I have been extending my research to primary research, and this has involved looking in stores that sell books aimed at children and looking at how they display their books. I found that in The Works which is a store that sells books and a variety of other products at low prices had heavily segregated books that were deemed for boys and books that were deemed for girls. They were on separate shelves and you can see the definite stereotypical colour schemes of pinks and purples for girls and blues for boys, the covers of the books show stereotypical imagery that is seen as socially acceptable for boys and one set socially acceptable for girls. Now i by no means think this is the fault of the illustrator, because as an illustrator you are working for a client and your freedoms are sometimes limited. What i would like to know , is there anything you can do as an illustrator to eleviate this issue? I am going to contact some illustrators to ask about their experiences and whether they feel they can tackle gender representation within their work. Also, not all books are this obviously stereotyped through imagery,and i have found some examples of books that i think seem gender neutral, or much less pigeonholed than the ones that are labelled as “stories for boys” or “stories for girls”.
above are the most obvious stereotypical covers i saw in these shops, i think they show misogynistic views that boys are adventurous and like pirates and robots and dinosaurs, whereas girls are gentle and love fairy’s and baby animals and handbags -_- i find these quite insulting, although i see they have their place because sometimes children really do like these things in their genders, but i feel more should be available and the colouring books/ sticker books should be segregated by subject not by gender, so a boy that likes baby animals feels free to pick up that book and a girl that likes dinosaurs feels the same.
above are examples of how childrens books are displayed in both WHSmith and The Works, the books are quite segregated in themselves with separate shelves of books for each gender, the only exceptions are with books for very young children that involve animals such as the peppa pig book which looks applicable to both genders.
This is one book i saw that i really loved the cover illustrations, they aren’t gender obvious and they although its called stick- MAN, i think its whimsical illustrations and presence of animals makes it both appealing to boys and girls, this is the kind of illustrating that seems conscious of the issues of gender and is quite androgynous.