Perpetuating Stereotypes: A Study of Gender, Family, and Religious Life in Jewish Children's Books
Source: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Volume 53, Issue 2, pages 416–431
This paper examines award-winning Jewish children's literature as a medium to explore how religiosity gets constructed differently for men and women. We analyze three decades of winners of the Sydney Taylor Jewish Book Award, a prestigious annual award given by the Association of Jewish Libraries to an outstanding Jewish children's book. We demonstrate how these award-winning books produce and perpetuate gendered religious stereotypes that associate men with agency and women with communion.
We also show how these books construct images of a “domestic Judaism” for women and a “public Judaism” for men and how women have been symbolically annihilated from the titles and central character roles in these books. Drawing on Cecilia Ridgeway's (2011) gender-framing perspective, we argue that the gender stereotypes evident in these books matter to society because they produce and enforce gender inequalities in religiousness.