A descriptive study of gender bias of images in method books for beginner band
Konemann, Nachel C.
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The research for this study focused on potential gender biases as well as sex stereotyping of musical instruments in music texts. The purpose of this study was to examine the images included in beginner band method books for gender representation. The method books examined in this study were method books identified by 81 practicing band directors as used in the beginning band classroom in the state of Texas. Beginner band method books that did not include images were removed from further consideration. The images in the method books examined (N = 13) were categorized into four classifications: male, female, undetermined, and both. The male and female categories represented an image of a single person of whom the gender could be easily identified as male or female. The “undetermined” category represented images with a single person shown in the image, but the gender was not easily identifiable or the face was not shown. The “both” category represented pairs of images in which one image showed a female and another image showed a male. Once the data were collected, the researcher then examined the data by making the following comparisons and categorizations: 1. Comparison of how many illustrations shown are of females/males. 2. Categorization of each instrument by the gender of the person playing the instrument. 3. Comparison of how many illustrations show females playing stereotypical female instruments as defined by the research of Abeles and Porter (1978) and Abeles (2009). 4. Comparison of how many illustrations show males playing stereotypical male instruments as defined by the research of Abeles and Porter (1978) and Abeles (2009). 5. Comparison of textbooks by decade of publication. 6. Comparison of textbooks published by the same publisher. 7. Comparison of number of images of males and females by publisher. Examination of the frequency of male and female images appearing in beginning band method textbooks in use among Texas band directors revealed males represented the highest percentage of images shown in beginner band method books (74.56%). Females represented the lowest percentage of images shown in beginner band method books (25.44%). The frequency of images of males and females for each instrument was examined and females were unrepresented in almost every category excluding the flute. Results also suggest there has been a notable shift towards the inclusion of both genders in the images shown in beginner band method books throughout the past five decades. When an analysis was done of images of gender stereotypical instruments, results revealed gender stereotyping of traditionally feminine instruments and traditionally masculine instruments. Because the list of method books examined is not an exhaustive list, further research should examine whether other method books not used in this study have similar results. Further research should be considered to examine possible racial bias in beginner band method books. Further research should be considered to examine the effect images in beginner band method books have on beginner band students. Continued research on these method books could explore how publishers select these images in beginner band method books.