A tribute to baby’s first lessons in queer theory

November 20, 2013 Comments Off on A tribute to baby’s first lessons in queer theory

Charlotte Zolotow died yesterday at age 98. (Honestly, I am not intending to turn my blog into an obits column, but I read the obituaries daily and frequently I’m reminded of how life is composed of the labor, stories, and art created by others.)
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For anyone who grew up on Free To Be… You and Me, you know that William Wants a Doll was major for learning to deconstruct gender norms and to break out of rigid boxes at an early age. William Wants a Doll was a song inspired by the story, William’s Doll, written by Charlotte Zolotow and published in 1972. I was born seven years later and never knew a world without William’s Doll. Now I know I have Charlotte Zolotow to thank (and my mom for playing the Free to Be record throughout my early years).

I love what Charlotte Zolotow said about children and grown-ups: “We are all the same, except that adults have found ways to buffer themselves against the full-blown intensity of a child’s emotions.”

She added, “We are not different from the children we were — only more experienced, better able to disguise our feelings from others, if not ourselves.”

Although we carry many of her books in the library where I work, Zolotow was not known to me until I read her obituary. Thank you for creating and leading a quiet revolution.

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