For many years researchers have understood that gender roles in children’s literature have the capacity to create and reinforce “meanings” of femininity and masculinity (Currie, Gend. Soc., 11: 453–477, 1997; Gledhill, Genre and gender: The case of soap opera. In S. Hall (Ed.), Representation (pp. 339–383). London: Sage, 1985; Tatar, Off with their heads!: Fairy tales and the culture of childhood. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993; Zipes, Happily ever after. New York: Routledge, 1997). The purpose of this study was to investigate children’s interpretation of a popular gendered fairy tale at the level of peer interaction. Walt Disney’s Cinderella was used in elementary school reading groups to investigate the ways that children understand messages regarding gender and the influence of peer culture on the production of meaning. The findings indicate that gender and gendered expectations were essential to the process of interpretation and the construction of meaning for the children. Gender unified the boys and girls into two distinct groups, particularly around the “girls’ book,” Cinderella. Gender was reinforced along traditional lines in the peer group, serving as a deterrent to the production of alternate interpretations to traditional messages in the text.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2007
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