I bought the book “If you Give a Gay Mouse a Cookie” by Art for a Democratic Society because a facebook friend recommended it, and I have to admit, I’m disappointed. I recognize the spirit of the book. I recognize that they are trying to rebut the crazy “gay marriage will lead to bestiality and people forcing you to marry them” nonsense by saying no, gay marriage will lead to good things, and as expected they followed the pattern established by Laura Numeroff where one (good) thing leads to another.
What I didn’t expect was that the book would erase all earlier civil rights history and portray gay marriage as the key pin to everyone else realizing they are oppressed.
When they draw pictures of women unhappy in a traditional marriage and credit gay marriage as bringing the traditional family into question, they are erasing the struggle of women like Florence Nightingale, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, and the Langham group (just to name the ones I’ve been reading about recently) and countless others who attempted in their own ways to struggle against the limits placed on women. “If traditional family comes into question, so will the traditional role of women as home makers.” Umm, ya, that happened long before the gay mouse got a cookie. Women will want economic independence. They’re late on that one too.
I’m disappointed because the book doesn’t point out any of the real results of gay marriage. It didn’t talk about how spouses will be able to help make end of life decisions for their partner. They didn’t talk about how it might help people access insurance benefits or maintain access to the children they helped to raise.
If the book wanted to be crazy exciting and unrealistic, why stop at the ones they did? Why not claim gay marriage will allow for solar powered cars and carbon capture? Go over the top with claims and people would at least recognize you’re joking and not trying to take credit for inspiring people to fight for a just society.
I know my reaction to the book is influenced by my being a heterosexual Canadian. Gay marriage is not a big deal here. Not all churches will do a religious ceremony, but some will. And it isn’t that there isn’t more that needs to be done. I know there is more that needs to be done to promote gay rights, and to promote women’s rights, immigrant rights, and rights in general, but gay marriage doesn’t magical make women realize they are oppressed. I just don’t agree with that premise that the rest of us were all ignorant until gay rights came along to enlighten us. I hope this was an oversight or a bad judgment call on the authors’ part and not an example of misogyny.