|This study sought to examine the portraits of the girl-child in the Kinyankore folktales. The focus of the research was to collect and analyse Kinyankore folktales comprising girl-child themes. The study sought to establish the way female child characters are portrayed in comparison with the male children and analyse the power relations between male child characters and female child characters, which are portrayed in the folktales.
A case study design for qualitative analysis was carried out on a sample of twenty folktales. Data was collected, managed and analysed qualitatively through transcribing the audio recordings into written texts, literal translation into the English language, and close reading of the texts. Key themes were identified and data was organised into coherent categories. These were integrated with the findings and formed the present research narrative. The study found out that several tales advance stereotypes of the girl-child as a feeble, naive and sometimes wicked character.
However, there were also good portraits of the girl-child such as being beautiful, a loyal friend and an ally and sometimes a heroine. The study also found out that the male-child in the folktales is the most dominant and important character. He is the protector of the girl- child, adventurous and responsible. The tales further portray parents as having absolute powers over their children, especially their female children. They control their lives, determine their destiny and have the responsibility to protect them.
This portrayal reinforces the traditional patriarchal ideology, which is ultimately detrimental to contemporary aspirations for gender equity. However, some tales present a surprising stance on the girl-child by presenting her in positive terms, hence undermining traditional stereotypes about gender. Therefore, the study recommends that both narrators and consumers of these tales be sensitised about the need to portray a better picture of the Munyankore girl-child. Equality should be promoted between the male and female children. Writers should promote the rights of children by adding footnotes to those folktales that show parents as having absolute control over children.