Written by Daisy Leverington

Voices

Motherhood: 50 Shades of Inappropriate

Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Three years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week she reflects on the costume options for World Book Day…assuming you remember it.

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In the wake of the furore surrounding the 11-year-old boy who decided – in cahoots with his hilarious mother – that it would be a top idea to dress up like Christian Grey for World Book Day, I suggest that we start thinking about suitable characters from suitable books now as inspiration for next year.

With all the Disney-soaked targeted advertising and bestselling ‘romantic’ literature filling the shelves at the moment, our kids need brilliant heroes. Let’s dust off Matilda and learn about magic or sail with Max to Where the Wild Things Are.

Although the title accurately sums up the contents of my knicker drawer, 50 Shades Of Grey isn’t a thing I want lying around my house. It’s also not children’s literature (or literature at all if you ask me, but I appreciate you didn’t) and I don’t want my kid growing up believing that either of the lead characters are heroes.

I do wonder why the school made such a fuss though. All they had to do was quietly make him wear a green scarf, donate the cable-ties to Trev the caretaker and call him a Slytherin.

Were the teachers worried the other kids would GET the joke? How savvy are his 11-year-old peers that there’s concern they will tune in to deeply complex sexual references so early on? If I wouldn’t end up with my name on a list of some sort I’d definitely do a survey to see how many kids know the term BDSM and how many know what it stands for.

A spokesperson for the school told the Manchester Evening News: “The aim of our World Book Day event was to celebrate and encourage reading and we are disappointed that … a fantastic day for our students has been marred by this issue.”

Surely they could have seen the media storm coming though? 50 Shades of Grey has had so much frenzied attention you could have written a book about it… and been pretty confident of doing a better job than E L James.

I do wonder why the school made such a fuss though. All they had to do was quietly make him wear a green scarf, donate the cable-ties to Trev the caretaker and call him a Slytherin.

Meanwhile there’s nothing parents like better than a story which allows them to feel smug at the expense of other parents. Kudos for the effort with the costume though; at least that mum didn’t forget.

At the opposite end of the effort spectrum, we have me and my kid. I only remembered that it was World Book Day on the way to the nursery thanks to a mate’s Facebook photo of her twins in full costume and make-up.

motherhood bAs an actor, any opportunity to dress up turns me, and subsequently my family, into a hairsprayed ‘let’s-outdo-the-Smiths’ dervish. I looked at my daughter. She was wearing a scruffy dress and boots.

“Babe, if anyone asks, you are Tess of the d’Urbervilles,” I told her. “Just look sad and mention Stonehenge now and again”.

She wasn’t happy. Perfect!

Luckily her dad was still at home and arrived at the nursery gates with a pirate costume at the same time as us. Apparently she was going as ‘that famous girl-pirate from all the books’. So that was that sorted.

I remember being utterly in love with my fictional heroes. Anne from The Famous Five, Mildred Hubble (The Worst Witch) and ANYONE from a Roald Dahl book filled me with the type of awe that Princess Anna and Queen Elsa seem to inspire these days.

I’ve seen a fair few photos of kids dressed as Anna and Elsa for World Book Day, which caused me the same level of consternation as the lad dressed as Christian Grey. For crying out loud, these aren’t the heroes of great books! Come on people: let’s crack open the Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, chuck in some Michael Rosen and get reading with the kids.

Otherwise we’ll end up with a playground full of blindfolded Elsas cable tied to the railings.

 

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Written by Daisy Leverington

Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.