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Children’s publisher apologizes for book that says breasts are meant to make girls ‘look grown-up and attractive’

A page from the book 'Growing Up For Boys' (Twitter / Man vs Pink)

A U.K.-based publisher has apologized for a passage from an educational book that says one of the purposes of female breasts are “to make the girl look grown-up and attractive.” The book is meant to educate boys about girls’ puberty, but has come under fire for unnecessarily sexualizing young girls — in a piece of text aimed at young boys.

The startling passage was discovered and posted online by dad blogger Simon Ragoonanan, who runs the website Man vs Pink. Ragoonanan posted the passage along with a photo of it, which appear in a book titled Growing Up For Boys, published by Usborne books. “Wtf? From the @Usborne book ‘Growing up for Boys’: Girls have breasts for two reasons – feeding babies and looking grown-up and attractive,” Ragoonanan wrote on Twitter.

“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 passage, situated above an illustration of breasts, reads.

According to the description by the publishing, Growing Up “covers all the topics that boys want to find out about, including moods and feelings, what happens to girls, diet, exercise, body image, sex and relationships, contraception, sexual health, self-confidence,” among other things. It was published in 2013, shocking given how out of date the information being provided in that particular passage happens to be.

Usborne agree three years ago to stop publishing books with gender terms like “girls” and “boys” in the title, after facing criticism. The publisher faced a new tsunami of criticism after Ragoonanan posted the photo of the passage on social media Sunday.

Claire Nicholls, a teach who spoke out against the book on social media, told The Guardian that propagating such information “reinforces the sexualization of breasts which makes girls and women self-conscious.” She added, “The other huge issue is the false equivalence of developed breasts with attractiveness and being ‘grown-up’. “The ‘grown-up’ statement is troubling. There are girls of 13 with developed breasts. To describe them as ‘grown-up and attractive’ would be worrying, as would infantilizing an adult woman with smaller breasts,” she said.

The publisher went into full damage control, pledging in a statement to The Guardian to revise the text for future printings of the book. “Usborne apologizes for any offense caused by this wording and will be revising the content for reprinting,” the statement read.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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