Happily Ever After

Leslie Paris

in The Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195379785
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Happily Ever After

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literature
  • Children's Literature Studies
  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)



This article argues that the example of the enormously popular Free to Be . . . You and Me (1972) points to the ways in which childhood became a utopian space of liberation in large part. It starts by setting the Free to Be series into the broader context of second-wave feminist activism. Free to Be is very much a document of liberal feminism, which was by the early 1970s the most mainstream and visible expression of the larger feminist movement. The article additionally investigates three of the specific texts featured in Free to Be: Ladies First, Atalanta, and William's Doll. These three texts showcase different thematic aspects of the Free to Be project. The politics of Free to Be is considered from the perspective of the present day. The Free to Be project's emphasis on sensitive boys and adventurous girls continues to resonate.

Keywords: Free to Be; Ladies First; Atalanta; William's Doll; feminist activism; American children's culture

Article.  9256 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Children's Literature Studies ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »