Pippi Longstocking is one of the best children’s book series ever written- it has been translated into over 50 languages, and has sold millions of copies. It’s the story of a young girl who went on adventures, and casually defied cultural norms. Pippi did not just have fun adventures, and do things that children always wish they could do (drink unlimited soda, and run into public squares without adult supervision), she was quite the role model. Written during a critical point in the women’s movement, the Pippi Longstocking books became a go-to for a lot of Swedish women. The books broke a lot of existing stereotypes about “good girls” (who usually grow up to be “good women”). Pippi was strong, confident, uninhibited, stood up for the poor and downtrodden, and questioned authority and society. She’s directly contrasted with Annika, her prim-and-proper friend, one who was considered the ‘ideal girl’. Of course, it is this contrast that makes Pippi stand out.
Astrid Lindgren, the author of the Pippi Longstocking books, did not really start writing these books with some feminist agenda. She was just noting down the stories she was telling her own daughter. But, Pippi Longstocking still remains a feminist icon, especially for young girls. It has been proven that lessons that children learn during their formative years have a huge impact on what they grow up to be- thereby increasing the importance of feminist representation in children’s books and novels. Pippi reminds young girls to be what they want to be- instead of society’s impression of what a girl should be. We certainly need more role models like her.