Gender in Children's Literature Comparison Essay by Master Researcher

Gender in Children's Literature
Discusses the influence of gender stereotyping in children's literature, focusing on one example drawn from Kenyan folklore and one from modern Kenyan literature.
# 36811 | 1,650 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Oct 21, 2003 in Literature (Children) , Gender and Sexuality (Gender Studies)

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This paper discusses how the manner in which genders are represented in children's literature impacts children's attitudes and perceptions of gender-appropriate behavior in society. The writer goes on to analyze a popular children's folk story from her country, Kenya, as well as a well-known children's book by a contemporary Kenyan writer, with the goal of exploring differences in rates of depressive symptoms in boys and girls during adolescence in relation to gender-typed characteristics, body image, self-esteem, stressful life events, and pubertal status.


From the Paper:

"Gender stereotypical roles are constraining to both genders. Just as girls are trapped in passive and whiny roles, boys and men are rarely described as people demonstrating emotions of sadness and fear, having hobbies/occupations that are not stereotypically male and in roles where they aren't competing or meeting high expectations. These stereotypes limit boys' and girls' freedom to express themselves and pressure them to behave in ways that are 'gender appropriate' rather than ways best suited to their personality. Gender roles are an important part of this culture. How genders are portrayed in children's books thus contributes to the image children develop of their own role and that of their gender in society. Gender bias, unfortunately, exists in content, language and illustration of a large number of children's books I have sampled in recent times. This bias may be seen in the extent to which a gender is represented as the main character in children's books and how that gender is depicted. Indeed, recent studies analyzing children's literature find the majority of books dominated by male figures. This is not just the situation in Kenya but even in other parts of the world. Earns S.B. in Gender Issues in Books for Children and Young Adults has analyzed titles of children's books and found that male names represent nearly twice as often as female names. She has also found that even books with female or gender-neutral names in their titles in fact frequently revolve around a male character."

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Gender in Children's Literature (2003, October 21) Retrieved July 27, 2021, from

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"Gender in Children's Literature" 21 October 2003. Web. 27 July. 2021. <>