Archival Research / Scavenger Hunt Assignment Part II

Group Members: Sydney Seufer, Theresa Ryskoski, Nathan Snyder, Jacob Schleicher, Alexis Terrio

Item Annotations:

First Item (print): The Young Lady’s Sunday Book: A Practical Manual of the Christian Duties of Piety, Benevolence, and Self-Government

Our first print item, from the Memorial Library Special Collections Archive, is The Young Lady’s Sunday Book: A Practical Manual of the Christian Duties of Piety, Benevolence, and Self-Government. This handbook contains many chapters that deal with a young woman’s Christian responsibilities relating to motherhood, wifehood, friendship, and familial life. It includes many references to Christian virtues and teachings that reinforce the structure for daily life and practices for women. The young women/girls who read this handbook are advised to use its contents as a guide to moral character formation. Some of the piece’s specific content includes chapters on the first principles of the Christian Religion, prayer. Self-examination, the importance, and utility of public worship, submission to the Divine Will, the study of the Holy Scriptures, the regulation of the passions and desires, Christian benevolence, Christian intercourse, innocent enjoyment, and challenges in maintaining friendships. 

The tone of the handbook emanates piety and other old-fashioned virtues and religious beliefs. This is unsurprising considering the time in which it was written. A passage from the chapter on ‘Innocent Enjoyment’ states, “While religion condemns such pleasures as are immoral, it is chargeable with no improper austerity in respect of those which are of an innocent kind. Think not, that by the cautious discipline which it prescribes, it excludes you from all gay enjoyment of life; within the compass of that sedate spirit, to which it forms you, all that is innocently pleasing will be found to lie” (223). The handbook scripts a presentation of female growth in motherhood and wifehood for young ladies. It exemplifies the practices young, adolescent girls are expected to hold in their engagements and interactions with society. The handbook outlines how adolescent girls are to view God, prayer, spirituality, submission, self-discipline, and other Christian values as essential elements to living a moral, successful life.

The Young Lady’s Sunday Book discusses the importance of adherence to traditional, Christian beliefs, including the virtues a young girl/woman should possess and the small faults that she should be wary of (procrastination, indecision, idleness, vanity, peevishness, trifling). This handbook also emphasizes the advantages of living a devout, religious life and outlines how a young girl/woman should interact with friends and other members of society in order to be best perceived as a Christian woman. The elements in this text are strongly tied to other texts we’ve read in terms of gendered roles and duties. Little Women comes to mind in particular as this handbook heavily emphasizes the selfless and highly regarded expectations of young women to give of themselves to others. This is emphasized through a young adolescent’s interactions with others as well as how she partakes in household duties to practice and prepare for her role as wife and mother.

The author of the handbook is anonymous but the title page states it was written: “BY THE AUTHOR OF: THE YOUNG MAN’S OWN BOOK”. The Young Lady’s Sunday Book was published by Key & Biddle (23 Minor Street) in Philadelphia in 1834. This other piece of the text mentioned on the title page written by the same author shows how there was a clear delineation between the duties and responsibilities between men and women. This author produced these handbooks upon the belief and expectation that adolescent boys and girls must learn and grow from separate texts that contained information about distinct necessities to living respectable, Christian lives. Furthermore, the handbook itself was obtained for our learning purposes from the William B. Cairns Collection of American Women Writers (1650-1920) from the Memorial Library Special Collections Archive. William B. Cairns was a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Since The Young Lady’s Sunday Book was published in Philadelphia in the 1830s, it’s important to note that the 1830s and 1840s in Philadelphia was a tumultuous time as social and economic tensions arose from early industrialization and from a population that was at once growing rapidly and becoming more racially and religiously diverse. Due to this, Philadelphia experienced a sharp increase in disorder that it was unprepared to handle. Philadelphia was faced with much religious and racial upheaval at the time of printing. This handbook was a possible reaction to white, Christians’ fear that society was undergoing a moral degradation and the Church was beginning to lose its influence over the masses. Additionally, the emphasis on submission to God’s will throughout the handbook may also be a reflection of whites’ fear that racial status was losing its authority.

The preface of the handbook states that “The same views which we announced in the preface to the Young Man’s Sunday Book, have governed us in the preparation of the present volume. We write for no sect or party in particular, but for all sects and parties, for the universal public; and it has been our aim in this, as in every previous publication, to admit into our pages no principle or precept which any candid Christian would refuse to sanction”. In light of the historical context aforementioned, this handbook’s preface aims to emphasize the universality of its contents and how its lessons are broadly applicable. Again, it is possible this is an attempt to unify the public against the rising social pressures facing the carefully balanced structures of power, status, and race. During this time, many church parishes may have been feeling the pressure to reassert dominance by reminding citizens of the implications of their immoral acts.

