Boy and Girl

There was a little boy and a little girl 
    Lived in an alley; 
Says the little boy to the little girl, 
    ”Shall I, oh, shall I?” 
Says the little girl to the little boy, 
    ”What shall we do?” 
Says the little boy to the little girl, 
    ”I will kiss you. 

Where is the rest of this nursery rhyme? Where is the next stanza where the little girl says “And then I shall punch you in your smug little nose!”? I don’t know what really happened next in that little alley, but it sounds like a tale of woe that has yet to be remedied – girls from low income families don’t always have a safe home environment, free of sexual harassment from strangers or, sadly, sometimes even loved ones. Can you imagine worrying about being assaulted every time you have to pee?  How could this nursery rhyme just end here?

Another one that is too close to our current cultural climate:

Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the girls came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.

This rhyme also sends out a bad message because of the lack of follow up. Did Georgie get caught? Let’s hope so. For certain, a lot of men who distributed unwanted kisses (and more) got caught last year. At least we’ve made some progress, but these nursery rhymes are just not cute.

Verdict: Write these rhymes on a piece of paper and shove it down Georgie Porgie’s throat until he suffocates.

It’s widely understood that Aesop’s fables had a lesson to impart to the reader. It’s less commonly known, but no less true, that the original Grimm’s fairy tales contained a lot of violence and sexual content that was inappropriate for children. But what about Mother Goose? Were the colorfully illustrated nursery rhymes in your Little Golden Book really so innocent? Were they carefully curated to be only about silliness and pat-a-cake? Let’s explore the reality together in this year’s Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.

4 Comments

  1. I love this so much. You’re absolutely right. We don’t really think about those old nursery rhymes, do we? We just hum them or sing them to our kids without much thought. Thankfully, my memory sucks and so does my voice so my kids were spared, but I’m still shocked by what they let go through on Cartoon Network. I digress.

    Elsie

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  2. […] I think it’s obvious why most of us only heard the first verse of this rhyme when we were kids. Why on earth did Jill have to take care of Jack, and more to the point, why did she get in trouble for what happened to him? I see nothing in the verse that implies Jill caused his disaster. Was she much older than him and supposed to be in charge of his well-being? I don’t know. Either part of the story is missing, or the mother is just a horrible witch who is playing favorites with her children. I’m really starting to think Mother Goose was quite the sexist. […]

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