Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    An exploration of gender-neutral picture book characters with young children
    Alexander, Kate ( 2007)
    This study explored the use of gender-neutral characters in children's picture books with young children. The use of gender-neutral characters (characters that appear to be of indeterminate gender and display no `markers' that identify them as being either male or female) has increased in children's books with little research on the use of these characters with young children. Of the research that has been conducted, the majority has been conducted within developmental discourses. This study framed an exploration of these characters using concepts from both developmental discourses and feminist poststructuralist discourses to explore young children's reception of these characters and the possibilities and limitations using these concepts to explore gender-neutral characters created. A small-scale qualitative approach was employed with observations and interviews conducted with a group of nine preschool aged children. The conclusions both supported past research specifically around the use of gender stereotypes influencing the assignment of gender to gender-neutral characters and also challenged past research around the role of the concept of egocentric thinking in assignment of gender to gender-neutral characters by young children. It has also been highlighted how the use of concepts drawn from feminist poststructuralist discourses could add to and expand explorations around this topic.