The Anti-Princess in American and Argentine Children’s Literature

September 19, 2018

This essay explores the evolution of princess stories intended for childhood audiences from both the United States and Argentina.  It uses historical analysis and archival material to examine the genre’s patriarchal beginning, and later utilizes literary analysis to examine how contemporary books (specifically “The Princess in Black” by Shannon and Dean Hale and “Collección Antiprincesa” by Nadia Fink) work to portray feminist ideas such as fluid gender roles and strong themes of female empowerment.  I have chosen Argentina and the United States specifically because of their prosperous children’s literature markets and the many similarities in the ways their popular children’s stories have become more and more focussed around gender equality in recent years. I choose to define these contemporary feminist princess stories as an “anti-princess” subgenre, a term borrowed from Argentine author Nadia Fink.  I later define the growing importance of the anti-princess genre, and the way the definition of the princess has both changed and remained the same over time. The essay explains why the princess cannot simply be forgotten as both countries progress towards a more feminist society: the princess as an idea has become synonymous with “perfect girl.” The princess is seen as mirror of what is expected and craved about girlhood over time, even if those expectations have changed drastically.  The anti-princess is not the defiance of the girly-girl, rather it is the defiance of an exclusive view of girlhood. This essay aims to portray how the expansion of the anti-princess genre is an important and necessary part of creating a more inclusive view of girlhood in modern day Argentine and American society.

About Author(s)

Dana Cornacchio's picture
Dana Cornacchio
Dana Cornacchio is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a Spanish major, a studio art minor, and certificates in children’s literature and Latin American studies. During summer 2018, Dana completed research with the Office of Undergraduate Research comparing contemporary children’s literature from the United States and Argentina. Dana intends to continue researching literature and other Latin American topics throughout her undergraduate career. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a masters in education in order to teach Spanish language in a classroom of her own one day.