A really interesting article in the latest issue of Gender and Education:
Barbie princesses and dinosaur dragons: narration as a way of doing gender
(Eva Änggård, Linköping University, Sweden)
I think its really interesting that even very young girls (aged 4-6) can play with gender roles by inserting ideas from the “action chicks” they see in the media. I also think the data from the boys is great - something I don’t write so much about because I tend to focus on feminist issues related to young girls. Here’s the abstract:
In this article, young children’s narration in words and pictures is discussed from a gender perspective. The article is based on a project in which eight pre‐school children made their own books. In their stories, the children reused narratives picked up from different media, both traditional fairytales and popular cultural products. The reuse of those narratives gives children opportunities to explore gender positions in a playful way. The narratives produced by the children had, in certain respects, a gender‐stereotyped content. The girls and the boys selected gender‐specific themes for their stories. But in their stories, the children also made reinterpretations of traditional stories and gender patterns. The girls let the female characters play the active roles and the boys let their heroes become friends with the enemies. In this way, the children used the stories creatively, reshaping them to fit their own purposes.
Änggård, E. (2005). Barbie princesses and dinosaur dragons: narration as a way of doing gender,
Gender and Education, Vol. 17, No. 5, December 2005, pp. 539-553