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Can a girl be a hero Gender constitutes one of the most important learning experiences for the young child By the time a child reaches pre-school he or she is able to make gender distinctions and sex-role preferences They also learn the appropriate behaviour for both boys and girls and men and women In addition to learning gender identification and sex-role expectations boys and girls are exposed to accept societys definition of the relative worth of each of the sexes and to assume the personality characteristics that are typical of members of each sex In a patriarchal society like ours children learn very quickly that boys are more highly valued than girls and with regard to personality differences they learn that boys are more active and achieving while girls are passive and emotional In the media girls are again generally portrayed in a different way to boys There are lots of examples of this from the images found on birthday cards to those in childrens books In picture books such as comics boys are mostly shown as rough and aggressive while girls are presented as scaredy cats and goody-goodies There are also far more male characters than females in comics from Superman Batman to all the other imaginable men you can find while the girls such as Wonderwoman and Batgirl are merely sidekicks to these superheroes Although they are considered strong females there is always something masculine about them the bulging muscles the body armour they wear to protect their more fragile bodies and tight leotards to allow them to fight better instead of frilly skirts And if Wonderwoman used her lasso as a weapon she almost symbolises a sex mistress who seduces men whereas if Batman used one it would only enhance his strength and courage Therefore can a girl still be a hero Childrens books reflect cultural values and are an important instrument for persuading children to accept these values However the
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