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Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Literature

You’ve all seen the stereotypes that occur often in literature and then there are those times when children break the “mold” and they surprise you. As an educator I have often had the opportunity to watch children grow, develop and explore the learning environment. It is often “pink” and “blue”  – but there are those times when the children explore other options. The girls often want to play with the dolls, kitchen and the pink & purple sparkly dress up shoes. The boys want to build with the blocks, trucks and cars. However, I often see the children as a whole playing with the dolls, diapering the dolls, wrapping the dolls in blankets, feeding the dolls and patting the dolls to sleep (as seen at naptime).

This is an act often done by the girls and boys and it is very fitting as a lot of the children have fathers who share the caregiving roles with mothers. This is not an unlikley thing. This may seem like old news but as little as a few months ago – we watched  as societal stereotypes flooded the airwaves.

Boy wants a doll. As seen on “What Would You Do? ABC Jan 21.

You can watch the full episode too! What I focused on was the woman who slipped the “father” a piece of paper where she wrote William’s Doll and said read that book.  I was intrigued so I read the book Williams Doll by Charlotte Zolotow. About a young boy who wants a doll and how it fits the mold of todays fathers – who share the child caregiving rolls.

I fit the mold as an average girl too. I played with Barbies, dolls, play dishes etc. But I have none of my own children, my favorite color is blue and I hardly ever wear dresses. So I don’t know. But I love to see the children explore their surroundings and try to make sense of the world around them. They often surprise you with how they apply their skills to the world they know.

What do you think? Is the father right? Are the bystanders right? What would you do? Stay tuned for more on this matter this week. As always thanks for reading.

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