Saturday, November 30, 2013

Kids' Books: All About the White Boys

File this under "Blaaaarg":

According to a comprehensive study of children's literature from the last 100 years by the University of Florida:

  • 57% of children's books published each year have male protagonists, versus 31% female.
  • As with television and film, books with animated characters are a particularly subtle and insidious way to marginalize based on sex, gender and race. In popular children's books featuring animated animals, 100% of them have male characters, but only 33% have female characters.
  • The average number of books featuring male characters in the title of the book is 36.5% versus 17.5% for female characters.
Isn't that completely nutbar? It's unsurprisingly worse for children of color:
  • Of an estimated 5,000 books released in 2012, only 3.3% featured African-Americans; 2.1% featured Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders; 1.5% featured Latinos; and only 0.6% featured Native Americans. 
This is 2012, not 1912! White and/or male writers need to gain some perspective and include great characters who are women and people of color. Furthermore, we need to inspire and nurture and encourage women and people of color to become children's authors and illustrators in the first place. The same holds true, of course, for children's TV, video games, and movies. 

Entertainment is a two-way mirror on society: the more society changes, the more entertainment must change, and I guarantee you that the more entertainment changes, the more society will change, too. Children are sponges. They absorb what they see. We need to make sure what they see reflects an equitable and multi-faceted world filled with the people who actually populate it, not just the ones who happen to be in charge right now.

[via HuffPo]

No comments:

Post a Comment