When I was younger, I read a book that had belonged to my great-great-aunt Carrie. It was a small book with a beautiful cover. It was printed sometime around 1913 and was meant to teach girls how to be proper young ladies, sort of a finishing school in a book for the not-so-privileged if you will.
The book went into great detail about manners: how a young lady should act, eat, sit, make polite conversation, etc. One subject that has stuck with me after all this time is the rules girls were instructed to follow concerning bodily functions. Belching was never allowed, but delicately holding a cloth napkin or handkerchief over one’s mouth to genteelly stifle a burp was acceptable when necessary. Passing gas and speaking of the subject was strictly forbidden, as was talking about other bodily functions like sweating. These were things that refined decorous young ladies of delicate sensibilities were not to discuss.
Now, fast forward through two world wars, the sexual revolution, women joining the workforce, and busting through the glass ceiling. We might see women treated differently now, for the most part, but there are still societal expectations that women act “lady-like” and not admit to things like farting or actually farting in public. I have friends who have told me stories about not wanting to fart or poop in the same apartment as their boyfriends that they were dating for up to a year into their relationship. How uncomfortable! Some men, on the other hand, seem to enjoy and even take pride in their farts (see my review of the Dutch Oven Fart Blanket).
Since becoming a mother to my daughter, Abby, I have become more vocal about feminism and gender equality.
I have tried to teach her that she is just as smart as any boy, she can grow up do be whatever she wants to be, she doesn’t have to be confined to traditional “female” roles or professions, and more. I have tried to stay away from gender stereotypes and let my children know that it is OK to have an interest in things that some people consider ‘only for boys’ or ‘only for girls.’ I’m cool with my daughter playing in her Spiderman costume. I’m happy to see my son cradling a doll.
When I first read the description of We Toot! I was excited to get a copy and read it with Abby.
We Toot!, written by Ashley Wheelock and Arwen Evans, is delightfully described as a “Feminist fable about farting.”
The story follows six young friends having fun at a slumber party. One of the girl farts and everyone smells it. One girl is blamed for the flatulence and you can tell by the group’s expressions that they are uncomfortable in the situation. Why? Because “… girls do not fart, it’s foul and not proper,” one girl replies.
The girl who farted owns up to her toot; she tells the group that it is normal and she is not ashamed of her body. One by one the girls all admit that they fart too.
I love the light-hearted message Wheelock and Evans are giving their readers. The girls are all different in many ways, but everyone has a body that is wonderful and amazing. We shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed of them or what they do. Promoting body positivity, self-love, and self-acceptance is something I believe to be extremely important for young girls.
Abby thought the story was funny and giggled at the girls’ descriptions of the fart smell. She laughed as she told me that she and her cousin Megan liked to “spark” (fart). Even though my daughter is only four-years-old, she could identify with the girls, from the fun they had to the pajamas and mismatched socks they wore and the way they supported each other.
Although the book is described as a feminist fable and has a targeted audience of girls, I believe that boys would also enjoy the story and be able to takeaway the intended message too.
I enjoyed the illustrations by Sandra Sonke. The characters were all unique and I love the diversity in the representation of the young girls. A wide audience of girls would be able to identify with a character. The imagery was silly and fun.
Abby has requested to read this book seven times since we received it in the mail, so I think it’s fair to say that she likes it a lot. I am looking forward to passing it on to my two five-year-old nieces and my nine-year-old niece. I think they will all enjoy it as much as we have.
Disclaimer: I kindly received the book and materials from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no other compensation for my opinion and the views expressed above are mine and those of my family.
Details about the book:
Publisher: House of Tomorrow
Publication date: August 26, 2019
Length: 40 pages
Price: $18.99 (Amazon)
Have you and your family read this book? I would love to hear your take on the story! Let me know your opinion in the comments below.