The children’s classic, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, reinforces harmful gender stereotypes which cause violence against women and girls, a campaigner has claimed.
Rachel Adamson, of Zero Tolerance, a charity working to end men’s violence against women, said Judith Kerr’s 1968 classic was “problematic” because of its “old fashioned” portrayal of gender roles.
The charity co-director claimed on Monday that removing some books which feature gender stereotypes would be “a small price to pay for the lives of women”.
The book, which is one of the most popular picture books in the UK, concerns a girl called Sophie, her mother, and a tiger who consumes all the food and drink they have.
Ms Adamson yesterday told BBC Radio Scotland: “We need to recognise these aren’t just stories. We know that gender stereotypes are harmful and they reinforce gender inequality, and that gender inequality is the cause of violence against women and girls, such as domestic abuse, rape and sexual harassment.”
She added: “I know this will make a lot of people unhappy, but one of the books is The Tiger Who Came to Tea … Judith Kerr is a wonderful author. However, it is reflective of a society that we need to think more closely about.”
The activist did not suggest banning the book, but said it should be used to provoke a conversation about gender roles.
Meghan Gallacher, the Scottish Conservatives’ spokeswoman for children and young people, told the Daily Telegraph: “While attitudes understandably change over time, parents will be left bemused at some of these claims by Zero Tolerance.
“This sort of language is completely unhelpful as we try to educate children about much-loved publications from days gone by.”
It has been suggested the tiger reflects Kerr’s experiences as a young child in Nazi Germany – but it was an assertion the writer herself always denied.
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