This artifact was interesting to investigate because it illuminates some of the cultural beliefs at the time surrounding girlhood/womanhood and what its preparation should look like for “young ladies”. This handbook is also key to understanding the ways in which values for young girls were scripted through the interactions they had with society. The detail in which the handbook outlines how females ought to view their personal relationships reveals the way girls were often used as molding clay to be conformed into a greater network of American, societal norms. I would recommend it to a similar course because of how much detail is provided on the various social systems and cultural values for adolescent girls at the time.

Second Item (print): Kamenetz, Anya, and Cory Turner. “Sparkle Unicorns And Fart Ninjas: What Parents Can Do About Gendered Toys.” NPR, NPR, 26 Mar. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/03/26/705824731/sparkle-unicorns-and-fart-ninjas-what-parents-can-do-about-gendered-toys.

“Sparkle Unicorns And Fart Ninjas: What Parents Can Do About Gendered Toys” is an NPR article co-written by Anya Kamenetz and Cory Turner, which was published on March 26, 2019. According to NPR’s website, Kamenetz is an Education Correspondent for the company, as well as an author of several books about topics ranging from media and technology use to sustainability and entrepreneurship. Turner, reporter and editor on the NPR education team, has a history investigating federal education grants and film screenwriting. This article investigates a few vital points, including how the gendering of toys has (or has not) shifted over time, and how the toys we play with as children might influence our futures. The tone of this article is quite informative, and they format it with key takeaways for parents, who seem to be the main audience for the text. The historical context for this piece is the 2019 American International Toy Fair, which the writers were reporting on. This famous event features toy manufacturers and companies presenting their newest toys and inventions for the upcoming year. Interestingly, they found that toys in the present day are “more gender divided than they were half a century ago”.

I have often been fascinated with the world of gender, especially as it relates to infants and children. Why are female infants dressed in “Daddy’s Little Princess” shirts while male infants get clothing that says things like “Future Ladies’ Man”? Much like how toys can script certain types of play, clothing can also suggest treatment and attitudes towards different genders. For example, my aunt has a two-year-old girl. When I visited their house, I was shocked by just how gendered her toys were: she has a full kitchen set, a toy vacuum and duster, and of course baby dolls. Some of her toys were gender-neutral, such as books and puzzles. However, I found myself questioning- if my aunt’s child had been born male, would there ever be a kitchen set and vacuum for him to play with? I highly doubt it. Therefore, I was interested to seek out academic reporting and articles on this topic. I was pleased to find this NPR article, which I think succinctly delves into this topic and may help parents like my aunt realize how only giving your child a certain type of toy can limit the way they think of themselves. Ultimately, parents should strive for a balance and variety of toys while not restraining or limiting their children’s choices.

This text is quite fascinating, especially in connection to the study of modern American girlhood. Ultimately, the environment girls grow up in will have an impact, in some way, on their self-image, goals, and personalities. Toys can be a strong indicator of what we value teaching to boys versus girls at a young age. As the article points out, “Kids play what they see. If you can see it, you can play it — then one day you can be it.” The article cites some important studies of girls that play with princesses. Out of a sample of female undergraduates, a whopping one-third of them said they identify as “princesses”. These women “placed a higher value on the physical attractiveness of a mate, were less likely to want to join the workforce after college and were more likely to say they wanted to marry a breadwinner”. Also, they were more likely to give up when given a difficult puzzle to solve. This doesn’t mean that all girls who played with princesses will be like this, but studies do suggest that girls who play with princess dolls are more likely to present gender-stereotyped behavior in the future. 

Many of the texts we’ve read this year are valuable to understanding this piece, particularly the Keywords essays on Girlhood, Domestic, and Childhood. Particularly, in the “Girlhood” essay by Jaqueline Reid-Walsh, dolls are described as “the special plaything of the sex” and are “plainly directed towards her lifework”. This exemplifies how adults clearly know the intent behind the toys they give their children. They are meaningful pieces of culture, meant not only to entertain, but to imprint a certain way of thinking upon girls. Also, several of the narrative texts present gendered depictions of children and their toys. For example, in the Kirsten stories, she is quite attached to her dolls as a pinnacle of her girlhood and youthful expression. Doll play also appeared in the Bernstein text, as a clear example of how scripting can be a powerful tool in manifesting violent racially charged scenes. This is an extreme example of how and what children play with shape their values as human beings.

