Womanhood is the period in a female's life after she has passed through childhood and adolescence, generally around the age 18. Puberty generally begins at about age 10, followed by menarche at age 12 to 13. Many cultures have rites of passage to symbolize a girl's coming of age, such as confirmation in some branches of Christianity, Bat Mitzvah in Judaism, or even just the custom of a special celebration for a certain birthday (generally between 12 and 21), like the Quinceañera of Latin America.
Aphrodite, a classical image of youthful female beauty in Western art. The word woman can be used generally, to mean any female human, or specifically, to mean an adult female human as contrasted with girl. The word girl originally meant "young person of either sex" in English; it was only around the beginning of the 16th century that it came to mean specifically a female child. The term girl is sometimes used colloquially to refer to a young or unmarried woman; however, during the early 1970s feminists challenged such use because the use of the word to refer to a fully-grown woman may cause offense. In particular, previously common terms such as office girl are no longer widely used.
©2012 Henry Epps (P)2013 Henry Epps