This analysis examines gender representations found in children’s picture books through a symbolic interactionist perspective, employing conceptual ideas produced by West and Zimmerman (1987) and West and Fenstermaker 1995). Through a qualitative content analysis of 20 picture books from the past 15 years, I examine how gender is portrayed through both human and animal characters. I find that children’s picture books reflect our patriarchal society as they are male-centered, male-dominated, and male-identified (Johnson 2014). Children’s picture books depict patriarchal gender portrayals and provide children with examples of gender performances that satisfy patriarchal gender norms. This research has implications beyond books; it reflects the damaging and limiting cultural representations of gender that children learn at very young ages.


Sarah Epplen

First Committee Member

Emily Boyd

Second Committee Member

Heather Von Bank

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology and Corrections


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


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