Whose eggs are these? Gender in ocean-themed picture books | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2059-9072
  • E-ISSN: 2059-9099

Abstract

Ocean-themed picture books are important educational resources that promote marine science literacy. At the same time, these picture books also carry messages about gender to child readers. Through an analysis of 100 ocean-themed informational and narrative non-fiction picture books, the authors uncover various ways in which ideas about gender are communicated to child readers, whether in relation to human or animal characters or animals with human traits and qualities. The article tests the hypothesis that marine science picture books educate children about gender in traditional, normative and binarized ways. The findings suggest that marine science picture books are male-dominated, with narrow, often stereotyped gender roles ascribed to both human and sea animal characters. Despite a male-dominated presence, the authors describe ways in which contemporary picture books might begin to fill the gaps in diverse gender representation in this genre.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Deakin University
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/jspc_00029_1
2023-08-16
2024-03-02
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Andreae, Giles. ( 2000), Commotion in the Ocean, London:: Orchard Books;.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bailey, Ella. ( 2016), One Day on Our Blue Planet…in the Antarctic, London:: Flying Eye Books;.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Baker, Jeannie. ( 2000), The Hidden Forest, London:: Walker Books Ltd;.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Barlow, Diane L.. ( 1991;), ‘ Children, books, and biology. ’, BioScience, 41:3, pp. 16668, https://doi.org/10.2307/1311457.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Base, Graeme. ( 1992), The Sign of the Seahorse, Hawthorn:: Penguin Books Australia;.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bendels, Michael, H. K.,, Müller, Ruth,, Brueggmann, Doerthe, and Groneberg, David A.. ( 2018;), ‘ Gender disparities in high-quality research revealed by Nature Index journals. ’, PLoS ONE, 13:1, pp. 121, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189136.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Blanchette, Carol, and Dugan, Jenifer. ( 2018), The Golden Forest: Exploring a Coastal California Ecosystem, Essex, CT:: Muddy Boots Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Caldwell, Elizabeth, and Wilbraham, Sue. ( 2018;), ‘ Hairdressing in space: Depiction of gender in science books for children. ’, Journal of Science and Popular Culture, 1:2, pp. 10118.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Carle, Eric. ( 2004), Mister Seahorse, London:: Penguin Books Ltd;.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Casaretto, Emily. ( 2019;), ‘ Historical perceptions of gender in marine animals as studied through children’s educational books. ’, master’s thesis, Seattle, WA:: University of Washington;, https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/bitstream/handle/1773/44353/Casaretto_washington_0250O_20310.pdf?sequence=1. Accessed 6 May 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Casey, Kennedy,, Novick, Kylee, and Lourenco, Stella F.. ( 2021;), ‘ Sixty years of gender representations in children’s books: Conditions associated with overrepresentation of male versus female protagonists. ’, PLoS ONE, 16:12, pp. 119.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Coats, Karen. ( 2018), The Bloomsbury Introduction to Children’s and Young Adult Literature, New York:: Bloomsbury Academic;.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Crisp, Thomas, and Hiller, Brittany. ( 2011a;), ‘ “Is this a boy or a girl?”: Rethinking sex-role representation in Caldecott medal-winning picturebooks, 1938–2011. ’, Children’s Literature in Education, 42, pp. 196212, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-011-9128-1.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Crisp, Thomas, and Hiller, Brittany. ( 2011b;), ‘ Telling tales about gender: A critical analysis of Caldecott medal-winning picturebooks, 1938–2011. ’, Journal of Children’s Literature, 37:2, pp. 1829.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Dunn, Elizabeth. A.. ( 2011;), ‘ Talking animals: A literature review of anthropomorphism in children’s books. ’, master’s thesis, Chapel Hill, NC:: University of North Carolina;, https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/concern/masters_papers/b8515s28v. Accessed 6 May 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Ferguson, Donna. ( 2019;), ‘ “Highly concerning”: Picture books bias worsens as female characters stay silent. ’, The Guardian, 13 June, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jun/13/highly-concerning-picture-books-bias-worsens-as-female-characters-stay-silent. Accessed 6 May 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Ford, Danielle J.. ( 2006;), ‘ Representations of science within children’s trade books. ’, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43:2, pp. 21435, https:/doi.org/10.1002/tea.20095.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Francis, Prue,, Venzo, Paul, and Bellgrove, Alecia. ( 2021;), ‘ Reading over and under the waves: A study of ocean picture books for children. ’, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 37:2, pp. 16786, https:/doi.org/10.1017/aee.2021.4.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Freitas, Cátia,, Bellgrove, Alecia,, Venzo, Paul, and Francis, Prue. ( 2022;), ‘ Towards a 2025 national ocean literacy strategy: Current status and future needs in primary education. ’, Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, pp. 111, https:/doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.883524.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Gay, Marie-Louise. ( 1999), Stella, Star of the Sea, Ontario:: Groundwood Books Ltd;.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Giakoumi, Sylvaine,, Pita, Cristina,, Coll, Marta,, Fraschetti, Simonetta,, Gissi, Elena,, Katara, Isidora,, Lloret-Lloret, Elena,, Rossi, Francesca,, Portman, Michelle E.,, Stelzenmüller, Vanessa, and Micheli, Fiorenza. ( 2021;), ‘ Persistent gender bias in marine science and conversation calls for action to achieve equity. ’, Biological Conservation, 257, pp. 17, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109134.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Gissi, Elena,, Portman, Michelle E., and Hornidge, Anna-Katharina. ( 2018;), ‘ Un-gendering the ocean: Why women matter in ocean governance for sustainability. ’, Marine Policy, 94, pp. 21519, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2018.05.020.