Guyness: Deal with It Body and Soul


32 pages
ISBN 1-55028-892-X
DDC j155.3'32





Illustrations by Steven Murray
Reviewed by Sandy Campbell

Sandy Campbell is a reference librarian in the Science and Technology Library at the University of Alberta.


These books have different authors and different approaches to sexism.
Guyness most often presumes that the reader is a male who is
perpetrating gender stereotyping against women, other guys, and perhaps
even himself. The main message is that guys shouldn’t feel pressured
to meet stereotypes. Girlness, on the other hand, generally addresses
the reader as one who has suffered from sexism and offers advice for
coping. Even the trivia in Guyness is about historical instances of guys
in skirts or kilts, while in Girlness it’s about women earning less

The books are not particularly well written, Girlness being somewhat
better than Guyness. Guyness held few resonances for my sons, who howled
with laughter at absurdities such as “Learn about guyness from
girls.” As was frequently the case, there was no parallel statement in
Girlness. Guyness also contains an unpleasant stereotype of a
“basketball mom.”

Problems presented are often more complex than the answers supplied and
sometimes have to do with extreme behaviour, which causes people to
treat individuals differently, regardless of gender. For example, when a
girl is called “loudmouth” and “bitch” because she expresses her
opinions loudly, there’s no discussion of the fact that her behaviour
may be well beyond social norms for either gender. Much of the advice
given is generic. How does “do your homework” solve or prevent

These books might serve as validation for students who are experiencing
sexism, but they seem out of touch and the solutions are not
particularly helpful. Not recommended.


Pitt, Steve., “Guyness: Deal with It Body and Soul,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 15, 2024,