Popular children’s books from west, including Disney classics, ‘outdated, sexist, racist’: Study

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 08, 2021, 07:46 PM(IST)

A study claims that popular children books promote stereotypes Photograph:( Twitter )

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According to the findings, published recently in the Australian Educational Researcher, 90 per cent of the popular children’s books 'promoted traditional, binary and stereotypical viewpoints of gender and gender roles'

An Australian academic in her research paper claimed that popular children’s books from the western nations, including the Disney classics such as Snow White, are “outdated, sexist and racist”.

According to the findings, published recently in the Australian Educational Researcher, 90 per cent of the popular children’s books, including 'Harry the Dog', “promoted traditional, binary and stereotypical viewpoints of gender and gender roles”, reports the Daily Express.

The researcher recommends replacing the “outdated” classics with “more inclusive” books, written within the last 20 to 30 years. 

The study was published by Dr Helen Adam and co-authored by Laurie Harper from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.

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The findings also claimed that Disney favourites perpetuate "racial divides and gender stereotypes", calling Snow White an example of “a dependent woman.”

“The world represented in children’s books reflects predominantly middle class, heterosexual, male heroes and characters,” the report of Adam and Harper states.

Adam pointed out that this was commonplace in classic kids’ titles, adding that representations of different family structures outside of the “traditional heteronormative understandings are most often absent in children’s books.”

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“Disney stories relentlessly define the United States as white, middle class and heterosexual and often serve to reproduce sexist, racist and colonial ideologies,” the research study stated.

 “Purely and simply this research shows there's a lack of representation of boys and girls in non-traditional gender roles in these books. Research over many years is clear about the negative impact of sexism and gender stereotypes on children's development,” it added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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