The Importance Of Socialization In Children's Literature

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From the time a child is born, they are consistently exposed to literature. Whether it is fairytales, alphabet books, or Dr. Suess, 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 term gender is actually a social construction regarding what …show more content…
Females in children’s books have a notorious reputation for being “damsels in distress” who are focused on beauty and not much else. They are consistently being saved by stronger, wiser male characters that complete the tasks that they do not have the ability to do. A study done by Kortenhaus and Demarest analyzed 150 children’s books and found that “genderisms are very likely a strong influence affecting children’s perceptions of how males and females think, behave, and interact” (Kortenhaus and Demarest). The study found that female characters often have qualities that associate them with being dependent victims, and their qualities are much less desirable. Males have the most desirable traits and are portrayed as strong, independent individuals who are intelligent and motivated. These characters evidently make females feel as though they are not good enough, and push them toward being dependent on a man to solve their problems and save them. Fairytales frequently give females the impression that the most important thing in life is finding a male to save you. A study done by England and Descartes shortly after 2001 found that there is a “central princess/prince pairing” (England and Descartes) within the Disney Princess brand. While the story often focuses on a female character, she consistently has a “prince charming” …show more content…
Certain pieces of children’s literature have reached out and broken the chronic cycle of teaching females to be dependent and males to be tough. Robert Munsch is a Canadian author whose books frequently feature independent females carrying out tasks that would regularly be assigned to men. One of his most influential pieces of literature is “The Paper Bag Princess” in which a Princess named Elizabeth is strong, saves the Prince, and realizes her self-worth. Two of the most recent Disney movies, Brave and Frozen, have also recently gained recognition for being showing females the importance of being “their own hero” and not focusing on being saved by a man. Brave features a girl whose parents are attempting to make her marry for politics, but she stays true to her free spirit and bravery, and ends up saving her family in the meantime. Frozen tells the story of an act of true love needing to be done to save a young girl, but instead of this act being done by a male partner, it is done by a sister which shows the importance of family love as opposed to romantic love. These movies have been frequently discussed because Disney movies are typically associated with teaching females to be submissive to men. Many of these books and movies use the typical format of story

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