Date of Publication

5-20-2015

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Women and Gender Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara LeSavoy, Director, Women and Gender Studies

Abstract

What about a book sparks a child’s understanding of the world around them? It is the characters’ actions and dialogue, certainly, which children imitate and interact with one another. In American society, children’s literature often portrays images of girls and boys happily conforming to the gender binary. Why and how did children’s literature become so focused on keeping children in line with their assigned sex and gender? This research looks at the way American society views sex and gender, how these views have been and are implemented on children through literature, and what we should do to stop such strict performance expectations. Through examination of the 1970’s children’s book, I’m Glad I’m A Boy! I’m Glad I’m A Girl! by Whitney Darrow Jr., the way in which gender roles are continuously portrayed in children’s literature is assessed and proven to be an ineffective way to socialize both girls and boys successfully.

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