Av Sandra Andersen & Louise Persson
The purpose of this study is to explore how girls and boys are portrayed in children’s literature that is specifically aimed towards children in the preschool age. This is a qualitative text analysis, partly combined with some elements of quantitative data. Through an interview questionnaire sent to preschool teachers at different preschools, seven books in the genre humanized animals, were chosen and analyzed from a gender perspective. The analysis is conducted through a theoretical framework including gender theory with correlated concepts. The intent of this study has not been to identify books that follow stereotypical gender norms, and we do not argue that literature should be completely gender neutral. However, we believe that if girls and boys being portrayed in a variety of ways will contribute to more children feeling safe with their own identity and it will also provide them with a broader world view. We had a thought that a certain characterization of girls and boys in the chosen books, i.e. that girls are portrayed as sweet and nice while boys are portrayed as tough and mischievous. The results of this study show that this is partly true but that boys’ characteristics tend to vary more and in different ways than girls’ characteristics do. With that said, we concluded that in general, the chosen books were more gender neutral than our initial expectation.