Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Mail article on EU banning books dismissed as 'nonsense'

The Mail claims the EU is now looking to ban...the Famous Five:

James Chapman explains:

Books which portray ‘traditional’ images of mothers caring for their children or fathers going out to work could be barred from schools under proposals from Brussels.

An EU report claims that ‘gender stereotyping’ in schools influences the perception of the way boys and girls should behave and damages women’s career opportunities in the future.

Skip straight to the end and the 'spokesman for the London office of the European Commission' is quoted saying:

'This is nonsense. "Brussels" has no legal powers to intervene in which books are available in UK schools, it is a matter for the UK and for schools.

'The European Parliament committee report - which anyway represents just the committee's view - does not suggest banning books.

'And even in areas where it does call for EU level action and where that is legally possible, that can only be done if the Commission makes a proposal - it hasn't - and if the European Parliament as a whole and a large majority of member states then adopt it.'

So eventhough the paper has a quote saying the story is 'nonsense' they run it as 'Brussels wants to ban some books' anyway.

In fact, the report says nothing at all about banning books from schools or anywhere else - the word 'book' isn't used at all. It suggests 'study materials' could be introduced to counter 'gender stereotypes' and suggests there is a need to:

raise awareness in Advertising Standard Committees and self-regulatory bodies about the negative influences of gender discrimination and stereotypes in the media.

Enid Blyton isn't mentioned, either.

The report also looks at the labour market and says:

disproportionate representation of women in part-time jobs and the gender pay gap clearly show that gender stereotypes result in gender discrimination on the labour market.

It makes some suggestions which it believes may remedy this. But Chapman doesn't mention any of this, which seems curious, given the Mail's front page story today, which focuses on another report on the gender pay gap:

That article doesn't mention the report from the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality either.


  1. I can't quite believe the Mail are still dredging up "they all want to ban Enid Blyton" like this. The earliest such Mail article I'm certain of is from 1964!

    Note also their pretence at caring for their (compared to most other papers) disproportionately female readership, while in reality laughing behind their backs.

  2. Brilliant juxtaposition of the 'look we care about women, honest' headline with an article praising Nadine Dorries, who wants to reduce the abortion limit.

  3. And have you seen this staggering exchange of emails between an MEP and the Mail on this article?


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