Holding up half the sky? The continuity and change of visual gender representation in elementary language textbooks in post-Mao China
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This article examines visual gender representation in school textbooks in post-Mao China. I conducted a visual content analysis of 1800 characters in two sets of elementary language textbooks used during the 1980s and the 2000s. Findings revealed male-dominant patterns regarding illustration type, gender presence, real-life characters, and occupational roles in the two sets of textbooks examined. Close scrutiny suggested that women were subject to more severe under-representation than girls. Regarding the change in gender images in the new textbooks, children were much less involved in productive and military activities and were more frequently depicted as engaged in apolitical settings, indicating de-politicization of the young in the new era. Only real-life male characters and men’s occupational roles displayed a trend of downplaying the revolutionary proletarian class and emphasis on the intellectual elites in the recent textbooks. Social change was not saliently reflected by women’s images in the textbooks investigated.

Acceptance Date11/11/2016
All Author(s) ListLi Xiangmei
Journal nameAsian Journal of Women's Studies
Volume Number22
Issue Number4
Pages477 - 496
LanguagesEnglish-United States
Keywordsvisual gender representation, Chinese language textbooks, content analysis, post-Mao China

Last updated on 2021-07-01 at 02:01