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Frequently asked


  • What is the difference between the standard and the academic edition?
    The standard edition is only the Refocused story. The academic edition includes the Refocused version, the original version, and discussion questions.
  • How do I assemble the PDF into a booklet?
    Printing instructions are included. Pro Tip: When you fold booklets make sure adjacent pages are folded together (20 touches 21). When stacking booklets, make sure that adjacent pages stack next to each other (page 40, the last page in one booklet, touches page 41, the first page in the next booklet). Please email if you are still having trouble creating a book.
  • Why does it appear that some pages are upside down?
    This is so the PDF can be printed double-sided and folded into a book. If the pages were not upside down, the book would not print correctly. Printing single-sided? No worries. Just flip the pages right side up before stapling together.
  • Why don't the characters' names change?
    When discussing classics, it is important that readers know who did what. Teachers may allow students to choose which version they wish to read (the original or the Refocused version) and this allows everyone to discuss the book without confusion. To borrow from Shakespeare, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
  • Why are there some words that are not reverse-gendered?
    There are older words for which a female or male equivalent does not exist. In later works of literature these words tend to become all-encompassing of genders even though they were originally intended for only men or only women. For example, a knight-errant was a male aristocrat or king searching for chivalrous adventures. Later works will add female or just knight-errant with a female character. For example, “The female knight-errant” or “The knight-errant Lucy”. Refocus Publishing has chosen to stick with this pattern and simply leave these words as is with the understanding that they will evolve to encompass both male and female characters.
  • How do I Print a Refocused Booklet?
    When you print the booklet, check the print settings to make sure you print on both sides of the paper. Go to Print icon. If your printer supports automatic printing on both sides, change Print One Sided to Print on Both Sides for the best results. If your printer doesn’t support automatic printing on both sides, select Manually Print on Both Sides, and feed the pages back to the printer when prompted. To avoid pages from printing upside down, flip the sheets on the short edge of the paper according to your printer’s instructions. If there are more than 40 pages, multiple booklets will be created. Fold 10 sheets (20 pages) together at a time and stack booklets one after another to create a book. To secure folded pages together, you can staple the binding together or hole punch and secure with ribbon, string, or paper fasteners.
  • What if a character has a baby?  How do you change the gender of that character?
    In the real world gender and sex are two different things. Changing the gender of a character does not necessarily require changing the sex of that character. There are men who physically can have children; thus there is no reason that our fiction should not allow for such possibilities.
  • Why not just write new stories that are gender balanced?
    A classic work of literature is not just a great story. Even if our authors were assured their new books would have the staying power and efficacy of classic works, it would still take a hundred years before it would have the same strength as the current classics. Stories need time to build conversations around themselves. Right now you can Google or YouTube any of these refocused works and find hours and hours of professional and amateur conversations concerning them. These stories have been read, analyzed, and interpreted by thousands. They are a shared experience in our culture. That does not just happen overnight with a new story. Absolutely, everyone here at Refocus believes that new authors should be cognizant of the gender balance of their stories. We hope to inspire the world to make our service unnecessary in 100 years. There are classics now that we review and do not see the need to Refocus – we hope that will be true of all classics that spawn from our modern era. There will be no greater day in the history of this company if gender balance in literature is achieved and we do not need to do this anymore. Nevertheless, our daughters and sons, grandsons and granddaughters, will be long grown before that can happen, and we are trying to make their future better now.
  • What are important terms that are useful to have clear definitions for when discussing gender with your children or in your classroom?
