The globalization of the market for children's books has brought Australian authors face-to-face with American standards of political correctness, according to a report in The Age, and the authors are none to happy about it.
Among the things deemed verbotten in illustrations for the books, the authors say, are udders on cows, large lips on dark-skinned children and so-called "Asian-looking" eyes.
"It's not only gone mad, I think it's completely irrational ... to start to think that portraying a race in a true and honest way is somehow derogatory or demeaning," says illustrator Roland Harvey.
Among the other guidelines handed down by U.S. publishers:
--Avoid stereotypes such as females as peripheral/helpers to active/leading males, or senior citizens as infirm, with canes, doddering.
--Elderly people should be shown as active members of society; unless relevant to text they should not be shown in wheelchairs.
--Show mothers involved in outside employment (not in aprons in kitchens).
--Show African-Americans in positions of power, not just in service industries.
--Show African-Americans and other people of colour with a range of skin tones. Hair texture should vary from straight to curly.
--Do not stereotype Asian people with glasses, bowl-shaped haircuts, or as intellectuals.
--No large groups of people without an appropriate ethnic mix and male/female ratio.
--No "help the disabled" pictures ? show disabled people doing for themselves and others.
--Show many types of family grouping. Take care not to imply that one-parent homes are broken.
Monday, April 10, 2006
PC children's books