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.)
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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