Coloring Within the Lines: Gender Stereotypes in Contemporary Coloring Books
- 2.5k Downloads
Extensive research on print media for children such as storybooks reveals that gender stereotypes are prevalent; however, no systematic analysis of coloring books has been conducted since 1974. We analyzed 889 characters in 56 contemporary coloring books published in the United States and selected through stratified random sampling from one region of California, coding for prevalence of each gender, stereotypic gender roles, activity level, type, and age of character. As hypothesized, males were more active; gender stereotypes were common. Gender neutral behaviors were more likely to be done by males. Females were more likely to be depicted as children and humans; whereas males were mostly depicted as animals, adults, and superheroes. Results are discussed in terms of gender schema theory.
KeywordsGender stereotypes Content analysis Coloring books
Portions of this research were presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2007. The authors thank Marie Thomas and three anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript and Iliana Grigera, Marlene Armenta, Jennifer Dale, and Tara Miller for coding assistance.
- Baker, K., & Raney, A. A. (2007). Equally super?: gender-role stereotyping of superheroes in children’s animated programs. Mass Communication & Society, 10(1), 25–41.Google Scholar
- Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Browne, B. A. (1998). Gender stereotypes in advertising on children’s television in the 1990s: a cross national analysis. Journal of Advertising, 27(2), 65–82.Google Scholar
- Craty, B. J. (1986). Perceptual and motor development in infants and children (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Crayola (2009). Retrieved from http://www.crayola.com/mediacenter/download/news/Crayola_Colorful_moments_in_time.pdf.
- Davidson, E. S., Yasuna, A., & Tower, A. (1979). The effects of television cartoons on sex-role stereotyping in young girls. Child Development, 50, 597–600.Google Scholar
- Gardner, H. (1980). Artful scribbles: The significance of children’s drawings. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Gruber, E. J., & McNinch, G. W. (1994). Young children’s interpretations of coloring activities. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 21, 347–350.Google Scholar
- Key, M. R. (1971). The role of male and female in children’s books: dispelling all doubt. Wilson Library Bulletin, 48, 167–176.Google Scholar
- LaDow, S. (1976). A content-analysis of selected picture books examining the portrayal of sex-roles and representation of males and females. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED123165).Google Scholar
- Lowenfeld, V. (1957). Creative and mental growth (3rd ed.). New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
- Mayesky, M. (2009). Creative activities for young children (9th ed.). New York: Delmar Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- McDonald, S. M. (1989). Sex bias in the representation of male and female characters in children’s picture books. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 150, 389–401.Google Scholar
- McGee, L. M., & Richgels, D. J. (2008). Literacy’s beginnings: Supporting young readers and writers. Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.Google Scholar
- Nolan, J. D., Galst, J. P., & White, M. A. (1977). Sex bias on children’s television programs. Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 96, 197–204.Google Scholar
- Oskamp, S., Kaufman, K., & Wolterbeek, L. A. (1996). Gender role portrayals in preschool picture books. Handbook of Gender Research, 11(5), 27–39.Google Scholar
- Raugust, K. (2003, November 3). A shifting market: the coloring and activity book category is undergoing changes, but remains a mass-market stalwart. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA333112.html.
- Raugust, K. (2006, February 27). Publishers play with value. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6310964.html.
- Robertson, M. A. (1984). Changing motor patterns during childhood. In J. R. Thomas (Ed.), Motor development during childhood and adolescence (pp. 48–90). Minneapolis: Burgess.Google Scholar
- Ruble, D., & Martin, C. L. (1998). Gender development. In W. Damon (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology (5th ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Schuh, M. C. (2002). Horses on the farm. Mankato: Pebble Books.Google Scholar
- Spielmann, M. H., & Layard, G. S. (1967). Artist and critic: a selection from Kate Greenaway’s letters to and from John Ruskin. In E. Ernest & P. T. Lowe (Eds.), The Kate Greenaway treasury (pp. 68–98). New York: World Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- Weatherly, G., & Greenaway, K. (1879). The little folks’ paint book: A series of outline engravings for water-colour painting. London: Cassell Petter & Galpin. Retrieved from http://www.archive.org/details/littlefolkspaint00weatiala.Google Scholar
- Women on Words and Images. (1972). Dick and Jane as victims: Sex stereotyping in children’s readers. Princeton: Author.Google Scholar