Le zizi des mots

(Words have willies) Book not yet available in English


Elisabeth Brami’s preface invites readers to question gender and the meaning of words. Each double spread illustrates the book’s point that in French, masculine = human, feminine = object. The left-hand page has the masculine version of a word, with the feminine version on the right. Examples include “un jardinier, une jardinière” (a gardener, a window box), “un meurtrier, une meurtrière” (a murderer, an arrow slit), “un mandarin, une mandarine” (a mandarin, a tangerine). [Partial source: Ricochet, Hélène Dargagnon]


Elisabeth Brami’s text and Fred L.’s images turn a spotlight on “sexism in language (…), in daily use that is so discreet, so sly, so treacherous that everyone falls for it, children and adults alike.” (…) While the unexpected method may raise a smile to start with, with pairs like “un charentais / une charentaise” (a man from Charente / a slipper) and “un chauffeur / une chauffeuse” (a chauffeur / an armchair), the fact that the linguistic phenomenon and its concomitant objectification is a systematic feature of everyday French soon turns the smile into a frown and strengthens the feminist leanings of all adult readers. (…) Asking very interesting questions of language and gender, the book is bound to be of interest to children. The double spreads with Fred L.’s highly realist, colourful drawings, playfully arranged as if in a riddle, will initially draw them in and entertain them. Given children’s natural common sense and logical thinking, this will spark questions and debates with parents. The publisher Talents Hauts have published an original, intelligent book – followed by a second volume with the same title – that will certainly make children and adults alike think and is sure to promote gender equality. [Partial source: Ricochet, Hélène Dargagnon]

Edited by: University Library "Livres au Trésor" and the Research Centre "Pléiade" of the University of Paris 13 (France)

Author(s): Brami, Elisabeth

Illustrator(s): Fred, L.

Publisher: Talents Hauts

City: Vincennes

Year: 2015

Pages: 48

ISBN: 9782362661242

Age Range: 6 - 10

Language: FR

Original Language: FR

Keywords: Equality, Language, Respect

Also available in:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Keywords (OR)

  • Age Ranges

  • Languages