Behold the power of the Internet

Long time friend, sometime commenter, and fellow blogger InteractiveReader recently managed to bring the Scholastic publishing company to it’s knees (kind of)(okay not really, but still). Allow me to explain.

On Thursday, Jackie put up a blog post about a Scholastic series, “How to Survive Anything”. One of the books is subtitled “Boys Only”, and the other is entitled “Girls Only”. Based on the table of contents, see if you can figure out which one is which.

Option 1:

  1. How to Survive a shark attack
  2. How to Survive in a Forest
  3. How to Survive Frostbite
  4. How to Survive a Plane Crash
  5. How to Survive in the Desert
  6. How to Survive a Polar Bear Attack
  7. How to Survive a Flash Flood
  8. How to Survive a Broken Leg
  9. How to Survive an Earthquake
  10. How to Survive a Forest Fire
  11. How to Survive in a Whiteout
  12. How to Survive a Zombie Invasion
  13. How to Survive a Snakebite
  14. How to Survive if Your Parachute Fails
  15. How to Survive a Croc Attack
  16. How to Survive a Lightning Strike
  17. How to Survive a T-Rex
  18. How to Survive Whitewater Rapids
  19. How to Survive a Sinking Ship
  20. How to Survive a Vampire Attack
  21. How to Survive an Avalanche
  22. How to Survive a Tornado
  23. How to Survive Quicksand
  24. How to Survive a Fall
  25. How to Survive a Swarm of Bees
  26. How to Survive in Space

Option 2:

  1. How to survive a BFF Fight
  2. How to Survive Soccer Tryouts
  3. How to Survive a Breakout
  4. How to Show You’re Sorry
  5. How to Have the Best Sleepover Ever
  6. How to Take the Perfect School Photo
  7. How to Survive Brothers
  8. Scary Survival Dos and Don’ts
  9. How to Handle Becoming Rich
  10. How to Keep Stuff Secret
  11. How to Survive Tests
  12. How to Survive Shyness
  13. How to Handle Sudden Stardom
  14. More Stardom Survival Tips
  15. How to Survive a Camping Trip
  16. How to Survive a Fashion Disaster
  17. How to Teach Your Cat to Sit
  18. How to Turn a No Into a Yes
  19. Top Tips for Speechmaking
  20. How to Survive Embarrassment
  21. How to Be a Mind Reader
  22. How to Survive a Crush
  23. Seaside Survival
  24. How to Soothe Sunburn
  25. How to Pick Perfect Sunglasses
  26. Surviving a Zombie Attack
  27. How to Spot a Frenemy
  28. Brilliant Boredom Busters
  29. How to Survive Truth or Dare
  30. How to Beat Bullies
  31. How to be an Amazing Babysitter

Something tells me you probably figured it out.

So Jackie’s post was more or less just a copy and paste of the respective tables of contents with the title “Sexist Much?”. Of course, a quick glance at the respective tables of contents was all it really took, and the while thing went viral pretty quickly (speaking for myself, I hit the share button almost as soon as I was done reading), anywhere from Ryan North to BuzzFeed to Jezebel.

As Jackie reports, Scholastic was already (kinda sorta) back peddling by Friday, promising “no further copies will be made available” (whatever that means, since the books are still available for purchase from the Scholastic web page, even with the “Show only books available for purchase” checkbox checked).

How awesome is it that a blogger can throw up a quick post on Thursday (a blogger I know!), and a major publisher can announce they will cease distribution on that book series 24 hours later? How not awesome is it that Scholastic needed the Internet to point out how ridiculously sexist these books were? How did those books ever get past editing and marketing at Scholastic in the first place? Scholastic of all people! Were these books in the book order forms kids bring home from school?

Stupid mistake, Scholastic. I hope this one stings a little. (Or maybe not since their “apology” is insincere at best, and a downright lie at worst, given that they are still selling the books)


2 thoughts on “Behold the power of the Internet

  1. How dare someone imply that there is any difference in the sexes! For shame. It’s not fair that the girls get all the useful practical stuff while the boys can only learn skills they would probably never get the chance to put into practice.


    • Ah, but you’re assuming which list is which!

      I deduce that the first list must be for girls, because it contains “How to survive a vampire attack” and popular literature demonstrates that vampires are far more likely to go for girls.

      I like how one of the sexes learns how to survive an entire zombie invasion, but the other can only survive a single zombie attack.


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