University of Wisconsin–Madison

Girlhood

The Keyword Essay focusing on “Girlhood,” allows the reader to understand the word from a few different points of view as well as understanding its meaning through history. The essay discusses many meanings to the word, however the idea of girlhood being defined through dolls can be represented through the reading “Kirsten Learns a Lesson,” in their play. Through a historical lens, the word girlhood has a deep connection to material items including dresses and dolls. The essay discusses that the word “girl” comes from an old english word meaning dress, promoting the idea that girls are expected to play with dolls and learn their societal roles from this play. These dolls then are supposed to be used to teach young girls the gender roles of housekeeping, cleaning, and taking care of clothing. This can be compared to the class reading, “Kirsten Learns a Lesson,” where dolls are used for similar purposes. As the girls play with furniture and imagine being the keepers of their future houses, they keep the girls neat and tidy and are very focused on the image of everything.

Later the essay talks about the word “Girlhood,” changing throughout time in western countries which I think is important to address. The essay addresses that the word girlhood and what it includes is changing to give girls in literature new careers and more action inviting roles, which can be compared to in this Nike ad campaign. These changing concepts of girlhood and what it could possibly look like allows girls to dream differently, rather than limiting their futures to household chores we see a shift in more women empowerment. This nike campaign first discusses what the old stereotype definition of a girl is, and then goes into the more action roles girls can have if they choose to. I love this ad because it is all sung by a young girl who is supposed to be sweet and innocent, and then changes her song midway to be something not as appealing. I appreciate that the keyword essay addresses the changing definition of the word girlhood as western countries move towards a more progressive society.

2 thoughts on “Girlhood”

  1. Sarah,
    This Nike campaign was a great example that displayed the ambiguous and continually changing term, “girlhood.” Here we can see how at the beginning the young girl associates girlhood with some of the preconceived notions surrounding the term in general to then shifting her understanding of girlhood to mean something more powerful and influential. Although the keywords essay highlights the term’s modifications throughout history, in this short clip, we were able to see how one girl’s perception of girlhood changed in just a matter of minutes.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this blog. I thought it was interesting to see this Nike ad campaign because it really does show how much the idea of girlhood changed and it shows that it can continue to change and grow. This gives me hope that girls can continue to be more independent and show thier voice and strength.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar