Was Dr. Seuss a sexist?

Photo from Powell'sPhoto from Powell'sOh, I love Dr. Seuss as much as the next gal, but was he a sexist?

Margot Magowan points out in her recent article on SF Gate, Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss, no girls invited, the possibility that the good "doctor" had a problem with girls.

In his writing career, Theodor Seuss Geisel, under the pen name Dr. Seuss, published over 60 wonderfully imaginative often genius rhyming children's books. However, these books only included a handful of girl characters, including Cindy Lu in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and the sister in The Cat and the Hat.

Now honestly, while I think Ms. Magowan makes a valid discussion point (why didn't Dr. Seuss include more girl characters?), I don't really have any reason to believe he was actually a male chauvinist.

He was a writer after all and oftentimes, writers write about what they know. Theodor was once a boy, so it's not so strange that he often included boy or male characters. But probably more importantly, there's the part about the era in which he was writing. It wasn't really a girl's world, now was it? Who knows if he'd even have been able to sell a girl-centered story to a publisher. Sad but true.

The part I think is really important is Magowan's final point: "Dr. Seuss - just like the guys at Pixar and Disney - is so creative in so many ways, why does he become trite and cliche when it comes to gender? Why is it so beyond the male imagination to create a magical world where girls and boys are equally important?"

Disney, and especially the ever-modern Pixar, should be able to look at Dr. Seuss and the entire children's literary canon and see that half the population is *STILL* being sorely overlooked. They're making multi-million dollar movies, which can and should include more strong, independent girl characters.

What do you think? Had you ever noticed there were so few girls in Dr. Seuss books? Did it bother you? And what do you think about this in terms of today's children's literature and media? Does it matter?

Written by Sheri Reed for Big Kid in CafeMom Parenting


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