Understanding “Girlhood”

When looking through the snapchat magazines that pop up I chose to try and find an article of pop culture referring to one of the key words essays. It is interesting to see how many of the keywords mentioned throughout this entire course are shown throughout many different articles. One that stood out to me was called, “Braless Paris Jackson flashes more than expected in a skimpy vest as she continues to film new project.” This particular article was mentioning what Paris Jackson’s does in her life while also having a filming career. This particular article noted that after filming she put on more of a comfortable outfit explaining that she was wearing, “a plain pink vest and coral shorts… complete with UGG boots.” This article does not fully state that she is wearing a ridiculous outfit, however it does give the reader a sense that this magazine is criticizing her for looking a certain way while not at work. It’s also interesting to note that after looking at the pictures given, her body is completely clothed. Thinking about this week’s reading, I think that I can associate this with the book A Kit Classic. Both the article and the book both represent the keyword girlhood because it shows how society has certain norms regarding how girls should think like and dress to others around them in public.

In Jacqueline Reid-Walsh’s keyword essay titled “Girlhood,” she states (pp. 95) girlhood is, “a vexed and elusive term harkening back to the two very different root meanings of the word: dress or apparel and small child.  Reading this essay, it became apparent that society believes that girls are to appear in certain dress or be a certain way. This may mean that society wants girls to be in dresses and always in a put together outfit even if they are on a day off of work. Additionally, people may also believe that with looking a certain way girls should act in a proper manner. For example, this may mean that all girls must like pink and always dress in nice looking clothes. In the book Kit, the reader gets a glimpse of how her personality is not in the stereotypical form of “girlhood.” She is not into the pink and frilliness especially in the way her room was decorated by her mother. In the book kit explains, “she felt out of place in the frilly room as the typewriter looked” (pp. 4). Kit is like Paris Jackson in a way because they both are going out of normal girlhood examples of being a girl. Kit does not want the girlhood colors of pink, and Paris does not dress like how society sees people of girlhood to dress like.

Overall there are connections with the article and Kit because they have similar experiences with girlhood. Both have examples where society makes a person dress or like certain things that may be associated to girlhood. In Paris Jackson’s case it was really interesting to see that they were criticizing her for not looking like she was going to a red carpet event. The article tells the reader that she is wearing revealing clothing because they have a particular image of Paris Jackson where she needs to always be dressed like a girl should be. Also in Kits example, the reader is able to see that the norms of society are put on how girlhood should be and how girls are supposed to act. Reading this article and comparing it to class really made me think that there are people in the world that will judge you because of anything that you do and as long as you are happy, others opinions and judgements do not matter whether you are following your “girlhood” or not.



Works Cited

Keywords essay: Jacquelin Reid- Walsh “Girlhood” pg. 92-95

Tripp, V. (2014). American girl: Beforever: Kit 1934 (Vol. 1). Middleton, WI: American Girl.


2 thoughts on “Understanding “Girlhood””

  1. I also connected this post to our keyword of “gender” and how gender can be defined by apparel. Almost all snap chat stories have to do with the dress of a person rather than their accomplishments, therefore defining them by an outfit rather than their intelligence. I find this rather demeaning and agree with all your points being made here.

  2. I agree with this! One thing I have noticed, specifically with DailyMail on Snapchat is that most of their articles are on what various women are wearing, scandalous or not. This frustrates me because it limits that woman’s story and purpose as seen by society. One thing I appreciate about this class is that the stories go so much deeper into girlhood and give a purpose, not criticism, behind what female characters are wearing if their outfits are even mentioned.

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