|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Gender Multiculturalism Stereotypes Literature review|
Children literature dictates the social conduct of a person. The kind of literature that a child reads shapes his/her future social characteristics (Madsen, 2012). Therefore, children literature should represent the actual abilities of an ethnic group, tribe or gender. However, most of the early times literature were stereotypes and undermined the capabilities of the girls. Stereotypes leads to adverse effects that the gender equality team decided to initiate steps to rectify it. This paper surveys the history of the efforts made to counter gender stereotyping in the literature, the effects of the bias, and how good multiculturism literature would initiate critical reasoning about gender equality and social justice.
Attempts to Counter Stereotypes Through Multicultural Literature
Due to the effects of biased children literature to the youth, experts introduced multiculturism. Gopalakrishnan (2011) states that multiculturalism begun with a motive toward cultural pluralism, a way to recognize cultures and ethnicities not of the mainstream, beginning with ethnic studies" (as cited in Banks & Banks, 2001). Gopalakrishnan explains that the process was systematic, and groups it into phases as described below.
Initially, most learners failed to notice the effects of stereotyped literature. Children could read the works and assume its demeaning aspects. Only academia with the sense of gender equality understood the bias. Therefore, academia initiated the campaign against women demeaning literature. The group launched the efforts that would ensure they take part in the review of children literature before its official publication. The group suggested that the educators should incorporate 'the history and culture of the ethnic minority group' into the school curriculum. Authors were obliged to assigning boys and girls the same societal expectations. Consequently, the move allowed girls to engage in activities of their choice. This move freed the girls from the stereotyped societal expectations. The group reinforced their fight for the inclusion of gender equality campaigns for positive children. However, the effort seemed inefficient because less population changed their views on the perceived roles of boys and girls. Therefore, the campaigners of the fight moved to the second phase.
During this phase, gender equality perpetuators initiated the campaigns for equality and equity in children education. Authors were expected to portray the abilities of the two genders correctly. For instance, the writers could highlight the achievement of some of the ladies elsewhere. This move would facilitate the motivation of the girls. The benefits come in tow folds. Firstly, multicultural literature motives the children by highlighting the achievements of the children elsewhere. In this regard, western countries authors promote gender equality in their writing. Also, the authors encourage the cultural diversity of children. The literature gives equal opportunity for both genders regarding the social and economic activities they choose (Gilton, 2007).
The fight of the bias then entered a stage involving the disadvantaged group itself. The group demanded bans for any literature that negatively portrayed their abilities. The group called for the inclusion of their cultures and histories into multicultural education. At this stage, gender equality teams sensitized the parents on the kind of literature the parents were supposed to give to their children. The parents would check the themes of a storybook, the types of pictures the books portrayed. Preferably the literature that included the achievements of the ladies into the multicultural education. The last phase is the current phase. This phase involves academia "development of theory research and practice that interrelates variables connected to race, class, and gender" (Gilton, 2007). The group then passes the findings of the research literature books authors who must include the expectations of the results into their works through considering the causes of harm and institutional biases when setting policies to protect the week.
Impacts of Biased Children Literature
Children derive their social characters from the literature they read. Depending on the information that dominates the literature piece, children emulate what they interpret as the best qualities. Biased writing would result in the following.
Biased children literature promotes gender discrimination. Prevalence of male characters in children story books, tv series and films disillusions the girls in social behavior. During the book selection episode, Dutro (2001) notes that children selected storybook based on its gender content. In fact, the boys gag at their colleague for picking a girl's book yet he is a boy. "Oooh, you're going to read a girls' book?" This statement illustrates gender stereotype and its effect on children. Also, most of the children epics depict men as monsters. Such stories enhance the superiority of the boys while demeaning the girls. Such literature makes the children associate boys with a compelling and extraordinary feeling of superiority. Conversely, the literature suppresses the girl's ego and makes them feel a weaker group. Consequently, the male involves in activities that who they emulate was having. This literature also influences the male even to decide on which home chores to engage leaving the girls as the week species.
Biased children literature determines career choices in children. According to Dutro (2001), the type of career that people choose after college depends on the kinds of information they received in their primary school days. The author expands that such literature triggers gender typing. Gender typing is the identification of roles and relating them to a specific gender. Children choose the activities they prefer because of the opinions their children literature imparted into their minds. In most cases, girls color will prefer certain colors, especially pink, while boys prefer blue. The same extends to the types of games the two groups follow.
Madsen (2012) postulates that biased children literature promotes social behavior discrimination. Children adopt social duties that seem appropriate to the expectations of their communities. The girls shift to domestic activities including feeding the young ones and fetching water. Literature with plenty of football staffs for the boys makes the children think that such games are masculine. Girls opt to engage in netball that they feel is appropriate regarding its physical demands. Also, families marry off their girls at an early age in the effort of 'reduces the family burdens.' This activity suppresses the visions of the girls. Pictures depicting girls with domestic chores sets them towards home-based operations instead of more paying knowledge-based careers (Gopalakrishnan, 2011).
Multicultural Children's Literature Promotes Equality and Social Justice
Social justice and equality are prerequisite for a cohesive community. However, the achievement of the two depends on the appropriate interpretation of multicultural literature. Social injustices including ageism, discrimination regarding privileges, wealth and opportunities in a society trigger critical thinking in many ways as described below.
Multicultural literature represents the minority in society. Madsen (2012) states that "Throughout my practice as an early childhood educator, children books have always been used as a critical tool for engaging children in powerful conversation". Such conversations give children a platform to voice their concerns. Minority representation advocates for their rights because it triggers one's mind about the benefits of practicing social justice and equality. When society accords the minority a voice in the community, the aspect initiates gender equality.
One of the social justices is access to cultural education. Madsen argues that it is through multicultural literature that students learn about the way of life as their culture requires. Multicultural education facilitates learning from how other cultures enhance their social justice. Consequently, people engage logic in teaching children about the importance of patriotism makes them stop such vices as corruption thus promoting social justice. Information about everyone religion, traditions, culture, and race, enhances socialization. Authors of such literature make it informative and entertaining. Entertainment facilitates the achievement of social justice.
Multicultural literature promotes shared command in critical decision making in society. The two genders influence activities of their communities. Equal representation ensures social justice. Gopalakrishnan (2011) postulate that multicultural literature accommodates discussions of different opinions and perspectives and allow learners to talk about real-world conditions that affect them. The literature criticizes vices such as bullying in social organizations. Literature done by authors of diverse origin shares the ides of the authors. Different ideas brought together enhance interaction of the various groups, which facilitate social justice.
Children's literature has a significant bearing on the social life of a person. It is therefore essential for the authors of such material to ensure that the information they present is real but not a misrepresentation of gender competences. Promoters of social justice have initiated different fronts of countering gender stereotype to promote social justice and equality. The counter exposes the negative impacts of gender bias. Good comprehension of aspects of children literature initiates critical thinking that subsequently supports gender equality and social justice.
Dutro, E. (2001). "But that's a girl's book!" Exploring gender boundaries in children's reading practices. The Reading Teacher. 55(4), 376-384
Gilton, D. L. (2007). Multicultural and ethnic childrens literature in the United States. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
Gopalakrishnan, A. (2011). Multicultural children's literature: A Critical issues approach. Los Angeles, CA: Sage
Madsen, J.S. (2012). A method for critical analysis of multicultural picture books. The Journal of in Education, 8, 1-26.
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