Snow White in the Hellenic primary classrooms: children's responses to non-traditional gender discourses.

Journal article

Kostas, M. 2016. Snow White in the Hellenic primary classrooms: children's responses to non-traditional gender discourses. Gender and Education.
AuthorsKostas, M.

This paper sets out to investigate how children make sense of and negotiate non-traditional gender discourses promoted through the feminist version of the fairytale of Snow White. The research was based on work with 120 pupils aged 9–11 years old in 2 Athenian primary schools. The data were collected through semi- structured group interviews. The findings suggested that schoolchildren gave conflicting accounts in relation to gender discourses and identities. There is a strong indication that girls of this age are more prepared than boys to challenge traditional gender discourses.

KeywordsChildren; hegemonic masculinity; emphasised femininity; gender discourses; fairytales; Hellas
JournalGender and Education
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Official URL
Publication dates
Online04 Oct 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Nov 2017
Accepted20 Aug 2016
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished

Anggard, E. 2005. “Barbie Princesses and Dinosaur Dragons: Narration as a Way of Doing Gender.” Gender Education 17: 539-553.
Arizpe, E. 2001. Responding to a ‘Conquistadora’: readers talk about gender in Mexican secondary schools. Gender and Education 13: 25-37.
Barajas, K. E. 2008. Beyond stereotypes? Talking about gender in school book talk. Ethnography and Education 3: 129-144.
Barchers, S. 1990. Wise women: Folk and fairy tales from around the world. Englewood, co: Libraries Unlimited.
Blaise, M. 2005. Playing it straight: Uncovering gender discourses in the early childhood classroom. London: Routledge.
Bjorklund, D. F. 2005. Children’s thinking: Cognitive development and individual difference. 4th Ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Butler, J. 1990. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. London: Routledge.
Carrigan, T. Connell B. & Lee L. 1987. Towards a new Sociology of masculinity, In H. Brod (eds). The making of masculinities: The new men’s studies. Boston: Unwin Hyman.
Connell, R. W. 1987. Gender and power. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Connell, R. W. 1995. Masculinities. Oxford: Blackwell.
Curry, T. J. P. Arriagada, and B. Cornwell. 2002. Images of sport in popular non sport magazines: Power and performance versus pleasure and participation. Sociological Perspectives 45: 397-413.
Davies, B. 1989. Frogs, snails and feminist tales. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
Davies, B. 1993. Shards of glass: Children reading and writing beyond gendered identities. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
Davies, B. and Kasama, H. 2004. Gender in Japanese preschools: frogs and snails and feminist tales in Japan. London: Hampton.
Davies, B. and C. Banks. 1992. The gender trap: A feminist post-structuralist analysis of primary school children's talk about gender. Curriculum Studies 24: 1-25.
Fine, C. 2010. Delusions of gender: How our minds, society, and neurosexism create difference. New York: W.W. Norton.
Foucault, Michel (1975). Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, New York: Random House.
Francis, B. 1998. Power plays: Primary school children's constructions of gender, power, and adult work. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books.
Frawley T. (2008). Gender schema and prejudicial recall: how children misremember, fabricate, and distort gendered picture book information. Journal of Research in Childhood Education 22: 291–303.
Frosh, S. Phoenix, A. & Pattman, R. 2002. Young masculinities: Understanding boys in contemporary society. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.
Grieshaber, S. 2004. Rethinking parent and child conflict. New York: Routledge.
Kitzinger, J. 1994. The Methodology of focus groups: The importance of interaction between research participants. Sociology of Health 16: 103-21.
Kostas, M. 2014. Gender discourses and identities in the curriculum and classrooms of Hellenic primary schools. PhD diss., UCL Institute of Education.
Lankshear, A. J. 1993. The use of focus groups in a study of attitudes to student nurse assessment. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 18: 1986-89.
