University of Wisconsin–Madison

GIRLHOOD

Both sources, the “Childhood” essay and the new Netflix series “You” focus on the keyword “childhood” which shows how the definition of childhood can be hard to explain because it changes depending on time, place, and culture.

In the keyword essay “Childhood,” it states how “these accounts stress the complicated relations, and often glaring contradictions, between any society’s idea of childhood and the lived experience of actual children.” (Sanchez-Eppler) This is so important because it highlights how the definition is hard to define. What one thinks childhood could be is different depending on where you are in the world and who you are. Some children have a life free of worry and can play pretend all day long, while others have to grow up in a fraction of that time.

Some children are stripped of their childhood because they are exposed to things that make them have to grow up way faster than expected. In the ten episode Netflix series “You,” a little boy named Paco has to experience his mother get abused every day by her boyfriend while Paco sits outside the apartment door trying hard not to hear the screaming. Despite him being a “child” in society’s terms, he does not have the childhood that most kids get. He immerses himself in books to drown out the noise and uses it to escape from reality. Sitting in a dark lit hallway every night scared to go inside is not the kind of childhood society accounts for when making qualifications about what “makes a child.” Therefore the word childhood is so hard to have one definitive answer. Overall, I think what Sanchez-Eppler was trying to emphasize about childhood being dependent on how one was raised is prominent in “You.” These parallels build off each other to make both cases strong examples of the ambiguous definition of what a child is.

2 thoughts on “GIRLHOOD”

  1. Claire,
    I also watch the Netflix series “You” and found I often pitied Paco for the dramatic experiences he endured and witnessed as a child. As you stated before, this really highlights how the term “childhood” can evoke different memories and emotions depending on who you are speaking to, or about. It also emphasizes the contradictions between what society perceives “childhood” to entail and what some children actually experience.

  2. Hi Claire,
    I have watched two episodes of the Netflix show “You”. After reading your post, I got to know what happened to Paco when he was a child, which explains his weird action and character. I definitely agree with you that childhood has various definitions due to individual differences. Accordingly, the experiences and memories of childhood can lead to different developmental path along their rest of life.

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