Being a Girl

When thinking about the word “girlhood,” certainly people have different viewpoints on what it means. In Keywords for Children’s Literature Jacqueline Reid-Walsh lists different factors that contribute to the meaning of the term, “girlhood.” Characteristics that relate to girlhood include chronological age, biological sex, being in a state of “youthful innocence,” and partcipating in “girl” culture. The Keywords essay in addition to these characteristics describes girlhood plainly as the “state of being a girl.” Although Meet Kirsten and the Microsoft 2020 Super Bowl Commercial relate to girlhood they differ on how they participate in girl culture. 

In Meet Kirsten, by Janet Shaw, being a girl is seen as being weaker or lesser than a boy. For example, when Kirsten and her family arrived at her Uncle’s house there were clear differences for what the girls and boys could do. Kirsten’s Aunt said that while the men were out looking at the barn, the women could talk inside. Clearly, there are different expectations placed upon women and girls that are not placed on men and boys. During this time, it was seen as improper for women to be associated with things like the outdoors, working, and hard labor. Women were expected to wear feminine clothes like dresses, and watch over the house and kids and to participate in girl culture in this way. This idea of girlhood is greatly contrasted with the Microsoft 2020 Super Bowl Commercial. This commercial featured Katie Sowers, the first female to coach in the Super Bowl. In the commercial, Katie states that she has loved football since she was young. Instead of wishing for a husband and a family to care for, like women often did around the time of Kirsten’s story, Katie dreamed of being a part of a real football team. Katie’s dream is not considered usual “girl” culture because football has been seen as a part of “men’s” culture. This commercial is important because it challenges the stereotype of girl culture and shows how girls cannot be defined solely by the expectations placed upon them. 

1 thought on “Being a Girl”

  1. I like this comparison because it connects being a girl and playing sports which is generally a very gendered topic. It has always irked me that some sports are for girls and others for boys, and even when both boys and girls teams play, who gets more attention? It is something that I am guilty of too, but I try in my everyday life to think about supporting the women’s sports teams at our school just as much as I root for the football team.

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