Any offence caused

More foolery.

Usborne publishing has apologised and announced it will revise a puberty guide for boys that states that one of the functions of breasts is “to make the girl look grown-up and attractive”.

Published in 2013, Growing Up for Boys by Alex Frith is described by Usborne as a “frank and friendly book offering boys advice on what to expect from puberty and how to stay happy and confident as they go through physical, psychological and emotional changes”. According to the publisher, it “covers a range of topics, including moods and feelings, what happens to girls, diet, exercise, body image, sex and relationships, self-confidence, alcohol and drugs”.

It is the section on breasts that has drawn criticism, after writer and blogger Simon Ragoonanan, who blogs about fatherhood at Man vs Pink, posted a page from the book on Facebook. “What are breasts for?” writes Frith in the extract. “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.”


Sure, and by the same token, humans have ears for two reasons: to hear, and to hang glasses on. We have feet for two reasons: to walk, and to wear Jimmy Choo shoes. We have elbows for two reasons: to connect the two bits of arm, and to prod people on crowded buses. That’s science.

Page taken from Growing Up for Boys by Alex Firth

After a campaign led by parent group Let Books Be Books three years ago, Usborne announced that it would discontinue publishing gendered titles, such as its pink Girls’ Activity Book and blue Boys’ Activity Book.

I bet we can guess what those color-coded activities were like.

A spokesperson from Usborne Publishing told the Guardian: “Usborne apologises for any offence caused by this wording and will be revising the content for reprinting.”

Identical wording to that in the response from Tatton Park to the “future footballers wife” hat – “any offence” – which tidily avoids actually acknowledging what was wrong with the wording, and translates the objections into silly ruffled feelings as opposed to reasoned arguments against treating girls and women as stupid fluffy empty playthings for the real people, who are male.

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