The Portrayal Of Children 's Books

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Introduction Children are highly acquiescent, and as such the media they consume is highly important in their socialization. Taking into consideration the ubiquity of media and the degree to which it is entwined in the lives of children, it is important that we be concerned with the themes presented in children’s media – including books. As noted by Taylor (2003), Children 's books are an important cultural mechanism for teaching children gender roles. If children are exposed to stereotypical images in children’s books, they may adopt these as normative, and may adjust their actions accordingly (Paynter, 2011). Given this, it is important to examine the representation(s) of gender in children’s books. In this paper I will discuss the depiction of gender in children’s books, focusing – particularly – on the manner in which boys and girls are portrayed in children’s literature. In my discussion, I will draw on Paul Kramer’s children’s book Maggie Goes on a Diet to illustrate problematic themes that are prevalent in the current children’s literature. Literature Review As social learning theory and gender schema theory explain, children exposed to gender role stereotyping in the media, including children’s literature, may internalize these gender stereotypes (Bandura, 1971). According to gender schema theory, gendered characteristics are conserved and transmitted to other members of a culture via schemata (Bem, 1993). Children form schemata of what behaviours, attitudes, and
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