Girlhood

The Keywords for Children’s Literature writings on “Girlhood” by Jacqueline Reid-Walsh’s gives an in depth look at the different meanings to the word “girlhood”. On one hand, girlhood can refer to the cultural aspects of being a girl and the constructs around that culture. On another side, girlhood can simply address age, maturity levels, and cerebral advancement. Overall, it is a term that has been widely discussed for its definitive meaning, only to have people side with one of the two sides above, or somewhere in between. After reading Mountain Wolf Woman: A Ho-Chunk Girlhood by Diane Young Holliday, there are multiple cases where “girlhood” surfaces as one of the major topics. It becomes clear that in Ho-Chunk culture girls are expected to complete daily tasks that vary greatly from that of men. Girls are responsible for gathering food and later preparing and cooking meals, while boys are being trained to hunt and deal with more physically tasking jobs. “Girlhood” is seen more specifically when the brother of the mountain wolf woman is responsible for who she is or isn’t allowed to marry. Thinking back to my childhood, the Aladdin movie and the presence of arranged marriage culture connects to the same ideas of “girlhood” presented in Mountain Wolf Woman: A Ho-Chunk Girlhood. In Aladdin, princess Jasmine is arranged by her parents to marry a man, despite what she thinks of him. Eventually, she does break her “girlhood” in a sense and chooses to marry the man she truly loves, Aladdin. This parallels directly to the Mountain Wolf Woman, who’s brother has the power to choose her spouse for life. Moreover, this is just one example of how the ideas of “girlhood”, more specifically arranged marriage are present in today’s society. While this example is tied to an animated film, it is still a reflection of some Indian cultures that include arrange marriages as part of “girlhood” today.

2 thoughts on “Girlhood”

  1. Diego,

    I was too young when I saw most Disney princess movies to see the motifs of girlhood. However, I have seen frozen in later years and love that it is about Anna and Elsa running a kingdom without needing men. This movie was huge for women and should be an inspiration to all girls growing up. Even though there are males romance roles in the movie girl power is championed.

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