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Good, Jessica J.,, Woodzicka, Julie A., and Wingfield, Lylan C.. ( 2010;), ‘ The effects of gender stereotypic and counter-stereotypic textbook images on science performance. ’, The Journal of Social Psychology, 150:2, pp. 13247, https://doi.org/10.1080/00224540903366552.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Hamilton, Mykol C.,, Anderson, David,, Broaddus, Michelle, and Young, Kate. ( 2006;), ‘ Gender stereotyping and under-representation of female characters in 200 popular children’s picture books: A twenty-first century update. ’, Sex Roles, 55, pp. 75765, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-9128-6.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Heintz, Katharine E.. ( 1987;), ‘ An examination of sex and occupational-role presentations of female characters in children’s picture books. ’, Women’s Studies in Communication, 10:2, pp. 6778, https://doi.org/10.1080/07491409.1987.11089707.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Hill, David. ( 2018), Hero of the Sea: Sir Peter Blake’s Mighty Ocean Quests, Auckland:: Puffin;.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Huang, Junming,, Gates, Alexander J.,, Sinatra, Roberta, and Barabási, Albert-László. ( 2020;), ‘ Historical comparison of gender inequality in scientific careers across countries and disciplines. ’, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117:9, pp. 460916, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1914221117.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Keating, Jess. ( 2017), Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist, Naperville, IL:: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky;.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Kelly, Laura Beth. ( 2018;), ‘ An analysis of award-winning science trade books for children: Who are the scientists, and what is science?. ’, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55:8, pp. 1188210, https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.21447.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. de Kleijn, Maria,, Jayabalasingham, Bamini,, Falk-Krzesinski, Holly J.,, Collins, Tom,, Kuiper-Hoyng, Liliane,, Cingolani, Isabella,, Zhang, Jin,, Roberge, Guillaume,, Deakin, Gemma,, Goodall, Abigail,, Bunker Whittington, Kjersten and,, Berghmans, Stephane. ( 2020), The Researcher Journey Through a Gender Lens: An Examination of Research Participation, Career Progression and Perceptions Across the Globe, Amsterdam:: Elsevier;, https://www.elsevier.com/gender-report. Accessed 10 June 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Kolbe, Richard, and LaVoie, Joseph C.. ( 1981;), ‘ Sex-role stereotyping in preschool children’s picture books. ’, Social Psychology Quarterly, 44:4, pp. 36974, https://doi.org/10.2307/3033906.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Lewis, Molly,, Borkenhagen, Matt,, Seidenberg, Mark S.,, Converse, Ellen, and Lupyan, Gary. ( 2021;), ‘ What might books be teaching young people about gender?. ’, Psychological Science, 33:1, pp. 3347.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Mallan, Kerry. ( 2009), Gender Dilemmas in Children’s Literature, London:: Palgrave Macmillan;.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. McCabe, Sharon, and Nekaris, K. A. I.. ( 2019;), ‘ The impact of subtle anthropomorphism on gender differences in learning conservation ecology in Indonesian school children. ’, Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 18:1, pp. 1324.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Muñoz Ryan, Pam. ( 2001), Hello Ocean, Watertown, MA:: Charlesbridge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Nodelman, Perry. ( 2004;), ‘ Picture books and illustration. ’, in P. Hunt. (ed.), International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, London and New York:: Routledge;, pp. 11324.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Pallotta, Jerry. ( 2004), Dory Story, Watertown, MA:: Charlesbridge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Pillans, Sue. ( 2018), The Great Barrier Thief, Glebe:: Little Steps Publishing;.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Pritt, Andrea L., and Lear, Bernadette A.. ( 2021;), ‘ Are Ada, Katherine, Sally and Sophie on-shelf? Holdings of award-winning juvenile STEM works in ARL libraries with a special focus on female-themed titles. ’, Collection Management, 46:3&4, pp. 30322, https://doi.org/10.1080/01462679.2021.1888364.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Ratelle, Amy. ( 2014), Animality and Children’s Literature and Film, London:: Palgrave Macmillan;.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Rawson, Casey H., and McCool, Megan Astolfi. ( 2014;), ‘ Just like all the other humans? Analyzing images of scientists in children’s trade books. ’, School Science and Mathematics, 114:1, pp. 1018, https://doi.org/10.1111/ssm.12046.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Seymour, Nicole. ( 2020a;), Good animals: The past, present and futures of trans ecology. ’, in Vakoch, D.A.. (ed.), Transecology: Transgender Perspectives on Environment and Nature, New York:: Routledge;, pp. 190204.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Seymour, Nicole. ( 2020b;), ‘ Queer ecologies and queer environmentalisms. ’, in S. B. Somerville. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Queer Studies, Cambridge:: Cambridge University Press;, pp. 10822.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Sipe, Lawrence R.. ( 1998;), ‘ How picture books work: A semiotically framed theory of text-picture relationships. ’, Children’s Literature in Education, 29:2, pp. 97108.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Tilley, Cristen. ( 2018;), ‘ Book week: Analysis of bestsellers suggests kids’ bookshelves are on a lean. ’, Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, 22 August, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-22/kids-book-top-100-analysis/10042904?nw=0&r=HtmlFragment. Accessed 6 May 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. van der Lee, Romy, and Ellemers, Naomi. ( 2015;), ‘ Gender contributes to personal research funding success in the Netherlands. ’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112:40, pp. 1234953, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1510159112.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Wild, Margaret. ( 1984), There’s a Sea in my Bedroom, Melbourne:: Thomas Nelson Australia;.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. You, Chengcheng. ( 2021;), ‘ The necessity of an anthropomorphic approach to children’s literature. ’, Children’s Literature in Education, 21:2, pp. 18399, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-020-09409-6.
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1386/jspc_00029_1
Loading
/content/journals/10.1386/jspc_00029_1
Loading

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error