Thursday, October 15, 2015

Talking Gender

A review of Gender Talk - Big Hero, Size Zero by a 15-year-old 

"The book states a lot of facts without hiding anything. The truth is not morphed to make it sound better. That way it is different and more effective than textbooks, because, how much ever text books are supposed to tell the truth, they only touch the basics and in the process not touch upon a lot of things. That leads to us experience stuff on our own, and learn them the hard way.

I am a std X student and I think I know a lot of stuff, because I have 'learnt it via my text books', but I really have not. Only when I read it in this book, that I actually got to know more about a lot of things that are going on around the world, in a factual way. This may or may not be true for adults, but definitely true for adolescents and mid-teens. For example, the book rightly points out that a lot of us, girls think that in the US and other western countries, girls have a lot more freedom and they are treated better than in India. Like, they can wear whatever they want etc., but this book has let me know that they may also be constrained just like us or in other ways that we do not face.

This book talks about a lot of stuff that is told down to us kids by not only our parents, but other adults in the family too and we are expected to abide by them, just because they have been told by the elders. Most of the criticisms and beliefs, are taken and treated like they can't be challenged.This book tells us that they don't have a reason behind most of those and they are saying most of them just because they never thought about questioning their adults. This book taught me that we can challenge those beliefs and not feel guilty like I am speaking against my parent. I don't have to accept things just because they are told by an adult.

This book has helped me realise, that we as in the current teens, who think that we are not as biased as our parents, are actually biased in different ways. It has kind of rubbed off on us as well. We are okay about the male-female-gender-talk, but what about the people who are in between? We too are biased towards them. We think of them as if being born like that is somehow their mistake, when actually this is not true at all. We tease a guy at school, just because he likes another guy. It may be just friendly, still we tease them and it may affect his morale badly. He may not show it outside, but may lead to him being depressed, which may lead to other undesired results.

The Size Zero and the Big Hero concept is so ingrained in our system, that I had not realised that we all are victims of the media. We tease people, just because they are too fat, too thin, skinny, heavy etc, without ever bothering to find out if they are healthy. If they are healthy, why should we bother whether they conform to the norms set by a movie star? This book made me look at our obsession in a new way.
The illustrations in the book make a lot of sense in a not so serious way and makes the book fun to read. They have been done interestingly and at the same time without moving away from the concepts that the book is easily readable, unlike a textbook, in spite of dealing with dry and sometimes not so easy topics. I liked them a lot.

I would recommend this book to all my friends and in fact, make them read it :)"

Saralya P. Narayanan

"The first thing that strikes about the book 'Big Hero, Size Zero' is that it is honest, to the core. There are no biases here, even though it makes the reader acknowledge the biases that are ingrained in his mind.

The book should be slated as the first non-fiction essential that a teen must read. It states all facts as just those... facts. With a child like purpose, the book talks about gender issues, without attaching a whole lot of sentiments.

In a few words, simple, honest, straight forward and a must-read for adolescents, teachers and parents with kids about to become adolescents."

Abirami Narayanan

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments? Feedback? Opinions?