Puberty book's claim about girls prompts backlash — then apology

A children’s book about puberty has come under fire from parents for saying breasts exist to “make girls look grown-up and attractive.” (Photo: Facebook/Man Vs Pink)

The publisher of a children’s book about puberty has apologized after the book stated that one of the functions of breasts is to make girls look attractive.

Usborne Publishing’s Growing Up For Boys explains that girls have breasts for two reasons: to “make milk for babies” and “to make the girl look grown-up and attractive.”

It’s the second explanation that has drawn criticism from some parents, with some describing it as “irresponsible” and “offensive” and others claiming it sexualized girls’ breasts.

The section of the book “What are breasts for?” sparked outrage after it was shared to Facebook by writer and blogger Simon Ragoonanan, who blogs about fatherhood at Man vs. Pink.

“Wtf? From the Usborne Publishing book ‘Growing up for Boys’: Girls have breasts for two reasons — for feeding babies and looking grown-up and attractive,” he wrote alongside an image of the section in the book.

Other parents were quick to offer their thoughts about the description.

“Breasts are not there for boys’ pleasure. And how awful for early developer girls if this is what their male schoolmates are being taught,” one user commented.

“I’m gobsmacked! Of course people will always find them attractive but that’s not the REASON they are there FFS,” added another.

“Wtf, it’s true unfortunately that boobs are sexualized and seen as a point of attraction, but to teach this is horrendous!” another Facebook user commented.

The section of the book was shared on the blog Man vs. Pink. (Photo: Facebook/ManVsPink)

But not everyone saw a problem with the description the book used, with some parents saying it is factually correct.

“This is actually true. Breasts are larger and more prominent than other animals for the purpose of attracting a mate,” one user wrote.

“What’s the problem? A woman’s breasts are gorgeous and help to show how beautiful the female form is. Of course we attract the male of the species. Fact is, you have to attract a mate to have kids to be able to feed said kids in the first place,” added another.

“The wording isn’t great but it isn’t exactly incorrect,” another women said. “Breasts are a secondary sex characteristic which indicate sexual maturity, at least from a biological sense, and that the female can reproduce. Sexual maturity attracts a mate. The text doesn’t indicate that only big breasts are attractive.”

Still, following the backlash, Usborne Publishing has issued an apology.

“Usborne apologizes for any offense caused by this wording and will be revising the content for reprinting,” a spokesperson told the Guardian.

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