Loryn Brantz On Why The World Needs “Feminist Baby”
Although we’ve made undeniable progress over the years, debunking the negative stereotypes that still surround the word “feminism” is important, to say the least. And the earlier on we can do this, the better—which is exactly what Loryn Brantz aims to do with her third children’s book, Feminist Baby.
“Feminist Baby felt like it had been a long time coming,” Brantz, who lives in New York City and is also a senior writer on staff at Buzzfeed, told me in an email. “From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been trying think of a children’s story I could tell that would positively impact the world. … I wanted to write a book that I would want to give to my friends’ babies, and to my own possible future babies.” The specific idea for this book, though, hit Brantz when she was looking for a baby book related to feminism to buy for a friend’s shower; she was so inspired she “literally ran home to write it,” she said.
Feminist Baby aims to expose children to the idea of feminism and familiarize them with the true meaning of the often misjudged and maligned word. The book does this through a variety of distinctively illustrated comics which humorously present feminist ideals in the context of a baby’s imagined life. “Feminist Baby chooses what to wear,” one page reads; “Feminist Baby likes pink and blue,” reads another.
“A lot of children's media likes to beat around the bush and I think it's time to be more direct,” Brantz said. “I'd like to think that if a child loves Feminist Baby, it will help them have a positive association with feminism later on in life.”
The book is also unique in that it’s completely gender neutral. Brantz didn’t want to exclude young boys from her intended audience, she said, because “they need to grow up with feminism and not be scared of it. It would be much easier to make progress with everyone working together.”
While Brantz has been waiting for the book to be released, fans have likely noticed that she’s published comics that similarly feature a feminist baby protagonist, but that target an adult audience. The comics use humor to subvert typically tired conventions such as the “gender reveal” and baby’s first words. This same baby character has also been used in the context of political satire; one comic illustrates a baby’s refusal to be born while President Trump is tweeting.
Acquainting people with the word “feminism” without provoking antipathy or fear is important; introducing babies to the word prevents us from having to do so later in life, after one’s opinions are already firmly molded. Feminist Baby is not only fresh and neoteric, but shows people of all ages that feminism is not a word to be afraid of.
You can purchase Brantz’s book, which was released on April 11, here.
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