One of the treasured memories people have of their childhood is when reminiscing about the children’s books they grew up on. The ones that were read to them by their parents, teachers and the ones they read themselves. Those books represent a time of innocence and naivety in their lives. Charlotte Huck (2004) defines children’s literature as “books that have the child’s eye at the center” (Huck, Kiefer, Hepler & Hickman, 2004 p.5). However, if those same books are reread as an adult, one may be surprised to see the contents and details as it pertains to gender roles and the presence of a gender bias. A study at Florida State University found that 57 percent of books contain male main characters while only 31 percent contain main female characters (McCabe, 2001). Research also suggests that females are often portrayed as inferior to males in children’s literature (Morgan, 2009). Persiani-Becker (Year) notes that children’s books have a history of falling in line with society’s stereotypes as it pertains to gender. Males are often portrayed as strong, tough, providers while females are portrayed as sensitive housewives who are submissive and depend on their husbands (Persiani-Becker, Year). Madsen (2012) argues, when sexists positions are displayed in children’s book, slowly those stereotypes are established as reality. Those ideas form a child’s perception of the world around them at a young age. Consequently, that child can end up forming those ideas, stereotyping others as well as stereotyping themselves. Children’s literature has a responsibility to offer accurate, unbiased and equal portrayals of gender due to being an early influence on a child’s life and the impact it has on both...
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...al images leads to a negative effect on a child’s self-esteem. Persiani-Becker, argues that while libraries are filled with older books which have gender stereotypes in them, newer books which present more equal gender roles can lead to a more balanced book set which feature males and females in a wide range of roles and not their stereotypical ones. Both men and women can be portrayed with a range of careers and emotions, and appear as confident individual beings (Persiani-Becker, 2011). This will give both boys and girls a range of characters which they could identify themselves with and also help them better understand the opposite sex (Tomlinson & Lynch-Brown, 2002). Teachers can use books with a gender bias as an instrument to help children analyze the books and increase their own critical thinking and promote a positive anti-bias agenda (Aina & Cameron, 2011).
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