Chasing Remarkable Lives: a Problematization of Empowerment Stories for Girls


This article explores the question of how to assess children’s literature as feminist. Drawing upon a revision of the concept of postfeminism as a gendered neoliberalism that cultivates the ‘right’ disposition for succeeding in a neoliberal society, I bring together two possible objects of study upon which I outline some problematic aspects. I begin by focusing on a publishing phenomenon of the last few years: the biography compilations, such as the crowdfunded Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, that, in a more or less explicit manner, aim to provide younger generations with new repertoires of gendered agencies. Then I analyze two picturebooks that have been recommended by reading promotion agencies and praised for their anti-sexist values: Tirititesa and La bella Griselda. In both these picturebooks, we find two protagonists tran sgressing gender norms and heteronormative ideals of romantic love. Yet, I argue that they reproduce systems of exclusions that are quite problematic if read from feminist intersectionality. The texts analyzed  are modeled by a postfeminist sensibility in which a celebratory “girl power” is put forward, while obscuring how (gendered) exclusions work.

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