Research Topic: The origins of changing family norms in the United States.
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Waite, L. J., Goldscheider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations among Young Adults. American Sociological Review, 51(4), 541–554. https://doi.org/10.2307/2095586
This peer-reviewed study asks how living apart from parents ("nonfamily living") impacts young adults' values and life plans. The authors expected to find (1) that people who live independently would develop nontraditional family orientations, and (2) that the impact of nonfamily living would be greater among young women than among young men. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men, the authors compare young adults' attitudes before and after they move out of their parents' home. The results support the authors' hypotheses, including their prediction that the effects of nonfamily living would be stronger in young women than in young men. This article was published in 1986, and uses data from the 1960s and 1970s. It suggests that changes in family norms have roots in the mid-twentieth century. The other papers in my study focus on changes since the 1990s, so this paper provides valuable context and a longer historical perspective.
One finding was particularly relevant to my paper: compared to young women who lived with their parents, women who lived apart from their families expected to have smaller families, expected to join the workforce and were more accepting of working mothers, and developed nontraditional views on sex roles. This focus on women is also a limitation of the study: the analysis and discussion focus almost entirely on young women. Among young men, the study's results were as predicted but not statistically significant (p.545), so those results could be due to random chance.
Research topic: Representations of gender roles in LGBTQ children's literature.
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Crawley, Stephen A. "Be Who You are: Exploring Representations of Transgender Children in Picturebooks." Journal of Children's Literature, vol. 43, no. 2, 2017, pp. 28-41. ProQuest, http://eznvcc.vccs.edu:2048/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1964430375?accountid=12902.
This peer-reviewed journal article offers a critical content analysis of nine children's picture books with transgender children as protagonists. The critical lens in this content analysis is queer theory. Crawley, a PhD candidate at the time of publication and now faculty at Oklahoma State, finds a lack of diversity in representations of trans children. Most of the nine protagonists are white, middle class, identify as female, and have supportive parents. For my research, the section on gender essentialism (pages 32-33) in these nine books will be most useful. Crawley observes that gender essentialism prevails not only in representations of parental roles, but also in representations of the trans children themselves. That is, among those identifying as female, most conform to gender-essentialist notions of girls' behavior (playing with dolls, favoring the color pink, etc.). Even in a set of realistic picture books attentive to gender and sexual minorities, young nonbinary and genderqueer children go unrepresented. Young children reading these books, too, will see little to challenge a binary understanding of gender. Crawley's findings are, however, specific to realistic fiction and autobiography--they exclude fantasy and science fiction. It would be interesting to find a similar study on those other genres.