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ERIC Number: EJ787934
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-1076-2175
A Student's Perspective: Fictional Characters in Books as Positive Role Models for Adolescent Females
Melnick, Samantha
Gifted Child Today, v25 n2 p44-45 Spr 2002
Any girl who watches TV or listens to the radio is bombarded not only with negative stereotypes of females, but also with the message that the most important qualities to possess are physical and aesthetic. From where, then, are girls supposed to derive positive role models? The author began asking herself this question two years ago as an eighth grader at Tenafly Middle School in Tenafly, New Jersey, when she participated in R.O.G.A.T.E., or Resources Offered for Gifted and Talented Education. Her hypothesis was that fictional characters in literary works can be positive role models for adolescent females. She knew she wanted to research a topic relating to books, as reading had always been one of her favorite pastimes. As a 14-year-old girl on the cusp between childhood and adolescence, she also felt that her research should be aimed at teenaged girls, because after all, that was what she was. Thus, after months of reading, interviewing, surveying, analyzing, and interpreting, she finally reached a conclusion. From the evidence she gathered, she inferred that her hypothesis is valid and truthful. Fictional characters that display good qualities and traits, such as honesty, bravery, creativity, and kindness, can teach the girls who read about them to possess these same qualities in their own lives. These characters also deal with issues and conflicts that are widespread and common to almost all teenage girls, making them personages to whom girls can easily relate. The applications of her research are very effective and easy to practice, and her findings can pertain to classroom strategies. Teachers need to assign girls to read, either in-class or for summer reading, books that contain positive role models. Parents should do the same in providing their daughters with these same types of books. The most vital application, however, is on a large-scale: there must be a change in media content, and this alteration must be a radical one in order to try to repair some ofthe damage that has already been done. Those who can bring about change consist of children's book editors, movie and television producers, and radio announcers and advertisers.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A