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  • 1.
    Karlstam, Paula
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
    Föräldrar, barn och genus: Föräldrars tankar och funderingar kring genusfrågor vid lån av barnböcker2010Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This paper intends to examine how parents think and reflect on gender issues when they borrow books for their children at the library. The theory applied is Yvonne Hirdman’s theory of a gender system. A questionnaire was made available at the Children's department of Uppsala City Library in February, 2010. The material was compiled and analyzed with the intention to try to detect trends, patterns and themes, rather than statistics and hard data.

    Parents in the study perceive themselves as gender-conscious. They are thinking about gender issues when they choose books for their children at the library. Parents’ main focus seems to be how children are portrayed in books and many are critical of what they consider to be stereotypes and simplistic interpretations. They express a need for children's books where children are depicted more nuanced, where girls can be strong and daring and the boys may be shy and crying. Pictures of parents/adults were not analyzed equally close by the parents in the study, although respondents indicated that they think it's important how adults are depicted, as they become a kind of template for how parents are expected to be and behave. In general they are experiencing today's children's books as largely stereotypical, but add that there seem to be a wide range of issues in contemporary children's book publishing, where even radical literature with clear gender problematization has its place.

    Many parents choose to completely remove books that they believe has too gender-stereotyped content, others see this type of literature as a good opportunity to discuss gender issues with their children. In the case of older children's literature and fairy tales, the majority of parents in the study express the importance of mediating the cultural heritage to their children.

    Parents express a need for children's literature where the act of breaking gender standards isn't too obvious or appears as the main purpose of the text, but is present as a natural background in the story. What parents want - besides great stories - are depictions of children where a wide range of emotions and personality traits are allowed regardless of the protagonist's biological gender.

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