I looked at 100 best-selling picture books: female protagonists were largely invisible

Despite a rise in feminist-themed books for children, picture books remain highly gendered overall, writes Sarah Mokrzycki.

In the Dymocks bestsellers list, 46% of books had male protagonists, while only 17% had female protagonists (in 32% of books there was no lead character). There were only seven female led books in the top 50, compared to 26 male led books.

Sixteen books in the list showed characters in specific occupations (outside of parenthood). In the female-led stories, protagonists only showed ambition for traditional feminine pursuits. There were three ballerinas, three princesses and one fashion designer – Claris, a mouse, who “dreamed about clothes” and “read about handbags in Vanity Fair”. (In this story, a misbehaving girl is also chastised for being “neither proper nor prim!”)

In comparison, the male-led stories showed protagonists in roles ranging from farmers and chefs to zookeepers and scientists.

Not much has changed in the past 20 years.

Source: I looked at 100 best-selling picture books: female protagonists were largely invisible

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *