Open Access Graduate Research Paper
While series novels have been popular for many years, the actual roles of females have changed through time. Series novels written in recent years may not reflect the changes women's roles have undergone. Nancy Drew acted as one of the first female protagonists in girls' series novels and provided an intelligent, independent role model for young girls. Series novels written after the Women's Movement in the 1980s and 1990s may not reflect the changing role of women in society.
While researching this problem a content analysis form was used to evaluate five series novels each, from five different girls series. Hypothesis one, which dealt with the presence of a feminist perspective in parental roles, was rejected. Hypothesis three that dealt with female characters shown in a caregiver role was also rejected. The second hypothesis dealing with the ability of the female protagonist to solve problems independently was accepted. Hypothesis four that dealt with multiple references to clothing, hair, make-up and physical appearance was accepted.
The significance of these novels is that the many young adult females who read these are sent messages about the role of females. Stereotypical female roles that present females as caregivers, in traditional careers such as teachers or nurses, and discussing clothes and make-up as though those are meaningful topics of conversation, are seen as desirable and normal to pre-teen and teen readers. While Nancy Drew does have a boyfriend, Ned, he does not occupy a great deal of her time or attention, unlike the series novels evaluated.
Year of Submission
Master of Arts
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Division of School Library Studies
1 PDF file (v, 122 pages)
©2004 Tina Kathryn Ristau
Ristau, Tina Kathryn, "Content Analysis of the Changing Roles of Female Protagonists in Girls Series Novels Written after the Women's Movement" (2004). Graduate Research Papers. 4004.