Feminists battle against sexist books

A Cheltenham based feminist society has began a campaign to stop gender bias children’s books.

‘Chelt Fems’ have been distributing ‘gender busting’ bookmarks throughout sexist children’s books in local shops across the town centre.

The campaign aims to encourage young people not to adhere to traditional stereotypes.

Head of the group, Josephine Bartooch said:

“To see very narrow stereotypes throughout children’s literature is quite shocking”

The feminist organization is hoping that this protest will result in publishers and authors reconsidering producing literature for a child that contains sexist content.

An image of anti sexism bookmarks used in campaign
Bookmarks used in the Cheltenham campaign

Ms Bartooch hopes that this campaign will result in a bigger change for children later in life:

“Two thirds of MPs are male, and then you look at the fact that two thirds of protagonists in children’s books are male”

The bookshops in this protest included: WH Smith, Waterstones and The Works, all of which have declined to comment on the matter.

Sue Mooney, who volunteers at a local British Red Cross bookshop in Cheltenham said:

“I can’t think that any reasonable bookshop would have an objection”

Similar campaigns across the country include, ‘Let Books Be Books – Let Toys Be Toys’.

Since this campaign was launched, nine children’s publishers have stopped labelling books with either ‘boys’ or ‘girls’.

The campaigning website claims that:

“They’re not ‘getting it wrong’ if a girl likes robots, or if a boy wants to doodle flowers. These artificial boundaries turn children away from their true preferences, and provide a fertile ground for bullying”

A concern of Ms Bartooch’s was that parents might feel that their authority is being threatened by this protest, but she urges them to:

“Not see it as a personal attack, but to see it as a political point”

Join the debate by using on #fembookmarks Twitter, or send us your thoughts via our comments section.

You can see Josephine Bartooch’s full interview here:



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