Lauren “Aris” Richardson Humanities and Social Science
Androcentric Tendencies in Storytelling to Children
From infancy, people are told stories. The patterns, morals, and relationships in these stories help children form schemas to interpret the world. While cultures have prominent stories that are passed down to most children (e.g. Romeo and Juliet), people spontaneously invent narratives for purposes of entertainment, distraction, or teaching. My research aims to understand how androcentric bias (the bias that centers the experiences of men over the consideration of other genders) functions at an interpersonal, individual level during storytelling; more specifically, how a character’s agency or communality in a story influences the likelihood that someone will tell a child a story with a male protagonist. These conditions are chosen because agency, an essential function of being human, has become specifically associated with masculinity, while community is associated with femininity.
With an awareness of how androcentric bias functions in storytelling, people can consciously shift from androcentric descriptions to more gender-neutral language and thinking. Such changes have already shown to be useful in decreasing stereotyping and discrimination.