"Old-Fashioned and Forward-Looking": Neo-Liberalism and Nostalgia in the Daring Books for Girls

  • Susanne Gannon
  • Marnina Gonick
  • Jo Lampert
Keywords: neoliberalism, girlhood, young adult non-fiction


In this paper, we examine The Daring Book for Girls and its follow-ups for their constructions of gender. We suggest that, as examples of how neo-liberalism finds its way into notions of proper girlhood, the books provide intentional and unintentional "lessons" to their readers in how to perform themselves in these times. In both the American and the Australian edition of the initial text, girls are instructed in complex ways to be the right kind of girl: enterprising with a do-it-yourself (DIY) attitude, tolerant of diversity, and nature-loving. Through the constructions of girls as "good citizens" by rules and strict boundaries, the books present to readers a highly nostalgic version of girlhood while simultaneously serving as a pedagogical manual for neo-liberal times.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2012.0001

Author Biographies

Susanne Gannon

Susanne Gannon is Associate Professor in secondary English and literacy teacher education at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.

Marnina Gonick

Associate Professor Marnina Gonick is Canada Research Chair in Gender at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Jo Lampert

Jo Lampert is a Senior Lecturer with the School of Cultural and Language Studies (Faculty of Education) at the Queensland of Technology.

How to Cite
Gannon, S., Gonick, M., & Lampert, J. (2012). "Old-Fashioned and Forward-Looking": Neo-Liberalism and Nostalgia in the Daring Books for Girls. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 4(1). Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/114

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