We indeed think this might be a valuable text to reference in similar classes to this one. Particularly, We think it might be interesting to investigate the demonization of femininity. For example, as the article discusses, boys face more barriers to playing with girl dolls than vice versa. Femininity is deeply discouraged in boys from a young age. We believe it would be worthwhile to explore the links and barriers between traditional girlhood and traditional boyhood. 

Third Item (non-print): Nancy Wheeler Video Clip at Hawkings Post from Stranger Things

Stranger Things is a Netflix original drama set in a fictional Indiana town named Hawkins in the early 1980s. The show’s two main writers are the Duffer brothers and the plot follows four young boys as they discover supernatural beings lurking around their small town. The scene we want to focus on occurs in season 3 when one of the main character’s sisters, Nancy Wheeler, starts her new job as an intern at the Hawkins Post. We see her enter the building for the Hawkins Post with a bag of food and she drops off burgers wrapped in tin foil at each desk as she passes by. The last room she enters is the meeting room where the journalists are discussing ideas for the newspaper to be printed that day. The first thing that’s noticeable as she enters the room is that only men surround the table. The men are struggling to make any progress while brainstorming ideas to take to print and they mix in misogynistic jokes that distract them along the way. Nancy realizes that they are struggling and offers a news story about the new Starcourt Mall as a suggestion. The men seem to take the suggestion seriously at first but then one cracks a joke about her messing up his order and all the men laugh. As Nancy leaves the room, the same man makes another joke to the leader of Hawkins Post saying, “Watch out, she might be after your job.”

With the show being set in the 1980s, this scene perfectly depicts the changing gender roles of men and women throughout the time period. In the 1980s, job opportunities began expanding for women. It became a lot more common to see a woman holding an executive or administrative position. Before the 80s, women were largely still expected to look after the home and family. However, they did have some opportunities for jobs outside the home. For example, during World War II when men had to go overseas to fight for our country, many women filled the jobs of working in factories and shipyards producing munitions and war supplies. This was so uncommon at the time that it sparked a cultural icon in “Rosie the Riveter” that represented all women that filled the blue-collar jobs. When the men returned home from war, gender roles went back to “normal” with the men returning to their previous factory jobs and women returning back to their domestic jobs. Many men felt threatened by the notion of women coming in and challenging for their jobs and were not used to the idea that women could make more than them. As in this case with the Hawkins Post, the men held the higher up positions, while the women, like Nancy Wheeler, held the lower-level jobs. 

Although the item we have chosen doesn’t represent a girl for her chronological age, it still does a good job to depict the expected gender roles of girls as they grow up and enter the workforce. Previous Keyword essays we have read like Domestic and Girlhood are helpful in understanding this piece. For example, the Domestic essay references the expected domestic roles of women in the household. Women are expected to cook and clean around the house while the husband goes to his job to support the family financially. Although Nancy’s job is outside of the house, it still shows how men and women are treated differently in the newly integrated workforce. The men at the Hawkins Post don’t take Nancy seriously, even after she suggests a valuable news story they can print in the next newspaper. The men do this because they are threatened that a woman can do their job just as well as they can. They are also having a hard time adjusting to changing gender roles in society. 

This scene scripts a specific role that women serve in society. Women are scripted to be the caretakers in American society. This is evident in this scene as Nancy picks up the lunches for everyone at Hawkins Post. She isn’t there to provide valuable knowledge but rather to take care of each worker’s needs like food and coffee. This differs from the role scripted for men in society as the hardworking moneymakers. Men are expected to go to their jobs and work hard to financially support their family. Men then expect their wives to take care of all other needs that pertain to keeping a household running like cooking, cleaning, and doing the laundry. Little Women also scripts similar gender roles. In Little Women, the four female protagonists at times challenge social norms for women during a time when women’s status in society was increasing. However, they are encouraged at times to settle down and start a family despite their professional aspirations. Eventually, we see that some of them do conform to their expected roles that society scripts for them. Thus, they find themselves in the same situation that Nancy Wheeler finds herself in.

