2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Gender Representations in Children's Literature


Emily Searl
Dr. Paul Shapiro and Dr. Victoria Mayer, Faculty Mentors

There is a societal push for changes in gender representation in popular culture particularly regarding rigid gender stereotypes. Examining children’s literature is an important way to identify what kind of gender representation children are exposed to since they will carry these ideas about gender with them. A longitudinal content analysis of 50 children’s books was done with 10 books from each decade beginning in the 1970s and continuing till the 2010s. It was hypothesized that gender representations would change over time to be more flexible, with male and female characters showing characteristics of both genders rather than just their own. It was found that male characters are more rigidly masculine in their characteristics and that it is more acceptable for female characters to display both masculine and feminine characteristics. Additionally, there is some evidence that this highly gendered character behavior may be becoming more flexible over time.

Keywords: Gender, Literature, Children, Content Analysis

Topic(s):Sociology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 8-3
Location: GEO - SUB
Time: 3:30

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