Letting Girls Learn, Letting Girls Rise: Commodifying Girlhoods in Humanitarian Campaigns

  • Karishma DesaiEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Children and Development book series (PSCD)


This chapter illustrates how girlhoods from the Global South are commodified by the affective regimes of humanitarian government that animate the Let Girls Learn and Girl Rising campaigns. I illustrate how urgency around girls’ education within the Let Girls Learn campaign is anchored in moral sentiments which are attached to former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama as she conveys the successes of her own ‘bootstraps narrative’ and epitomizes the anticipated guarantees of neoliberal girlhood. Ordinary U.S. citizens are affected by the feelings of concern and possibility generated by Michelle Obama, as well as by campaign promotional videos, and become positioned as “everyday activists.” The construction of everyday activists as global humanitarians who “let girls learn” and “let girls rise” occurs through the commodification of poor, racialized girls.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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