For female identified children, girlhood is the period that encompasses childhood and adolescence before womanhood. Cultures mark girlhood by chronological age, but because the social meanings, roles, and responsibilities associated with childhood are determined by region, culture, and history, girlhood is a social and historical construct. Moreover, the boundaries of girlhood shift even within a culture. Children experience biological development, but the gendered meanings and the idea of gender itself is steeped in culture and society. The study of girlhood examines the process of how girl children adapt to their culture’s understanding of girlhood and how they perform it. This entry examines the changing historical meanings of the concept of girlhood and the experiences of girls collectively. It begins by discussing girlhood as a construct.

Girlhood ...

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