Fourth Item (non-print): Small section of the Grand Estate Dollhouse

For the fourth annotation item, we have chosen to annotate a Barbie Doll room and the accessories that went along with the room. The image shows a room that is part of a larger dollhouse, but we decided to focus on the bedroom of the house. The dress, hairbrush, purse, and tiara are all accessories for the Barbie doll that stays in the bedroom. The bed (not pictured) also is a staple of the dollhouse bedroom. The bedroom set is a small section of the Grand Estate Dollhouse, and it is a very common example of an item in the average children’s playroom. From common doll accessories and bedroom appearances of young girls, the bedroom captures the essence of a young girl. The Grand Estate Dollhouse is a project that culminates almost 50 years in business for KidKraft, and the set represents the company’s passion for children’s growth through play. The Grand Estate Dollhouse was made by the company KidKraft. KidKraft is a children’s toy company that sells toys all around the world. The company specializes in dollhouses and kitchen sets. KidKraft stands by the notion that the more kids imagine and play, the more they grow. KidKraft’s “About Us” page on their website has a linked video to one of their kitchen sets, and, surprisingly enough, the child pictured in the kitchen is a boy. Clearly, this is very different than what most people would expect. This depiction of the boy in the kitchen sparked my interest in the gender stereotypes that are scripted in KidKraft’s toys, specifically the Grand Estate Dollhouse bedroom.

The depiction of the boy in the kitchen made us think about the gender stereotypes KidKraft is trying to destroy with that image, but we wanted to take it a step further and analyze one of their dollhouses to see if those gender stereotypes are crushed elsewhere. In contrast to the portrayed kitchen on their website, the bedroom and the accessories that came along with it heavily play towards society’s gender roles. Every part of the room scripts certain play including the dress and other accessories in the set. The topic of scripting gender roles in toys is very interesting to us because we all have older and younger brothers and sisters, so we get to compare the toys we played with to the toys they play with. When the boys were younger, our toys consisted of trains, sports balls, cars, etc., while our sisters have an overwhelming amount of dolls, dresses, hairbrushes, etc. This image and the rest of KidKraft’s toys were so interesting to us because we are able to see how these types of toys, specifically the dollhouse bedroom set, script the social norms for gender roles in young American girls.

The Grand Estate Dollhouse bedroom set and accessories are especially interesting because of the way unfolds under the lens of modern American girlhood and American girls. Also, this photo relates to several keywords covered throughout the semester. Unlike the typical boy’s room and clothing, this room specifically comes with a makeup/changing station painted on the wall along with a dress that looks like a very elaborate dress. Clearly, this dress and accessories that come along with the room are there to make the doll look fancy. The makeup/changing station is the largest object painted in the room drawing attention to the importance of dressing yourself up. This is scripting young girls that it is very important to look very nice by wearing elaborate dresses and prettying yourself up. This is very stereotypical in the gender spectrum because it is limiting girls’ beauty to only a fancy dress, purses, tiara, and changing station. Also, not pictured in the bedroom is a bed that girls can pull the bedding up and down to signify making the bed. This is another scenario of scripting where girls are expected to keep the house looking nice and clean, specifically by making the bed in their room. Overall, the bedroom set and accessories want young girls to play within the room by making their doll, presumably, female, look good by dressing them up, but also reinforcing common gender stereotypes by completing household chores like making the bed. 

The concepts of cleanliness and prettying up oneself relate to multiple texts and keywords that we have mentioned in class. The glaring words from Keywords for Children’s Literature that correlate with this image are identity, girlhood, and culture. The texts throughout the semester that immediately popped up in our minds were Little Women, The Archive of Childhood, Part 2: The Golliwog, and Mountain Wolf Woman. Little Women has a plethora of scenes where the girls emphasize prettying themselves up or are tasked with household chores because that is a “woman’s job.” The Archive of Childhood, Part 2: The Golliwog highlights the effects of scripting and hidden messages within children’s toys that have significant impacts on children at a young age and later in life. Finally, Mountain Wolf Woman has several scenes of women completing tasks solely because they were labeled by gender roles within the tribe. Although a lot of the texts we read deal with gender stereotypes, these three texts had specific messages and themes that are parallel to those of the image.

The bedroom set under the scope of analysis seen in the image is important to the study of girlhood and American girls because it is a prime example of how societal-determined gender roles show up in children’s toys. This not only impacts girls at a young age, but these girls implement the activities from their play as children into their everyday lives when they are older. This message is the same for boys, but the activities are scripted differently making the image a perfect point of analysis for the study of American girls. 

