It’s taken a few decades…or technically a few millenia for the human race to recognise that their society runs on prejudice and discrimination. Of course this realisation changed almost nothing and on the whole we continue to be a race of selfish apes that we have always been, occasionally some bright sparks of hope appear that make us believe we’re not an entirely doomed species.
One such initiative is The Irrelevant Project, a group of 3 writers and 4 illustrators that gender bias, racism and sexism are traits that don’t just appear in adults but are inculcated through early childhood experiences. The name itself hints at their purpose – the idea to make gender disparities irrelevant. They had grew tired of the skewed representation of women in children’s literature and decided to do something to change it.
As they were reviewing the selection of books available in India, they realised that aside from the sexist outlook, there were few stories with Indian protagonists. Their mission was to create books featuring relatable Indian characters that tackled topics like body image, homosexuality, gender roles, critical thinking, consent and sexual abuse – topics that have been taboo for so long but that children today deal with at every step.
Today they have five books ready to go and are raising funds for the release of e-books and to print physical copies. Their current range includes titles like, Don’t Pull my Cheeks! – The Book of Consent and The Curious Case of Mohit and Rumi the Rabbit – The Book of Body Positivity. These whimsical and relatable books mark a much needed change in India where girls have long been considered inferior, hopefully with a new generation being raised on this forward-thinking literature, the future looks a lot brighter.