    A full list of useful terms may be acquired at: A Guide for Gender Equality in Teacher Education Policy and Practices created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Below is a hand-picked sample of these terms: Gender Refers to the socially constructed relations between men and women. Societies decide which resources men and women can access jointly or separately, the work they can perform, the clothes they wear, and the knowledge they are allowed to acquire, as well as how they acquire and use it. Gender is about relationships that may change over time and place. While sex tends to be fixed, gender is amenable to change over time depending on circumstances. Gender relations between men and women may vary between classes, races and cultures. Institutions may have cultures that determine the executive, administrative and service positions of men and women. Students’ specializations are also being shaped by gender. Sex This refers to the biological difference between men and women, as well as the biological characteristics that define humans as female or male. Thus, a person is male or female regardless of their race, class, age or ethnicity. However, the social meaning attached to a person’s biology may differ depending on their ethnicity. Some people may have both male and female biological characteristics because of physiological complications. Feminism A collection of movements and ideologies for social, cultural, political and economic equality. Feminism aims at defining, defending and establishing equal rights and opportunities for women and men. Feminism campaigns against gender-based inequalities and provides women with information that enables them to make choices and free themselves from gender-based discrimination within their environments, cultures, societies and communities. Over the decades, feminists around the world have developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to the social construction of gender. The earliest forms of feminism were largely criticized for only taking into account the perspective of white, middle-class and educated women. This criticism led to more ethnic-specific and multicultural forms of feminism as a movement. Gender bias This exists when inequitable or discriminatory thinking, activities, interventions and actions that discriminate against one gender are apparent in programs, projects and policies. Gender bias may result in discriminatory and harmful effects and consequences for the gender treated in an inequitable or discriminatory manner. Gender equality in education This ensures that female and male learners are treated equally, have equal access to learning opportunities and benefit from education equally. They become empowered and can fulfill their potential so that they may contribute to and benefit from social, cultural, political and economic development equally. Special treatment/action can be taken to reverse the historical and social disadvantages that prevent female and male learners from accessing and benefiting from education on equal grounds. Gender equity This refers to a stage or strategy in the process of achieving gender equality. Targeted measures are often needed to compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise being equals. These measures, such as affirmative action, may require a different treatment of women and men in order to ensure an equal outcome. Gender disparity The differential in status held by men and women in society with regard to opportunities, successes and possessions. Gender disparity also refers to differences in income, status, opportunities and power that exist between men and women in given settings. In many societies, men and women are conferred different roles, opportunities and statuses. These gender differences tend to be systematic and institutionalized, requiring concerted action to eliminate them, and bring men and women to parity. Devices and programs for affirmative action are used to bring about gender parity in many societies. Gender equality This ensures that women and men enjoy the same status and have an equal opportunity to exercise their human rights and realize their full potential to contribute towards political, economic, social and cultural development, and to benefit from the results. It is the equal value attributed by society to both the similarities and the differences between women and men, and the different roles they play. Gender equality can be promoted when resources, opportunities and support are availed to men and women without regard to biological sex. Gender mainstreaming This refers to the process in which gender equality perspectives and considerations become the norm and not just the responsibility of specific individuals (often women) or departments in isolated and unsustainable ways. Gender equality mainstreaming addresses gender equality concerns in legislation, policies, programs and activities to ensure that all development initiatives integrate the concerns of both men and women, and that their needs are considered equally and equitably with the aim of attaining gender equality. Gender equality mainstreaming is a strategy or methodology with clear steps, including: The collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data using gender analysis. The identification of the obvious, less obvious and least obvious gender equality issues and gender gaps through gender analysis of the sex-disaggregated data and through consultations with both women and men. Raising awareness about the issues/gaps through policy dialogue and advocacy. Building support for change through alliances/partnerships. Developing strategies, programs and initiatives to close existing gaps. Putting these initiatives into action and backing these actions with adequate resources. Developing capacity of staff to plan and implement (which also requires resources). Monitoring, evaluating, reporting, distilling lessons learned and communication. Holding individuals and institutions accountable for results by securing political will and leadership. Gender (-based) stereotypes Generalized traits and qualities attributed to specific ethnic, national, cultural or racial groups that are then expected to exhibit these traits regardless of their individual inclinations and qualities. Gender stereotypes are often mobilized to justify the exploitation, disadvantage and discrimination of specific groups such as women, minorities and people with disabilities. Stereotypes generate prejudice against disadvantaged groups, such as women, who dare go beyond what is expected of them. Women who dare break free of stereotypes are often maligned and stigmatized. Stereotypes exist and may be based on gender, class, age, race, ethnicity and/or other attributes affecting both men and women.
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