Lemish, D. 1998. Spice girls’ talk: A case study in the development of gendered identity. In millennium girls: Today’s girls around the world, ed. Inness, S. A., 145-67. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.
Lieberman, M. K. 1972. Some day my prince will come: Female acculturation through the fairy tale. College English 34: 383-395
Nhundu T. J. 2007. Mitigating gender-typed occupational preferences of Zimbabwean primary school children: the use of biographical sketches and portrayals of female role models. Sex Role 56: 639–649.
Paechter, C. 2006. Masculine femininities/feminine masculinities: power, identities and gender. Gender and Education 18: 253-263.
Paechter, C. 2012. Tomboys and girly-girls: embodied femininities in primary schools. Discourse 31(2): 221-235
Paechter, C. 2012. Bodies, identities and performances: Reconfiguring the language of gender and schooling. Gender and Education 24: 229-241.
Parsons, L. T. 2004. Ella evolving: Cinderella stories and construction of gender-appropriate behaviour. Children’s Literature in Education 35: 135-154.
Renold, E. 2005. Girls, boys and junior sexualities: Exploring children's gender and sexual relations in the primary school. London: Routledge.
Rice, P. S. 2000. Gendered readings of a traditional ‘feminist’ folktale by sixth-grade boys and girls. Journal of Literacy Research 32: 211-36.
Skelton, C., B. Carrington, M. Francis, B. Hutchings, B. Read and I. Hall. 2009. Gender ‘matters’ in the primary classroom: Pupils' and teachers' perspectives. British Educational Research Journal 35: 187-204.
Strauss, A. 1987. Qualitative analysis for social scientists. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Swain, J. 2000. ‘The money’s good, the fame’s good, the girls are good’: the role of playground football in the construction of young boys’ masculinity in a junior school. British Journal of Sociology of Education 21: 95-109.
Thorne, B. 1993. Gender play: Girls and boys in school. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Trautner H. M., Ruble D. N., Cyphers L., Kirsten B., Behrendt R., Hartmann P. 2005. Rigidity and flexibility of gender stereotypes in childhood: developmental or differential? Infant Child Development 14: 365–381.
Trousdale, A. 1995. I'd rather be normal: A young girl's responses to "feminist" fairy tales. The New Advocate 8: 167-82.
Triandafyllidou, A. 2013. Tolerance, Pluralism and Social Cohesion: Responding to the Challenges of the 21st Century in Europe. James [accessed May 14, 2016]
Wasserberg (2012) Being it no matter what anyone else think about it:” Combating Gender Bias with Non-traditional Literature in an Urban Elementary Classroom”, Networks an online journal for teacher research, Vol. 14, issue 1, pp.1-9 retrieved from
Walkerdine, V. 1984. Someday my prince will come. In Gender and generation, ed. McRobbie, A. and Nava, M., 162-84. London: Macmillan
Walkerdine, V. 1990. School girl Fictions. London: Verso.
Wason-Ellam, L. 1997. If only I was like Barbie. Language Arts 74: 430-37.
Westland, E. 1993. Cinderella in the classroom: Children’s responses to gender roles in fairy-tales. Gender & Education 5: 237-50.
Yeoman, E. 1999. ‘How does it get into my imagination?’ Elementary school children’s inter-textual knowledge and gendered storylines. Gender and Education 11: 427–40.
Zachou, E. 2005. Ethnic and gender identities formation among Albanian immigrant children in a primary school in Greece. MA Diss., UCL Institute of Education.
Zipes, J. 1986. Don’t bet on the prince: Contemporary feminist fairytales in North America and England. Aldershot, England: Gower.

Permalink -

Download files

  • 153
    total views
  • 306
    total downloads
  • 3
    views this month
  • 6
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

‘Real’ boys, sissies and tomboys: exploring the material-discursive intra-actions of football, bodies, and heteronormative discourses
Kostas, M. 2021. ‘Real’ boys, sissies and tomboys: exploring the material-discursive intra-actions of football, bodies, and heteronormative discourses. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 43 (1), pp. 63-83.
Discursive construction of hegemonic masculinity and emphasised femininity in the textbooks of primary education: children’s discursive agency and polysemy of the narratives
Kostas, M. 2019. Discursive construction of hegemonic masculinity and emphasised femininity in the textbooks of primary education: children’s discursive agency and polysemy of the narratives. Gender and Education. 33 (1), pp. 50-67.