TMF: A working witch

I am jumping in a little late on this, but have you seen the book My Working Mom by Peter Glassman? This 10-year-old children’s book is basically a story about how some moms work outside the home. But what is the career path of this working mom? She’s a witch! Something tells me Glassman isn’t one for subtlety.

This is clearly a Toy Marketing FAIL! (While I don’t think of books as toys exactly, they do provide some entertainment and certainly are complicit in indoctrinating our little ones in social mores. So, there’s some marketing afoot with books, therefore it’s fair game.)

Many of you probably heard about the book after Tina Fey (my writer crush!) wrote in the New Yorker about her 5-year-old daughter checking it out from the library. I’ll let Fey take it from here (from her New Yorker piece):

The two menwho wrote this book probably had the best intentions, but the topic of working moms is a tap-dance recital in a minefield. What is the rudest question you can ask a woman? “How old are you?’ “What do you weigh?” No, the worst question is: “How do you juggle it all?” The second-worst question is: “Are you going to have more kids?”

And really, these guys couldn’t think of a better occupation less fraught with loaded imagery than a witch?! She couldn’t be a scientist, doctor, teacher, accountant, dancer, mayor, gardener or even a tooth-fairy… almost anything less spiteful than a witch?

It’s books like these that keep people like me busy working to dismantle patriarchy and sexism in our society. For those who want to roll their eyes or sigh about uppity feminists I ask you: How is it going to get better unless we examine the very dogma we are instilling in children? How do you think sexist imagery and patriarchy become so pervasive? Because it starts young. So young, in fact, that you have no sense of things being any other way. That’s why these kinds of things are insidious. I’m sure Glassman didn’t set out with an evil agenda. But the fact that he chose a witch as the symbol of the working mom speaks volumes.


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