Seán Ó Séaghdha

Source: France 2


See also:  Libération - Polémique «Tous à poil» : Ayrault juge Copé «ridicule»

In the past week a stupid controversy has been whipped up by the leader (if they really have one) of the conservative UMP, Jean-François Copé. He’s objecting to a children’s book being ‘promoted’ in primary schools.  In fact, this book is one of 500 texts suggested by the ABCD of Equality website to the 10 schools trialling a program to combat sex stereotypes.

So what’s he so het up about?  Nudity!  Nudity destroying children’s respect for authority.  This cheeky and charming little book, Tous à poil !  (Everyone naked!), shows a variety of people stripping off and in the end having a swim.  In standard children’s book style, it repeats the same formula on each page: Á poil le bébé ! The baby naked!   Á poil la boulangère ! The (lady) baker naked!   À poil le policier ! The policeman naked!   À poil la mamie ! Granny naked!   À poil le chien ! The dog naked!   Á poil la maîtresse ! The teacher naked!   À poil les dames de la cantine ! The canteen ladies naked! etc.  The purpose of all this is pretty clear to anyone with a brain—to defuse body anxiety by showing a variety of body types, satisfy that childish curiosity and to show that people are, at some level, all the same.

 It was interesting to see some of the other books, either recommended or related.

Zizi, Zézette : mode d’emploi (Willy, Fanny*: instruction manual)

Caractéristiques techniques : les zizis et les zézettes sont produits de façon artisanale. Cela explique pourquoi ils sont tous différents. Forme, taille, couleur sont autant d’éléments de personnalisation qui font de son zizi ou de la zézette un modèle unique et exclusif.

Specifications: willies and fannies are bespoke products. This explains why they are all different. Shape, size, colour are all customised features that make each willy or fanny a unique and exclusive model.

à quoi tu joues ? (what are you playing at?) contrasts common stereotypes (e.g. boys never cry) with a fold-out picture showing the opposite (e.g. Yannick Noah crying after winning a tennis match).  Although all the examples I’ve seen seem to be stereotypes about boys there are also apparently girls piloting rockets and so on.

Mademoiselle Zazie a-t-elle un zizi ? (Does Miss Poppy have a peepee?)

Pour Max, les choses sont claires et le monde est divisé en deux : les "avec zizi", qui sont les plus forts, et les "sans zizi", les filles, quoi ! Les pauvres... Jusqu'au jour où arrive Zazie, une fille qui joue au foot, dessine des mammouths, grimpe aux arbres... C'est sûr, il s'agit d'une imposture. Max décide de prouver à tout le monde que Zazie est une tricheuse qui a un zizi. Une surprise l'attend.

For Max, things are simple and the world is divided in two: the “with peepee”, who are strong, and the “without peepee”, girls, poor things! Until the day that Poppy arrives, a girl who plays football, draws mammoths, climbs trees. It must be some kind of trick. Max decides to prove to the world that Poppy is a cheater who has a peepee.  A surprise awaits him.

I’m guessing we don’t have this kind of thing in schools in Australia, but does anyone know?  I think it’s a good idea to challenge sexism as early as possible.  What do you think?

* The best translation I could come up with for zézette.  English seems to have no problem with cute names for penises, but can be a bit evasive about lady-bits.  Discuss.