Boys and girls are socialized differently. Girls get princesses. They get crafts. They still get dolls. And their parents spend far less on their daughters than their sons.
I learned that factoid when one of my relatives worked for a toy company, and one that catered mostly to boys.
I have heard parents balk at spending three dollars for a doll for their daughter, but buy their sons toys that cost three hundred dollars.
Boys get bricks to build. They get games that hone their intellectual skills such as chess.
Boys get to exercise their skills of strategy and in such a way that dovetails with their innate thinking patterns.
Their stories also hone their intellectual skills that girls are perpetually denied.
In other words, fiction for girls do not prepare them for the dangers they could face, such as sexual harassment, sexism, domestic and dating violence, unequal pay, and other day to day wars women must face everyday.
She never taught how to spot them. She is never taught the various ways to face those problems.
For hundreds of years, girls were indoctrinated to be passive as the magical fairy godmother or Prince Charming does her thinking for her.
She is taught looks are important, and to be the fairest one of all.She is not taught how to make a life plan or fight for rights. She is not taught to demand or negotiate. How will she balance ether wants and needs with family and work is never shown to her.
Once she got her man, the story abruptly ends with a nebulous happily ever after. She never has to change. She just has to wish it, and she is special enough to get it.
Judy Blume was a refreshing deviation from the Patriarchal tripe girls are expected to accept. She spoke directly at girls, not past them or down to them.
It is a real problem in literature: how do we prepare girls for not just life, but how to become pioneers to make it a real odessy of meaning.
We often think honing intellect comes from playing chess, but life is not a game of chess.
It is, a game of Go.
Go is about surrounding a target by removing their liberties one by one until they are trapped.
Countless women have been destroyed by such gambits and never ever realize it.
They are lured into a lair that think is a fortress and safe haven. They believe they entered this haven on their own free will, never suspecting a ruse or feint. It is forced choice, but to ponder that possibility would go against her personal narrative that she is a special and alluring princess.
She is duped one scam at a time. She is forced to compromise and do things that go against her true nature, and she believes she is streetwise.
Until she loses her final liberty and she is trapped.
Fiction must address this reality and give girls the maps to survival and triumph. Happily ever after cannot be equated with finding a man. It must be her breaking the chains as she turns the tables on those who took away her liberties as she takes them back. The Patriarchal is all about the One, and hence, does not give girls the maps they need to find various ways to tackle the obstacles she will face daily.
The Matriarchal is about opening paths that once were taken away or have yet to be built. Strategists who play Go look to cut off all paths of their targets. Girls must be taught to spot those ruses in order to keep her options open.
Because she must know the rules of Go in order to break them.