Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spunky Female/Gender NonConforming Animals in Picture Books

Via Sociological Images - one of my favorite sites :   The NYT recently reported on a study of children's books in Gender and Society (PDF available) that found:
Compared to females, males are represented nearly twice as often in titles and 1.6 times as often as central characters.  . . We argue that these disparities are evidence of symbolic annihilation and have implications for children’s understandings of gender. Nevertheless, important differences in the extent of the disparity are evident by type of character (i.e., child or adult, human or animal), book series, and time period. Specifically, representations of child central characters are the most equitable and animals the most inequitable. . . 
This got me thinking - what books include great female or gender nonconforming animals?  A few that immediately come to mind for me:
I'm struggling to think of books where the male character is shown to be more feminine - maybe the Son in The Kissing Hand?   [Here's a list by blogger AcceptingDad -- and a "GenderEqual" online bookstore].

What other books can you think of? 

1 comment:

Kimberly Simmons said...

Shortly after posting this, I read "Sylvia Jean, Drama Queen" out loud, featuring a female Beaver. More intriguing, Kate and I read "Mother You're the Best, but Sister You're a Pest" by Diane De Groat, which features a male character...except, I think the book subtly shows 2 moms and Kate is sure the other adult is a dad. I had a great chance to hear her clear rules about how to decode gender identity, and I like how we just don't really know...