Gender Roles in Children's Literature Essay

Words: 1849
Pages: 8

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|Gender Roles in Children’s Literature |
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|Kate Moore |
|11/22/2010 |

“Everything we read constructs us, makes us who we are, by presenting our image of ourselves as girls and women, as boys and men” – M. Fox

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For every ethnic, racial and gender category society places stereotypes to describe certain groups of people. Gender stereotypes in children’s literature are portrayed in the traits, role behaviors, physical characteristics, and occupations of characters in children’s literature. The common messages in children’s literature about gender put emphasis on the traditional roles of men and woman. Unfortunately traditional roles are often unequal and place males as dominant over woman. Traditional gender encompasses the concept of masculinity and femininity. In many countries around the world, the traditional roles of gender are greatly valued. The traditional role of gender places woman as the homemakers and men as the provider. “Girls are always shown as passive and girls are always shown as being active.” ( With such emphasis on tradition, children’s literature does not allow children to see past the stereotypical expectations of society. It is no wonder why gender inequality in children’s literature is so prevalent when society places unequal views upon gender.

Unfortunately much of the children’s literature today contains gender stereotypes as previously discussed. One would most likely assume that this is something of the past but it is as present today as it was in past decades. A reason for this could be that “Gender-role development is one of the most important areas of human development” (Noppe). Since gender roles are