My husband and I were done having kids after our two rambunctious sons came into the world. I honestly thought I couldn’t handle the energy of one more kid. But the universe laughed and laughed and before we knew it, we were welcoming our sweet daughter into our family. The first thing I noticed about the difference between my boys and my girl? People treat her like her it’s a cardinal sin to be dirty or wild. And that’s why I am SO EXCITED about this hilarious new book called We Toot by Arwen Evans and Ashley Wheelock that celebrates girls who fart.
“We Toot is a fart-joke laden whodunit that disguises powerful messages of body positivity, self-acceptance and female friendship. We like to think of it as a feminist fable about farting,” Evans tells Mumtastic. “Ashley and I are sisters and we came up with the idea to write the book together after our brother farted on a family holiday. It made us realise that feminism has stopped short of the toot.”
She’s totally right. My boys have farting contests and can burp the alphabet and that seems to be expected because “they’re boys!” But when my daughter farts, the reactions are a bit different. Suddenly, she’s asked if she needs to go to the bathroom or people explain to her that she needs privacy. Why, tho?
Evans and Wheelock agree they tell Mumtastic, “Boys and men are permitted to laugh at and joke about farting in a way that girls and women are not. We realised there was an opportunity to break the “gas” ceiling and dared ourselves to be the women to do it.”
The sisters point out that there is a double standard that exists for girls that basically says, girls must adhere to a higher standard of behaviour in order to be seen as respectable – and that includes controlling or even hiding bodily functions. Meanwhile, boys are celebrated for the exact same behaviour because “boys will be boys.”
Evans and Wheelock are both mums and between them, they have five girls.
“We thought about our children and started to question what that does to a girl’s self-esteem and perceptions of her body.,” Evans explains to Mumtastic. “We wanted our girls – and every girl – to know they can love themselves even if they aren’t ‘perfect.’ That is also why our book includes girls that have something they could be embarrassed about physically.”
The authors are focused on teaching girls to feel empowered by the bodies and to do that, they have some brilliant suggestions for families to help support their daughters’ growing self-esteem.
The inside counts most. Instead of complimenting your child on their utter cuteness or clothing, celebrate their kindness, their sense of humour or their fierce competitive spirit.
Talk openly about bodily functions. Let them know that everyone – even mum – toots and poos. Never shame a child for a bodily function; simply explain to them what is appropriate at home and what is appropriate in public. Don’t treat kids differently according to gender.
Celebrate the unique. Do they have a special birthmark, scar or curly red hair? That’s clearly a sign of their superpowers. Make it a source of wonder and excitement.
Never mention weight. Instead, talk about healthy eating habits and exercise as ways to take care of and honour our bodies. Make sure they know that there’s no “right” way to look.
Respect your child’s body. Starting when they are young, give them a choice about what happens with their body. Can I help you blow your nose? Can we cuddle? Respect their wishes if they don’t want to be touched so they can develop a sense of agency over their own body.
Set a good example. Kids are always watching, so they will notice how we treat ourselves and other adults. Practice the same compassion for yourself as you do for your child. This is probably the hardest for most parents.
We are really excited about the release of this brilliant book and we hope mums and dads everywhere are too. To check it out, head over to Amazon to grab your copy of We Toot by Arwen Evans and Ashley Wheelock.
More About Raising Daughters:
- Why Fathers Need to Stop Scaring Boys About Dating Their Daughters
- Why Dads Should Take to Their Daughters About Sex, Periods & Boys
- I Let My Daughter Wear Whatever She Wants