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Gender Perspectives in Award-Winning Children’s Books
Gender is the first symbol that a person gets in his life. Not one minute after birth they are classified as male or female. They don’t know it, but this sign will follow them and change their actions and beliefs throughout their lives. Children’s books are the main topic that the author discussed in his article, especially those that won the Caldecott medal.
Sex has become a problem in children’s books according to Anne Drolet Creany, the author of this article. She looked through a variety of children’s books, which are based on the age of children’s definitions of who they are, and found few problems. He found that in many stories from the sixties there were three boys for every girl. Also, many of the girls in these stories wore aprons and played roles that are not typical of women such as housekeeper, nurse, or teacher. She was also quick to help men in those matters, as if a woman’s duty is to help a man.
The news got a little better in the 80s and 90s. Men outnumber women, but only slightly. Female characters also started to become more independent and grow out of the roles that dominated them in the 50s and 60s. Although many novels have shifted gears, Creany found that many Caldecott medalist novels still focused on the male protagonist and gave women an underrepresented role.
This story shows an important point, that children are learning about these roles and trying to define themselves at this time in their lives. If their books give them a wrong idea of roles then they will not develop into the person they can be.
Children, Television and Gender Roles
This article, written by Elena Beasley, explains how television programs affect people. Television shows a certain image to people and that image is taken and thought to be how people should look, talk, and act in real life. Unfortunately, television is not as good an example as we think and it shows people doing things and acting and looking at other ways that are out of reach, or not respected in society.
As in the previous article, Beasley found that male characters outnumber female leads 3:1. He says that children will have less time and enjoy commercials because they are shorter. Advertisements do not portray women clearly. She is portrayed as a housewife or nurse, and is very dependent on men. Kids are picking up on that information, and while there is nothing wrong with those jobs for women, there is a problem with the bad wording that advertisers are showing. Children see this and think that this is how they should behave, and they adopt these behaviors and act without discrimination.
This article goes through the various studies that have been done on this topic. They involve many similar concepts, but one thing that many of them seem to be missing is that the family also involves the child and his actions. Parents are the first role models for young children and little girls want to grow up to be like their mothers as much as boys want to be like their fathers. Television promotes the “perverted mentality of society” and teaches children inappropriate thoughts and feelings in real life.
Gender Equality & Visual Literacy: Schools Can Help Change Attitudes
Richard A. Couch wrote this article and explains how schools can help promote equality and change the stereotypes that many students have in their heads. Women still outnumber men in the workforce and still earn less for the same work. African American women, or any woman of color for that matter, have a very difficult time because they have two obstacles to overcome.
This article presents a range of ideas that can help schools close the gender gap and promote equality. Some of these ideas are to start early and put the idea of equality in the minds of students while they are still thinking about gender roles and race roles for the first time. Another is to promote boys and girls at the same pace. Tell everyone about the different jobs available, not just the ones based on their sex.
Girls are overrepresented in high schools in science and mathematics. These are the “boys” classes while most of the arts and language classes are filled with girls. The best way to overcome this barrier is to include men and women in the lessons that teachers teach them. For example, the article said that when explaining a math problem, use the example of a woman instead of a man. Another good idea was to use examples of women who have done non-traditional jobs to come and talk to young women who would like to do that with their lives.
Another issue that Couch gave was that in children’s books they make people so cute and beautiful that children believe they can’t do it. They are shown princes and princesses and want to be like them, even though they are inappropriate role models.
Gender in Children’s Literature
Gender bias is very evident in children’s literature. Men are always superior to women and are seen as fierce, brave, warlike, prince, hero while women are sweet, beautiful, helpless, motherly, clean, damsel in distress. Although these roles are fun in storybooks they do not represent real life and give children a distorted view of what they should do in society.
The problem with this is that if women don’t have strong characters to relate to in stories then how do they learn to be strong and independent mothers. These stories are presented at a time when they are trying to figure out who they are and need to find their place in society.