Fifth item (non-print): Easy-Bake Oven

There are many stereotypes surrounding girlhood, how girls should behave, and what actions they should participate in. One of these stereotypes is working in the kitchen: cooking, baking, and preparing meals for their family. For this reason, we have chosen the common childhood “toy” of an Easy-Bake Oven to highlight. Created in 1963, the Easy-Bake Oven was introduced by Kenner Products and continued to be made by the well-known game and toy company Hasbro until 2017. The Easy-Bake Oven was a toy that was geared towards young girls, and it allowed for “easy” cooking and baking of food products. It was relatively small and colorful, perfect for children to use, especially girls. 

In retrospect, this item catered to the stereotype that girls were supposed to work in the kitchen and do the cooking and baking. It promoted cooking and baking in girls at a young age, persuading them to believe that performing kitchen work was fun and “easy.” The Easy-Bake Ovens were often colorful, especially with “girly” colors such as purple, therefore catering to a young girl audience. However, in 2013 a black and silver Easy-Bake-Oven was introduced to make the product more gender-neutral. This change reflects the evolutionary reduction of gender-role stereotypes in modern times.

The commercial released in 1963 for the Easy-Bake Oven shows a young girl enjoying herself while baking with the oven. She looks happy and is baking many desserts and appears as if she is working hard. The part of the commercial that really stood out is when a little boy comes up to all of her freshly baked treats and starts to eat them. She slaps his hand away, yet he continues to devour the food she just worked hard making. This is a representation of how the gender-roles were perceived during this time: the women laboring in the kitchen to make meals for the men, and the men eating it without thinking. 

This product connects to our class because of gender stereotypes. As stated previously, a common stereotype that is perceived about girls is labor in the kitchen. The Easy-Bake Oven caters to this stereotype by encouraging young girls to form a love for cooking and baking early on in life. Producers of the oven were persuaded by this stereotype as well, as the product had more feminine colors for the first 50 years it was sold. This made it so that boys were less likely to use the product, and evidence that it was made primarily for the use of young girls. This reflects the perceptions of gender roles and gender norms that have been in existence throughout history, which is what we studied in class. 

Reflection Essay

The items we have chosen are related in the sense that they script stereotypical gender roles for young girls and adolescents. During class discussions throughout the semester, a lot of talks were centered about how material objects, popular culture, and entertainment through history have shaped and pushed girls to conform to gendered norms and expectations. The Young Lady’s Sunday Book highlights these expectations through the guidelines it shares for young girls to follow as they transition into “respectable young women”, wives, and mothers. The handbook also reveals the religious and moral expectations strongly tied to the assumption that women ought to act as society’s moral compass. The NPR article entitled “Sparkle Unicorns And Fart Ninjas: What Parents Can Do About Gendered Toys” exemplifies how children’s toys may more broadly reinforce gender roles from an early age. It is common to see girls playing with baby dolls, kitchen sets, and having tea parties. We can see how these playthings carefully craft and prepare girls to accept their future roles as mothers and caregivers as well as housewives and homemakers. The short clip from the popular TV show Stranger Things carries this idea of gendered roles into older adolescence. We see the young female in the clip scurry around to give the male employees’ their lunch while suffering consequences for forgetting mustard on a hamburger and sharing her ideas with the men. This deliberate exclusion of a female’s shared intellect is a way to assert a gendered hierarchy and remind the young adolescent of the role she is expected to play. The Barbie accessories and bedroom set illustrate how part of girls’ gendered expectations are centered around physical appearance as well. The pretty dresses, hairbrushes, and vanities that often accompany many Barbie doll sets serve as ideals for girls who admire their dolls and often enact personal, reflective play through them. This creates the impression that femininity and “being a woman” are tied to outward beauty and care towards one’s appearance. Finally, the Easy-Bake Oven continues to script these gendered expectations for young girls similar to the examples cited in the NPR article. An oven and child-safe play that encourages baking is another way that girls are portrayed as being the cooks, homemakers, and domestic workers. As advertisements for this toy depict young girls, it is clear that our interpretation of this toy’s scripting of gendered play is correct.

