This year on American Idol, fifteen-year old contestant, Jeneve Rose Mitchell describes her unique upbringing. Jeneve Mitchell’s “girlhood” is shown as unusual of this time, however her “girlhood” is vey similar to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “girlhood” which we read about in Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Widler. From milking cows, taking care of the family farm, and making her own music, Jeneve has lived a childhood much like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Jeneve lives “off the grid” in the Crawford, Colorado — 6 miles away from the nearest town. Living with no electricity required Jeneve to look for alternative activities that children living in the 21st century typically do not participate in. However, these household activities were much like the ones Laura participated in while growing up.
When looking at the Keywords passage “Girlhood” in Keywords for Children’s Literature by Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, we can compare and contrast Jeneve Rose Mitchell’s girlhood to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s girlhood. Laura Ingall Wilder’s girlhood was typical for girls of her time. However, Jeneve is experiencing a very similar girlhood which happens to be very atypical for the 21st century. When looking at Jacqueline Reid-Walsh’s definition of “girlhood”, she is questioning “who is excluded from “girlhood”?.” She is also looking at how girlhoods’ differ depending on race, culture, and time (Reid-Walsh 92). Laura Ingalls Wilder’s girlhood was very common of white settlers, while Jeneve Mitchell’s girlhood is uncommon of her culture and this time period. Living in the 21st century, girls are using technology more than ever, they are also attending various practices and lessons with children from their towns. Jeneve does not have any technology to play with. Living so far away from town restricts her from joining any teams or taking music lessons — it also isolates her from her friends and school. When looking at popular culture as an aspect of girlhood, would Jeneve contradict today’s definition of “girlhood”? How does Jeneve’s unique upbringing improve and interfere with the experiences of her “girlhood”?