Gender Socialization In Literature Essay

2006 Words 9 Pages
Gender Socialization Issues in Children’s Literature From the time a child is born, they are consistently exposed to literature. Whether it is fairytales, alphabet books, or Dr. Seuss, these pieces of literature become a very important part of the first stages of a child 's life, and their thoughts and feelings are often built around what they learn from these books. In an abundance of cultures, storytelling is the most effective way of transmitting values to those who are younger, and thus children’s literature has a large effect on the values children acquire. An issue that has been very prevalent in today’s society is gender equality and socialization. Many people choose to refer to gender as being either male or female, however the …show more content…
Gender socialization in a child 's life is influenced significantly by the way male and female characters are portrayed in children 's literature. The dominance of male gender portrayal and the establishment of gender roles are two issues that have an effect on the way children think about gender. However, some special pieces of literature have the ability to break this cycle and differentiate the way that gender is thought of among young children.
Women currently account for 51% of the world’s population (Gooden and Gooden), so why is it that from the time children’s literature was created, males have dominated its pages? Males frequently consume the titles and central characters of children’s books, with some popular ones being Clifford the Big Red Dog, Peter Rabbit, and Arthur. While there are females included in these stories, they are mostly just background characters that have little influence on the story as a whole. For example, Marc Brown’s Arthur series focuses on an aardvark in the third grade that is learning many things while growing up. While there are female characters, such as his mother, younger sister, and friends, the majority of the stories
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There is no issue with males wanting to perform more instrumental tasks or females exercising independence, so it is important that these learning tools teach children this. Literature does not only have a one-sided effect on children’s opinions on gender equality and socialization, and their views can be influenced either way. While a book that features a princess being saved by a prince can teach young girls that they are unable to take care of themselves, a book about a brave little girl who is smart and goes on to do big things with her life may teach children to be independent and courageous. The overall point is that children’s literature effects gender equality and roles as a whole, not in one specific way. For this reason, it is important for author’s to understand the influence they have on these young people, and use their work to be a positive tool toward an increase in gender equality. While it is true that there has been some improvement, the issue of gender inequality in children’s literature is still prevalent in today’s society. By including equality among sexes into their work, authors have the ability to change the future generations’ thoughts on sexism and make the world a better

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