Gender Roles Stereotypes in Children Literature and their Impact to Girls/Women



Gender Roles Stereotypes in Children Literature and their Impact to Girls/Women

Gender Stereotypes代写 Genders roles are the behaviours instilled by society through various activities such as socialisation, agents, parents, teachers···


Gender roles stereotypes have continued to persist in modern society despite the many and range of opportunities and lifestyle that are available for both sexes. The phenomena are as a result of negative connotations against women that have been ingrained in mainstream culture. Genders roles are the behaviours instilled by society through various activities such as socialisation, agents, parents, teachers and media. These roles as inflicted to children at tender age and if negative, they create gender stereotypes. According to Aina and Cameron (11), children begin to develop gender consciousness from the age two years and by age of 3 years they become aware of their gender.

Therefore, children should be taught to develop positive sense of their gender from an early age in preschool. It is the role of teachers and parents to instil positive perception of gender and eliminate instilling gender stereotypes. Children literature has been identified as the primary source of behavior formation. Unfortunately, children books are biased against girl’s role with many of them using male as the main protagonists. This has perpetuated chauvinistic perception on genders especially by portraying girls as weak and boys as strong. In this regard, gender stereotypes in children books have detrimental effect on children perception especially girls on gender roles, identity, and self-esteem.

Gender Stereotypes  Gender Stereotypes代写

Schools have a prominent role in the lives of children in their early development. Children spend more than 10 hours in school or daycare. The influence of schools and daycare on children is vested on the belief that environment has direct impact on children behavior. The main concern is the children’s gender and gender stereotypes that are created through class materials and teacher’s instructions.

Many activities bring about gender bias in a classroom or daycare set up.

The use of gender-biased literature books is the most common source of imparting negative prejudice toward girls. Dutro observed that when children are choosing books, they are likely to choose them based on gender. There are boundaries particularly to kindergarten boys on the book preferences. Dutro (2002, p. 379) gave his experience with children. He observed that boys were more inclined to choose books that have male protagonists but not ones with female protagonists.

For instance, when a boy selected Beauty and the Beast by Walt Disney, his friend behind him noticed and mocked him for picking a girls’ book. The same case was observed in girls where most of them selected books that were mostly feminine. Nonetheless, Dutro noted that the incident when a boy or a girl became gagged for choosing a text that looked feminine or masculine respectively will make him/her always to double-check his books to fit masculine and feminine choice. This is because a child enters the library without caring which shelf has which book for which gender but came out with an invisible boundary on what he can and cannot read.

Similarly  Gender Stereotypes代写

Aina and Cameron (2011, pp. 11-17) discussed gender development and the role of environment in shaping children perception on their gender. Gender stereotype can be either negative or positive but all create gender prejudice culture that build-up to establish gender boundaries between boys and girls. These boundaries determine how boys and girls relate and behave in society. Children development comes through imitation and instructions from their parents and teachers (p. 12). Thus, it is the role of adults to model these behaviours in manner that does not promote gender prejudice or deconstruct gender boundaries.

Furthermore  Gender Stereotypes代写

Aina and Cameron (2011, p. 12) identified some of the sources of gender stereotypes including popular culture, early childhood education, friends, family and children literature. According to Aina and Cameron (2011, p. 14), children literature have massive impact on children perception on gender roles and interactions. The use of male or female protagonists in particular ways, directly or indirectly act as model and definition of what femininity and masculinity are to children. Studies have found that there are many male protagonists than female. As a result, girls are like to undermine their value in life if they are unable to identify with good characters in the literature.

The characters and illustrations can either be positive or negative. In the case of girls, the lack of suitable model illustrations and characters in the books they read-create perception that boys are superiors in certain areas and that they are the weaker gender. Male protagonists also give boys the feeling of being dominant over girls and that they can dominate them. The influence of literature on children perception on gender is because they are active and critical readers and let the literature and characters in them become a source of reference and culture formation.

Additionally, single stories in children literature have encouraged gender stereotype.  Gender Stereotypes代写

Although storytelling is a way of developing children language skills, and a way of transmitting culture norms and values, it can be detrimental by imparting gender prejudice to children. The reason being, literature is the main component in curriculum in elementary schools. It is, therefore, the leading socialising agent that influence a child’s view of themselves, their values and society. It is through storytelling that children see the reflection of themselves or want to be identified with a particular central character (Tschida, Ryan, &Ticknor, 2014, p.29).

Gender Stereotypes代写
Gender Stereotypes代写

When a child finds him/herself in the books they read, then he/she validate his/her experience. However, in reality, girls have not been able to see a reflection on themselves in literature because there are few books with female main characters. For example, the key players in Civil Rights Movement are many but many literatures seem to give Martin Luther King Junior limelight while living out great contributor like Rosa Parks. A student may claim to know about the history of civil movement in America but knows little about Rosa Park.

The reason for this is books have focused more on Luther King than Rosa Park and her contribution. This has an impact on the girl thinking on their role whereby they see male as the dominant figure in civil advocacy. Books need to be a perfect reflection of society and diversity where both boys and girls identify their experience.

