Usborne pulps puberty book following criticism

Usborne pulps puberty book following criticism

Usborne Publishing has revealed it will pulp the remaining stock of Growing Up for Boys following criticism over the 2013 title’s claim that girls have breasts “to look grown-up and attractive”.

The children's publisher said it recognises it has “made a mistake” and is “sorry indeed for any offence this has caused”.

In a lengthy statement, Usborne said it was “troubled that in some reports the wording has been misreported and taken out of context” but acknowledges that “this particular content needs revising and we are doing that already”.

The 280-page book hit the headlines on Tuesday (29th August) after ‘Dad blogger’ Simon Ragoonanan drew attention to the book on his Man vs. Pink Facebook page where he wrote: “Wtf? From the Usborne Publishing book 'Growing Up for Boys': Girls have breasts for two reasons - for feeding babies and looking grown-up and attractive.

He included a picture of the book's content which reads: "Girls have breasts for two reasons. One is to make milk for babies. The other is to make the girl look grown-up and attractive. Virtually all breasts, no matter what size or shape they end up when a girl finishes puberty, can do both things."

The Usborne spokesperson said: “We have received many comments and press reports regarding an extract in Growing Up for Boys. Usborne always strives to create meticulously researched and carefully written material for children and young adults, and communicate issues in as appropriate a manner as we can. But in this instance, we recognise that we have made a mistake. For this we apologise and reiterate that the material will be revised. Our remaining stock will be removed from the warehouse and pulped."

The publisher added that is welcomed feedback. It said: “Usborne highly values the opinion and feedback of parents and children, and we are passionate about producing the very highest quality and trusted content. Again we are very sorry indeed for any offence this has caused.

Growing Up For Boys is a book that aims to discuss a wide range of vital topics from spots and shaving to cyberbullying, responsibility for contraception, sexual orientation, sexuality, STIs, emotional literacy, sexual and physical abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, brain development, respect in relationships, homophobic bullying, healthy eating, exercise, mental health issues, self-confidence, eating disorders, pornography use and screen addiction.”

The spokesperson said that the passage attempted to clarify the puberty stage for boys and promote “mutual respect”.

They said: “This particular chapter aimed to explain and demystify to boys what girls go through at puberty, and to promote mutual respect and understanding. We are troubled that in some reports the wording has been misreported and taken out of context. However we recognise that this particular content needs revising and we are doing that already.

"Usborne stands against gender stereotyping, or any kind of objectification of women and girls.”

The spokesperson added: “It is our aim to create books which are engaging, educational, child-friendly and accurate, and which communicate the values of respect and understanding. We welcome all feedback which helps us to achieve this.”

The statement is also available on the publisher's website.