children’s books

Construction of Non-heteronormativity in Children’s World: Analysis of Selected Books for Children

Author: Eva Zamojska
Institution: Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8166-3978
Year of publication: 2021
Source: Show
Pages: 105-122
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/kie.2021.04.06
PDF: kie/134/kie13406.pdf

Heteronormativity refers to a rigorous social gender order in which the only assumed and accepted gender division is between male and female. Non-heteronormativity implies a loosening of the social gender dichotomy. Both the concepts of heteronormativity and non-heteronormativity in relation to children are rarely used, probably because of prevailing notions of an essentially asexual and unproblematically heteronormative, ‘natural’ process of gender identity acquisition in childhood. In this paper, I address the issue of gender and sexuality in childhood in academic discourses and analyse the construction of non-heteronormativity in selected children’s books. Impulses for the research are provided by critical readings of classical psychological and sociological developmental theories, as well as theories and research on the construction of gender identities in children rooted in the paradigm of social constructivism. The presentation of books created with children in mind, in which the authors point to a way of “taming” non-heteronormativity in the children’s world, may strengthen inclusive tendencies in educational activities and change the existing social gender order.

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