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The representations of masculinity and femininity in different accounts of the Peter Pan story: a discourse analysis.

Moss, Amy (2017) The representations of masculinity and femininity in different accounts of the Peter Pan story: a discourse analysis. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Weitzman et al (1972) ground breaking study on gender inequality in children’s literature found that females were significantly underrepresented in titles and central roles. Children’s literature reinforces the traditional role of the active, independent male and passive female (Gooden & Gooden, 2001). Previous research concerning gender inequality within children’s literature has been heavily dominated by quantitative analysis. Therefore, the current research aimed to investigate the representations of masculinity and femininity in different accounts of the Peter Pan story, by using a discursively analytic approach.The different accounts of the Peter Pan story which were analysed were as follows: the 1953 film ‘Peter Pan’, the 2015 film ‘Pan’, the ladybird classics edition of the ‘Peter Pan book, the novel ‘Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and the novel ‘Peter and The Starcatchers’ by Dave Barry. All accounts of the Peter Pan story were analysed using Potter and Wetherell’s discourse analysis (1987) using the three analytical concepts of discourse analysis: interpretive repertories, subject positions and ideological dilemmas. The epistemological position of the researcher was social constructionist (Burr, 2015). The findings displayed that the positioning of women presented troubling conclusions regarding gender inequality. Male dominated power structures were established across all the texts and women were primarily located in roles of domesticity. Gender inequality is still a prevalent issue within children’s literature.

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