Gender stereotypes in children's literature

I bought this book from the opshop for Grace to read when she's older. It's Richard Scarry's ABC Word Book, by Richard Scarry,Collins 1971 and I think it's very charming and it has pictures of laundry. But why are there only pictures of female, matronly animal characters dealing with the laundry? I know why, (insert hoary, ironic, oldtimers voice) because laundry is women's work. Always was, always will be. And the sooner my daughter learns this the better(end voice). I can feel the bitter old feminist canker souring my pleasure in these pictures, which despite the gender stereotyping, I do find quite delightful.

I guess the book is from the seventies, but then so is second wave feminism. While I want my daughter to be domestically competent, I don't want her to believe for even a moment that competence means she has to do it all. Grace and I have alot to talk about.

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