Challenging Male Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Picture Books
A Social Semiotic and Multimodal Analysis
AbstractThe main aim of this article is to identify the visual and verbal strategies that authors and illustrators display in five picture books featuring children who do not conform to traditional masculine gender stereotypes. The theoretical framework adopted for the multimodal analysis is Systemic-Functional Social Semiotics. After identifying the verbal and visual transitivity/transactional options that are actualised in the sample texts, we determine whether the semantic load that each mode contributes to the construction of gender is convergent or divergent. The findings show that the meaning load carried by embedded images (action plus reaction), together with verbal and mental processes of perception, provides essential cues for fostering progressive gender discourses.
Armengol, Josep María. 2014. “Alternative Masculinities in Richard Ford’s Fiction and / versus Susanne Bier’s in a Better World.” In Carabí and Armengol 2014, 131-44.
Bowker, Lynne and Jennifer Pearson. 2002. Working with Specialized Language. A Practical Guide to Using Corpora. London and New York: Routledge.
Carabí, Àngels and José M. Armengol, eds. 2014. Alternative Masculinities for a Changing World. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cohen, Louis, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison, eds. 2007. Research Methods in Education. London and New York: Routledge.
Evans, Janet, ed. 2015. Challenging and Controversial Picture books. Creative and Critical Responses to Visual Texts. London and New York: Routledge.
Fairclough, Norman. 2003. Analysing Discourse: Text Analysis for Social Research. London and New York: Routledge.
Halliday, Michael Alexander Kirkwood. 1978. Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning. London: Edward Arnold.
—. 2004. Introduction to Functional Grammar. 3rd ed. London: Edward Arnold.
Kress, Gunther and Theo van Leeuwen. (1996) 2006. Reading Images. The Grammar of Visual Design. London and New York: Routledge.
Lewis, David. 2001. Reading Contemporary Picture books: Picturing Text. London and New York: Routledge.
Mills, Sara. 1995. Feminist Stylistics. London and New York: Routledge.
Moebius, William. 1986. “Introduction to Picture Book Codes.” Word and Image 2: 141-58.
Moya-Guijarro, Arsenio Jesús. 2014. A Multimodal Analysis of Picture Books for Children: A Systemic Functional Approach. London: Equinox.
Moya-Guijarro, Arsenio Jesús and Cristina Cañamares Torrijos, eds. 2020. Libros álbum que desafían los estereotipos de género y el concepto de familia tradicional. Análisis semiótico y multimodal. Cuenca: Arcadia.
Moya-Guijarro, Arsenio Jesús and Eija Ventola, eds. 2022. Challenging Gender Stereotypes and the Traditional Family Unit. Analysing Children’s Picture Books Multimodally. London and New York: Routledge.
Nikolajeva, Maria and Carole Scott. 2001. How Picturebooks Work. New York: Garland Publishing.
Nodelman, Perry. 1988. Words about Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children’s Picture Books. Athens: U of Georgia P.
Painter, Clare, Jim Martin and Len Unsworth. 2013. Reading Visual Narratives: Image Analysis of Children’s Picture Books. Sheffield: Equinox.
Pinar, María Jesús, ed. 2015. Multimodality and Cognitive Linguistics. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Santamaría-García, Carmen. 2020. “Un análisis semiótico y multimodal de relaciones de interacción en libros álbum que desafían los estereotipos de género femeninos.” In Moya-Guijarro and Cañamares Torrijos 2020, 49-76.
Serafini, Frank. 2010. “Reading Multimodal Texts: Perceptual, Structural and Ideological Perspectives.” Children’s Literature in Education 41: 85-104.
Sinclair, John 1991. Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Oxford UP.
Sipe, Lawrence. 2012. “Revisiting the Relationship between Text and Pictures.” Children’s Literature in Education 43 (1): 4-21.
Starc, Sonja, Carys Jones and Ariannna Maiorani, eds. 2015. Meaning Making in Text: Multimodal and Multilingual Functional Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Stoian, Claudia. 2015. “Meaning in Images: Complexity and Variation across Cultures.” In Starc, Jones and Maiorani 2015, 152-69.
Sunderland, Jane. 2012. Language, Gender and Children’s Fiction. London: Continuum.
Unsworth, Len. 2006. “Towards a Metalanguage for Multiliteracies Education: Describing the Meaning-Making Resources of Language-Image Interaction.” English Teaching: Practice and Critique 5 (1): 55-76.
Varantola, Krista. 2002. “Disposable Corpora as Intelligent Tools in Translation.” Cuadernos de Tradução 9: 171-89.
The authors retain copyright of articles. They authorise AEDEAN to publish them in its journal Atlantis and to include them in the indexing and abstracting services, academic databases and repositories the journal participates in.
Under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0), for non-commercial (i.e., personal or academic) purposes only, users are free to share (i.e., copy and redistribute in any medium or format) and adapt (i.e., remix, transform and build upon) articles published in Atlantis, free of charge and without obtaining prior permission from the publisher or the author(s), as long as they give appropriate credit to the author, the journal (Atlantis) and the publisher (AEDEAN), provide the relevant URL link to the original publication and indicate if changes were made. Such attribution may be done in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the journal endorses the user or their use of the material published therein. Users who adapt (i.e., remix, transform or build upon the material) must distribute their contributions under the same licence as the original.
Self-archiving is also permitted, so that authors are allowed to deposit the published PDF version of their articles in academic and/or institutional repositories, without fee or embargo. Authors may also post their individual articles on their personal websites, again on condition that the original link to the online edition is provided.
Authors are expected to know and heed basic ground rules that preclude simultaneous submission and/or duplicate publication. Prospective contributors to Atlantis commit themselves to the following when they submit a manuscript:
- That no concurrent consideration of the same, or almost identical, work by any other journal and/or publisher is taking place.
- That the potential contribution has not appeared previously, in any form whatsoever, in another journal, electronic format or as a chapter/section of a book.
Seeking permission for the use of copyright material is the responsibility of the author.
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Grant numbers FFI2017-85306-P