Throughout the semester, we’ve seen many texts and items that depict an American girlhood. Specific texts like the Girlhood Keywords essay and Phil Nel’s article title “The Archive of Childhood, Part 2: The Golliwog” describe how girls are often pushed towards gender roles expected of them in society. The Girlhood Keywords essay explores the history behind the word girl and one theory is that the word was derived from an old English word for dress/apparel. The terms “girl” and “apparel” were linked as early as 1762 in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book Emilie, insinuating that doll play asserted a girl’s life course. A quote from Emilie states, “She is absorbed in the doll and her coquetry is expressed through it. But the time will come when she will be her own doll.” This quote implies that girls are heavily influenced by the toys/dolls they play with at young ages. The quote also ties into Phil Nel’s article about his “fellows” he played with as a kid. Nel points out how toys/dolls script certain kinds of play styles saying, “The doll invites certain kinds of play, and that children can accept, reject, or revise those invitations.” Both quotes show how material items in our society influence girls to act a certain way from a young age. The array of items our group has chosen each relate to these quotes and script gender roles and gender stereotypes. The Young Lady’s Sunday Book scripts the religious expectations of girls in society, the NPR article titled  “Sparkle Unicorns And Fart Ninjas: What Parents Can Do About Gendered Toys,” shows how common children toys like kitchen sets prepare girls for their future roles as housewives, the video clip from Stranger Things scripts gender stereotypes as adolescents learn to be the caregiver as they approached womanhood, the bedroom set scripts the ideology that beauty in girls is based on their materialistic possessions, and lastly the Easy-Bake Oven scripts the gender stereotype that girls need to fill the role as the domestic worker for a family.

Additionally, tying all of our research together, these items and sources join together to collaboratively address the idea of domesticity. Each source promotes the idea of women and girls indulging in domestic labor, such as cooking and cleaning. As stated in the annotations regarding gendered toys, Sydney experienced a household in which a little girl’s toys consisted of  “a full kitchen set, a toy vacuum and duster, and of course baby dolls.” There was also an annotation surrounding the household item the Easy-Bake Oven, which was clearly made for the use of young girls. These two annotations support the idea of the stereotype that girls should spend their time performing domestic tasks including working in the kitchen, cleaning the house, and taking care of children. In her keyword essay, Claudia Nelson claims that the word “domestic” has the old-fashioned connotation in which “girls [were] expected to facilitate adjustment to home duties and focused primarily on the interior, both of the home and the individual, rather than on outdoor adventure or imperial conquest” (Nelson, 67). This can also be translated to other situations, such as the one presented in the annotation about Nancy Wheeler in Stranger Things. The scene described shows Nancy, a female, bringing food to the journalists, all of whom were men. In the sense of the quote from the keyword essay, Nancy is serving others, rather than participating in the “adventure” or “conquest”, which is the brainstorming of ideas. 

These ideas about domesticity can be seen through the texts we read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The girls in these books are expected to perform household tasks and let the men do all other work. In Little House on the Prairie, Pa is the one who does the hunting and goes to town for supplies and negotiations while the girls stay home to cook and clean. These were the classic, stereotyped domestic norms during this time, which can be reflected through toys such as kitchen sets, Easy-Bake ovens, or vacuums. Furthermore, in Little Women, Jo is often criticized for her ambition to write, which can correlate to the Stranger Things annotation in which Nancy isn’t taken seriously with her suggestions for the journalists. The preconceived notion that domestically men should take care of actions such as writing is evident in both of these situations. 

Our project looks at a few key themes surrounding girlhood and gender roles that influence children to behave in a certain way. It is important to note that although most of our texts come from the 21st century, we have discussed a text from the 1800s. There is a constant timeline of the pressures upon women to fulfill domestic roles. We aim to suggest that gender stereotyping is deeply ingrained in our society, and has been for many centuries. It impacts the way children are raised, which in turn affects their self-concepts, and ultimately shapes their roles in adulthood. Therefore, by looking at various examples from television, print, and physical items, clear links can be made between values ingrained upon girls from a young age and how they might conform or resist those tight restraints. 

Our group took some time to discuss what topics and themes we thought were the most important throughout the semester. There was a lot of discussion about topics such as scripting, religion, girlhood, gender roles, stereotypes, etc. This list consisted of some of the topics we saw time and time again in keywords and literature during the semester. After talking it over with the group, we decided to highlight gender roles and gender stereotypes and how they are scripted in children’s toys and entertainment. As mentioned before, items and entertainment scripting gender roles and gender stereotypes are seen in almost all of the books that we read in this class, and Keywords for Children’s Literature put a large emphasis on all of these categories as well. Overall, our collaborative group project highlighted five different items, archival and non-archival, that scripted gender roles and gender stereotypes in young children and adolescents.

Leave a Reply