From the Girl to the World: Good Girls as Political Endorsers and Agents of Change

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This article explores the ways in which “good girls” have been drawn into political discourse since the 1990s and how they are figured as political endorsers and as agents of change. Girls are increasingly addressed as active subjects and future citizens. In a postfeminist context they are regarded as entrepreneurial and self-motivated. Girls are also increasingly prominent as advocates of social reform and economic development. It seems then that girls are, in many ways, central to the political scene. Through an examination of good girl figures including Jackie Evancho and Malala Yousafzai this article explores how political discourse works to harness the voices of girls, to co-opt their youthful promise and to extract symbolic capital by association with them. The overall argument is that girls’ assumed future success becomes (mis)represented in political discourse as evidence of progress which is always achievable and soon to be attained by all. 
© 2018, Oxford University Press. The attached document (embargoed until 27/07/2020) is an author produced version of a paper published in Communication, Culture & Critique, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-417
JournalCommunication, Culture and Critique
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • Girls
  • Political Communication
  • education
  • media

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