frida Kahlo, Serena Williams and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, giving girls real-life role models instead of a perfect princess in a castle. I love the idea of this book, and would most definitely buy it. However, I was slightly concerned about the word choice in the title. Why do girls who accomplish great things be “rebels”? Sure, its a fun title, but it implies that all of these women are rebelling against the gender norms set for them, and are unique because they did so. The Keywords essay on Tomboys is reflective of this sentiment, tomboys are seen as an abnormality, rebels in a sense. However, we should define both tomboys and strong, accomplished women as what they are- women, not rebels.

2 thoughts on “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls”

  1. I think you have made a really great point here. I also preferred books that would have been considered to be written for boys when I was little so I understand where you are coming from with that. It is really terrible that somebody would refer to women who have accomplished so much in their lives as “rebels” as if they have done something wrong. My only question would be who put the book together.

  2. I, too, have trouble with the fact that successful or adventurous are associated with the word “rebel”. Surely the authors chose the word carefully, since it’s pure definition is representative of the fight women face for equal rights: “a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler”. But possibly, in an effort to create symbolism, they neglected to consider the natural negative connotations that come with the word; especially when very young girls are the ones trying to understand exactly why successful women are considered rebels.

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