“Girlhood” as represented by Violet Parr

In simple terms, “girlhood” is a state or time of being a girl. This definition forces one to consider/question the markers that label someone as a “girl.” Throughout Jacqueline Reid-Walsh’s Keywords essay and throughout the in-class discussions, the following were considered as possible ways to classify someone as a “girl”: chronological age, biological sex, gender identification, a phase of psychological development, a state of mind, participation in “girl” culture, legal status, a state of youthful “innocence,” the absence of sexual activity, etc. In her essay, Reid-Walsh demonstrates that the definition and ideology of “girlhood” is quite complex and quite variable when considering cultural influence. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, the idea of “girlhood” is represented as a state of youthful innocence, while in Pixar’s The Incredibles 2, the idea of “girlhood” is represented as a stage of psychological development. 

In Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls is portrayed as stereotypical innocent young girl. Throughout the book, Wilder tells the story of her family moving West through her own perspective. As the family’s journey progresses, Laura notices that the racists acts of her family and white settlers, in general, are negatively affecting the Native people. Although she is not completely naive, she is still considered innocent based on the fact that she cannot fully grasp this concept. This is especially shown towards the end of the book when she is completely infatuated with the Native baby. 

In The Incredibles 2, Violet Parr, a major character, is portrayed as a stereotypical emotional adolescent girl—representing a time of psychological development. To give some background, Violet is the eldest child and only daughter of Bob and Helen Parr and the older sister of two younger brothers—Dash and Jack-Jack. As a child of supers, Violet also has her own unique powers. However, due to laws that restrict the use of the family’s powers, life between her parents and siblings is somewhat tense. Throughout the first film, Violet is depicted as a gloomy, uncertain, shy, socially withdrawn girl with self-esteem issues. However, throughout the second film, Violet is pushed beyond her comfort level and gains more confidence in who she is. By the end of the film, Violet develops a sense of maturity and appreciation for herself and each one of her family members and even a sense of humor. 

Like I mentioned when introducing the topic of “girlhood,” the ideology spreads far beyond the simple definition. Both Laura Ingalls and Violet Parr are just two examples of the numerous ways to describe “girlhood.” I think it important to notice that these stereotypical representations may do not hold true for all people who identify as “girl.”


4 thoughts on ““Girlhood” as represented by Violet Parr”

  1. Good connection! I noticed this too while watching Incredibles 2! I think a lot of times we forget that a term like girlhood can hold so many different dimensions and they definitely don’t all apply to everyone.

  2. I definitely agree with the depiction of Violet Parr going through a phase of psychological development. Her transformation from being the sad, gloomy adolescent to finding her own self through super powers and becoming confident was really inspiring to see. Violet’s powers – the force field and invisibility – also really portrayed what most adolescents are: defensive and wanting to blend in. In the first film, she was unable to use her powers to the full extent when she was not confident but was able to fully exercise her powers when she wanted to save her family. This progression shows us that girlhood is constantly developing and transforming, Violet Parr is a great example of that.

  3. First of all, I love both of the Incredibles and Violet is my favorite character! I completely agree with your analysis on Violet and how she “defines” or displays girlhood drastically changes, especially from the first movie! Go Violet!! However, I believe you could also bring Helen Parr into this analysis. I think it is amazing how in the second movie they choose her to be the main face on their campaign to bring supers back. I argue that this shows how women have gained power and how the definition of girlhood from when the first movie was made a long time ago until recently when the second one came out. I think it shows that we are moving in the right direction and that females: young girls and older women together are forming their own definition and standards of what they want their “girlhood” to be.

  4. This is a great comparison! The character development of Violet over both movies is really inspiring and reflective of society today as it is becoming more and more supportive of girls’ strength. What do you think spurred Violet’s gain of confidence? Were there any situations in either of the movies that empowered her? How did this affect the Parr family dynamic?

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