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The children's book that said girls grow breasts to 'make them look attractive' has been recalled


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A book intended to be a puberty guide for boys has recently caused outcry over its description of the purpose of breasts to make girls look "grown up and attractive".

'Growing Up For Boys' by Alex Frith was published in 2013, but the controversial statement has only recently come to light. 

The offending paragraph was shared on Facebook by blogger Simon Ragoonanan, and since then, has attracted widespread criticism across the internet, for language which has been seen as regressive and encouraging boys to think that female body parts exist purely for their satisfaction. 

Under the page-heading "What are breasts for?", the paragraph reads: "Girls have breasts for two reasons. One is to make milk for babies. The other is to make the girl look grown-up and attractive. Virtually all breasts, no matter what size or shape they end up when a girl finishes puberty, can do both things."

Initially, the publisher, Usborne, apologised for the outdated language and promised to revise it in further issues of the book, but now it has gone a step further than this, and has decided to destroy all remaining stock in its warehouse.

In a statement, Usborne said, "We are very sorry indeed for any offence this has caused. This particular chapter aimed to explain and demystify to boys what girls go through at puberty, and to promote mutual respect and understanding".

Whilst understanding of boys towards girls' puberty is definitely something to be pushed for, it's safe to say that this particular book was somewhat of a mistep for the publisher. 

Further to this, Usborne had previously stated that they recognised that the content needed revising, stating that they "stand against gender stereotyping, or any kind of objectification of women or girls". 

It does seem strange that it has taken four years post the publishing of this book for the sexist passage to be recognised. Perhaps because it was a book for young boys and seen as innocent, it was passed by, but books like this one that reinforce the idea that women are only here for the pleasure of men, especially one for boys of such a young age are very dangerous.

Still, the fact that Usborne has recognized the content in their book as sexist and pulled it from circulation is surely a step forward in making sure that our younger generation of boys grow up treating women as equals rather than objects.

Rather tellingly, the author of the book, Alex Frith, has not come forward to comment about the controversy. 

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