Wednesday, February 13, 2008

And She Did

"Who will help me plant the seeds?" asked the Little Red Hen.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Then I will do it myself!" said the Little Red Hen.
And she did.

A chance remark on Twitter a few nights ago elicited an interesting response. I commented that I would be telling my younger students the story of the Little Red Hen, one of my childhood favorites. Since the heroine of the tale ends up accomplishing all her goals on her own, I described her as a feminist.

Many of my PLN (Personal Learning Network: my online support system) instantly and emphatically agreed, saying that they remembered the story from their own childhood and were passing it on to their daughters.

One gets the impression that, while the Little Red Hen might welcome a partner, she's too busy to loll around waiting for a rooster in shining armor to solve her problems.

She knew she could do it herself. And she did.

“It’s important to remember that feminism is no longer a group of organizations or leaders. It’s the expectations that parents have for their daughters, and their sons, too. It’s the way we talk about and treat one another. It’s who makes the money and who makes the compromises and who makes the dinner. It’s a state of mind. It’s the way we live now.” -Anna Quindlen

"Poultry...!" by eye of einstein


Anonymous said...

Diane -
I was one of the people who responded to your tweet about this :-) Your post is interesting to me because when you tweeted the little red hen's line, I wasn't thinking of it in terms of feminism, but rather in terms of taking charge of your (my) own life. Maybe it's the fact that we're of different generations (as we've discussed!) that didn't make me automatically think feminism? The hen's words resonate with me because in my professional life, I don't wait for anyone to do anything for me or help me do something - I ask for what I want and do what I need to do to get it. I hope to teach both my daughter AND son that this is an honorable way to live. I learned it from my mother and I think watching her make her OWN way through life made me a stronger person. Now that I write that, it does sound like it's about feminism :-) Anyway, thanks for bringing this up, it's a great lesson for all of us.

diane said...


I was the first girl in my extended family to live away from home (at college) before being married.

My generation is perhaps more aware of the feminist perspective.

You are probably closer to my daughter's age than to mine. I remember her as a tiny little towhead insisting that "I can do it mine self." She was right; and yes, so was her brother when he asserted his independence.

I admire their strength and yours and hope that my generation had something to do with it.


lbilak said...

I also chirped in with a tweet.
You inspired me by discussing the joy of storytelling to primary students. I saw your "little red hen" reference-and feminism slant.
The next day in school I played an mp3 of Robert Munsch telling his story the "Paper Bag Princess". We have 25 minutes at the start of the day for reading. My seventh graders were riveted-my projector was connected to the laptop and his voice was so ACTIVE in Windows Media Player visualizaions. Today, a girl pronunced yesterday as the best day ever because of the story that began her day.
I am passing the credit on to you-
my media specialist/feminist/friend

diane said...


I love Robert Munsch - his Thomas' Snowsuit always cracks the kids up and many are partial to Stephanie' Ponytail.

A 6th grade teacher & I did a quick team-teaching activity last year, where we asked the kids to describe the main characteristics of a princess (beautiful, sweet, passive) and a prince (strong, brave, assertive). After reviewing a few traditional fairy tales, we shared The Paper Bag Princess and The Princess Knight (Cornelia Funke).

The kids enjoyed the comparison and so did we.

A well-written picture book is a joy and a wonder!


Sarah Stewart said...

Great post, Diane. Never thought about it like this-will use this in my teaching to use as a way to explain feminism. cheers Sarah