Girlhood

Keywords for Children’s Literature by Jacqueline Reid-Walsh discusses a popular term, “girlhood.” Many factors contribute to the term girlhood such as age, geography, culture, and race. The meaning can vary depending on the perception of a specific individual. Some may view girlhood as the state of being a girl, collectively. A specific aspect of girlhood I found interesting was to be a virgin. A virgin is described as “not yet touched, used, or exploited”, it is meant to describe a person who has never had sexual intercourse.

A popular TV show, Jane the Virgin, explores both the concept of sex and girlhood linked. Jane Gloriana Villanueva was 10 years old when her grandmother described virginity to her as a flower. Once virginity was taken away, the flower was destroyed and never able to be put back together again. It was portrayed as a symbol of youthfulness in a sense. Both in what we looked at in class as well as the popular TV show, virginity can be seen as something that overtly describes girlhood. It can be viewed that once virginity gets taken away, it is the ultimate step out of girlhood and into being a woman. There is no going back after it is gone. The concept of virginity relating with girlhood has changed throughout time. Decades ago, “girls” entered womanhood by having sex at much earlier ages since they would get married off at young ages. Today, this concept varies as sex is seen as casual to some and serious to others. Girlhood can be lost at many varying ages as shown in the popular TV show and many times once virginity is lost… responsibilities can come with it.

2 thoughts on “Girlhood”

  1. I definitely agree that virginity seems to be tangled in the idea of “girlhood”. The ownership over a young girl’s virginity is complex…does her virginity “get taken away” or does she “lose it”? It’s interesting how few words can change a young girl’s autonomy over her entrance into womanhood.

  2. This is really interesting! I think virginity goes hand-in-hand with innocence and innocence goes hand-in-hand with childhood. Is a person’s virginity taken from them or lost? If you think about it, innocence can be taken or lost from a child in a similar way. Then is their childhood lost too? Adults constantly shield children from anything bad in the world because they believe that if they are exposed to bad, their innocence will go away. Virginity is very similar.

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