Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Feminine writings: between representations of past and present femininity
Priscila Kaufmann Corrêa

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


At a time when women have their rights questioned - although there is still much to be achieved - representations of femininity permeate different spaces and can be defended or rejected. Analyzing the representations of femininity in children's books is one of the objectives of this work.

The writers of this study are the Countess de Ségur, Louisa May Alcott and Maria Clarice Marinho Villac, from France, the United States and Brazil, respectively. It is possible to identify a connection in their life trajectories, aristocratic families and their ability to read and write their books. Through their relationships they met editors and made their writings available for publication. These publications address a specific audience, composed of children and young people, especially females, who during the nineteenth century. Their materiality, with small books, many pictures and flashy covers, they invite the readers to know the narratives.

The life experiences of each of the writers and the context in which they lived, presents many aspects in common. Their experiences bring to light some of the imaginary institutions of society, which do not exist in reality, nor at the rational level, but are present in the social imaginary and assist in the practice and in the making of society and in the organization of human behavior itself. Thus, it is inserted into the organization of society in different ways, acting on the activity of individuals at different levels. The institutions of childhood, family, religiosity and education are present inside the books through representations, which bring the images and symbols that constitute the imaginary institutions. These representations bring the conceptions of a certain social group, in this case, the aristocratic and patriarchal group of the writers' experiences.

In this work, the representation of femininity is related to the representation of family and religiosity, since it is up to the family to guide the girls in moral terms and this question is quite highlighted by religion. Analyzing the representation of femininity is due to the fact that the main books of female writers bring female protagonists, who exhibit a rebellious and mischievous behavior, which is observed and guided by adults.
There is an expectation of adults regarding the behavior of girls and young women. They must know how to act and anticipate their movements, without departing from the moral path, showing themselves obedient and resigned. Governmentality has two aspects in these books: disciplinary and liberal. In the first case, the child's obedience is given through discipline, while in the second case the child is free to experience and experiment to learn to behave. These representations are exposed in layers in the publications, being able to indicate what is more appropriate or what should be rejected.

The representations of femininity are still valued and legitimized. For this reason, the narratives continue to be published and adapted to other languages, bringing to light these representations that remain until the 21st century in new clothing and updated vocabulary. Some adaptations for the Portuguese will also be analyzed, trying to identify longevity the works of these writers and their meaning in some epochs.