Gender Stereotypes That Exist in Childrens' Books

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Gender-related stereotypes still exist in America in spite of all the feminist and equal rights movements in the 20th century. From a statistical standpoint, the United States ranks 23rd in the world for gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum report. A specific example of unequal treatment of women in the United States today is that for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes 10 to 20 cents less (according the MBA online). After being assigned to analyze the roles and characteristics of male and female characters found in the children’s books written by Bloomsburg University students, and reading one book written by a classmate, I have found that gender stereotypes are a common occurrence. In the children’s books written by Bloomsburg University students, gender roles within family and within society seem to conform to the typical stereotypes. Regarding the roles of each gender within the family, females were assigned the role of being a parent about three times more than males were. Also, there was five times the amount of stay-at-home mothers than stay-at-home fathers present in the books written by the students. Traditionally, in a typical family, the woman is always the caregiver while the man is the provider. The books written by Bloomsburg students seem to stick to this tradition. Females provide care/guidance for a child in eighty students’ stories, making it the most common character action/trait used. Another observation of conformity to gender roles was that all acts of violence were committed by males, and all criminals present in the books were male. A few of the students challenged traditional gender norms by assigning females to be doctors, police officers, and politicians. I analyzed “A Trip to the Hospital” by classmate Krysten Coleman. The story is about a little girl who really wants a Barbie doll house she sees at Toys R Us.

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