This article shows that when teachers choose the books that they will give in the classroom, they should choose titles that have strong characters of men and women and that represent men and women in a bright light. Another, more difficult option, is to choose books that do not show the genders as stereotypes, but show them doing different things and interacting with each other.
Teachers can discuss stories or events that happened in their lives with their classes to reinforce the concept of equality. The best way to teach students to make themselves known is to talk with them and get their opinions on things and help to make them relevant to people today. Gender roles have changed a lot over the years and many of the classic stories we read and love reflect traditional ideas and if teachers don’t deal with this and explain the changes then students can get confused and define themselves with old ideas.
Disney Promotes Male Character
Disney movies are very popular and children for generations have grown up watching and learning from classic Disney movies such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Pinocchio, and many others. Although these videos are funny and entertaining they show gender stereotypes and suggest to young children that the roles of men and women are different from what is in society today.
Cinderella is the example that the story uses and it cannot be perfect to explain this. Cinderella is a beautiful woman who cleans her house and does all the chores that her evil stepmother (another male bias) tells her to do. She depends on finding a man to come and sweep her off her feet and save her from this bad life. Prince Charming is the man to do it. He is handsome and everything a girl could want in a man. He is not perfect.
Cinderella is forced to rely on a man to help her live a better life, although she is smart, determined, and a wonderful girl, she cannot escape her current life. The evil stepmother is a character that Disney likes to use often. The woman is often evil: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella, etc. Women are always portrayed as powerless creatures who hang around waiting for a man to rescue them from whatever trouble they’re in. Children need to learn that girls can be heroes and boys can help around the house. If children learn modern roles at a young age then they will define themselves with the same values and grow into adults who have the confidence and mindset to have a job in whatever they want and leave the roles they don’t already have.
My Two Cents
I think that thinking about gender is a problem that people often face. It is difficult for children, even young, and young, to accept the difference between men and women. We come across so many things in our lives that shape the way we think and act that we often don’t even realize how much they affect us.
I think it is important to teach children modern concepts about gender differences. Being a girl I think it’s so important for little girls to embrace their inner femininity and learn the roles we play in society. It’s important for them to be able to see what women have accomplished and all the obstacles we’ve overcome in the last 50 years, even 20 years.
It is also important for young boys to recognize their roles in society and for boys and girls to respect each other’s different roles. One of the articles talked about having less competition in the classroom and I think this is an important point because boys are naturally good at some things while girls are good at others. If there is a competitive tone in the classroom then students who are struggling will feel inferior to their male or female peers who are running and doing well. I think it is important for school children to see that boys and girls are equal and not discriminate.
The media was involved in many of the issues I summarized for this paper. Someone discussed television and its effect on children’s perceptions of gender and the stereotypes they see at a young age. These images are placed in their head, and even though they may hide for several years, they still have thoughts that cause them problems in the future. For example, the models they use in advertising, which one article says children learn a lot from, are so good that no normal person could do that. These ideas are planted in a child’s head at a very young age so that they think it is normal for people to look like that.
Disney movies were the subject of another story and I agree and disagree with their productions. It is true that he makes the characters attractive and that the female character is always a damsel in distress waiting for her prince handsome hero to save her from her bad life that falls into the traditional gender roles from the 50s and 60s that we still have. trying to break. Although Cinderella, the model film, was made at a time when these roles were dominant, even new Disney films such as Hercules and The Incredibles put their characters in traditional gender roles.
For most of the writing and media we see today, men are still the dominant characters. This is one thing that I think was very successful with the HBO show Sex and the City. Although the subject was a little difficult the show was about four women. They were the main characters and there was a cultural shift because these women had power and the men on the show were just strangers in their lives. There are also many children’s books that have come out in the last decade that have a woman as one of the main characters.
I think it’s important for boys and girls to have strong role models, whether it’s their parents, their favorite person in the news, or in movies and TV. They should have a modern idea of the roles that men and women play in society and grow into people who will fulfill these roles as strong and independent people.
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