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date: 19 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

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

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