Gender Images in Selected Malaysian School Textbooks: A Frequency Analysis

By Zarina Othman, Bahiyah Dato’ Hj, Abdul Hamid, Mohd Subakir Mohd Yasin, Yuen Chee Keong and Azhar Jaludin.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents a frequency analysis of illustrated images found in selected Malaysian school textbooks in its attempt to investigate gender representation in the texts. It analyses, at random, a series of four Malaysian English textbooks, 3 primary textbooks and 1 lower secondary. The scanning of visual images of the textbooks was compiled. A visual analysis form was devised and used as the instrument to encode the categories of analysis. The results show emerging categories that were coded which include: frequency of appearances/invisibility of males and females, portrayal of roles of characters, and depictions of personality characteristics of characters. The findings reveal that males dominant images in the textbooks as a whole. As for the portrayal of characters in terms of their social, professional and political roles, the findings again show a gender biasness that is represented highly by male characters. Female characters are depicted to be ‘inherently inferior’ in terms of the roles portrayed and their contribution to the society at large.

Keywords: Images, Gender Positioning, Image Analysis, Discourse, School Textbooks

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp.101-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 894.566KB).

Dr. Zarina Othman

Lecturer, Centre of General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Zarina Othman holds a degree in B.Ed (Hons) TESL from the University of Kent, United Kingdom and a Masters in MESL (Masters in English as a Second Language) from University Malaya, Malaysia. Dr. Othman then pursued a PhD in Linguistics at Lancaster University, United Kingdom. Dr. Othman’s research interests focus on spoken discourse, discourse analysis, discourse and gender, and academic discourse.

Dr. Bahiyah Dato’ Hj, Abdul Hamid

Associate Professor, School of Language and Linguistics Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia

Bahiyah Abdul Hamid is an Associate Professor in the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her areas of research are in language and gender, image analysis, identity construction, discourse analysis and corpus analysis.

Dr. Mohd Subakir Mohd Yasin

Senior Lecturer, School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Mohd Subakir Mohd Yasin is a senior lecturer in linguistics, specialising in linguistics theories and minority languages. Currently, Yasin is involved in language maintainance, identity and gender related researches.

Dr. Yuen Chee Keong

Lecturer, School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Yuen Chee Keong is a lecturer in the School of Language Studies and Linguistics at UKM. He is an affiliate in the Centre of Gender Research, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at UKM. His research interests include varieties of English, gender studies and corpus building.

Azhar Jaludin

Lecturer, School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Azhar Jaludin is a lecturer in the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, specialising in psycholinguistics and corpus linguistics. Jaludin is currently involved in identity and gender studies.

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