Impact of Gender Stereotypes on Girls  Gender Stereotypes代写

The prejudice created by children literature continues to perpetuate retrogressive limits on girls. Gender stereotypes are revealed in children play where female and male choose different roles. Female are more inclined to select family roles while boys want adventurous and action-oriented roles that depict they are superheroes Aina and Cameron (2011, p. 15). They also reported that boys spend 25% of their time in block play and 2% on housekeeping roles.

On the other girls were more engaged in housekeeping chores by spending 10% of their time compared to 2% in block play. The findings were indications learned behavior both in schools and home. Children kinds of literature portray women as home keepers and men as head of anything that is action-oriented and being superheroes in society. Continuous exposer to single stories that promote a chauvinistic view of women, it becomes ingrained in girls and translates to behavior of taking less proactive roles.

Additionally, gender stereotypes affect career aspirations.  Gender Stereotypes代写

The choice of occupation is a sign of self-identity. A child future career aspiration is modelled in preschool years. Thus, future career projections of a child is a perfect predictor of self-image. The presence of many children literatures that create boundaries between male and female roles influence what girls and boys aspire to be in life. Males were more inclined to select gendered-typed fields than girls. It is detrimental girls when they see other careers more suitable for boys than them. As a result, girls will aspire to choose jobs that are more feminine because of learned stereotypes that lower their self-esteem.

Moreover, prejudice against girls is likely to impact on their academic outcomes.

There are hidden messages that girls less excel in mathematics, science, and technology compared to boys. The stereotypes are connoted in books, media, teachers and parents where they expect lower performance from female students than male. There is imbalance between male and female characters in children pieces of literature and other texts. These texts create gender boundaries that are yet to be bridged. Thus, boys do not want to read books that they think belong to girls. The negative view of specific books or subject makes boys and girls become selective on what they read or want to excel and hence is reflected in the performance of these subjects or course.

Recommendations  Gender Stereotypes代写

Girls’ exposure and behavior in early life is a critical determinant of quality of their life. Necessary measures need to be taken to reduce gender stereotype that has continued to lower the girls’ self-esteem, and identity. The first measure proposed by Aina and Cameron, (2011, p. 16) is critical selection of classroom materials. Gender stereotypes and sexism destroy a child’s potential growth and development.

It is essential for teachers to carefully select classroom books and toys to provide a gender-balanced environment that will not pose threat to girls’ psychological, social and behavioural development. Materials that are single-gendered such as barbie dolls and hot wheels promote sexism and stereotypes. Such materials should be removed and replaced with gender-neutral materials that all student will identify their experience.

Similarly, picture books are a reflection of children reading them.  Gender Stereotypes代写

When these books separate feminine and masculine behaviours, it is a manifestation of toxic sexism that should be shunned in a classroom set up. The use of gender-neutral literature and picture books will go in handle in promoting positive change in self-image, attitude and culture. Gender attitude can be shaped by reading literatures that teach diversity. Therefore, teachers have a role to evaluate books critically to avoid those that may propagate inequality.

Gender Stereotypes代写
Gender Stereotypes代写

Also, learners can be taught to be critical and independent thinkers to identify gender stereotypes and to have positive attitude towards opposite gender. It is a concerted effort of both parents and teachers to inculcate positive self-image in children by being critical in what they read and teaching them to recognise stereotypes.

Furthermore, curriculum plays a significant role in shaping gender roles particularly where it is not balanced.  

For instance, when a teacher favours comments from boys without regard of relevance to what is taught but silences a girl who fails to give a correct answer. It will continue to damage the self-image and broad gender boundaries. Instead, to improve class experience for both sexes, the teacher needs deliberate change of traditional books, images, and lecture approaches that are skewed in gender issues. They are supposed to use unbiased books and materials in teaching and give equal praise and encouragement to both boys and girls particularly in previously gendered subjects such as mathematics, sciences and technology. These go in handy in promoting cross-gender activities and build positive attitude in children.

Conclusion  Gender Stereotypes代写

In summation, gendered literature books and images have perpetuated gender prejudice in modern society. Researches have found that males protagonists are more than female protagonists. Therefore, girls have little to identify their experience when learning and growing. The gendered materials also make boys judge girls harshly when they attempt to engage in traditionally masculine activities.

These make girls shun away from active roles such as leadership to avoid ridicule. Negative stereotypes also affect their career choices, educational performance and self-image. These are not only detrimental to girls but society as a whole. More efforts are required to reverse the trend and restore a gender-balanced society where both girls and boys are not judged using gender lenses but their abilities. Also, critical in this endeavour is the support of gender-neutral children books and those that promote the active role of girls as a protagonist.

References  Gender Stereotypes代写

Aina, O. E., & Cameron, P. A. (2011). Why does gender matter? Counteracting stereotypes with young children. Dimensions of Early Childhood39(3), 11-20.

Dutro, E. (2001). ” But that’s a girls’ book!” Exploring gender boundaries in children’s reading practices. The Reading Teacher55(4), 376-384.

Tschida, C. M., Ryan, C. L., & Ticknor, A. S. (2014). Building on windows and mirrors: Encouraging the disruption of “single stories” through children’s literature. Journal of Children’s Literature40(1), 28-39.


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