I knew I wanted to write a post celebrating International Day of the Girl, but I wasn’t sure what exactly to write about. Looking for inspiration, I typed “famous girls” into Google, and this is what I saw:
Why are we constantly sexualizing women? Why do we determine the worth of girls, from their youth through adulthood, based on their appearance?
When girls are born, they’re put in cute pink dresses and given Barbie dolls with disproportionately large breasts and unnaturally straight, long hair to “play” with. If they enjoy being in nature, playing sports, or racing toy cars, we call them “tomboys” (implying at that young age that they’re losing something valuable and feminine). We make puberty, the time when they become physically able to reproduce, a huge moment in most girls’ lives (calling them adults, paying attention to their schools’ dress codes, allowing their focus on academics to drop in many countries).
And then, when we look to find girls and women in our lives and on the news to be role models, we struggle. When people talk about Michelle Obama, they talk about her arms. When people talk about Cynthia Nixon, they talk about her sexuality. When people talk about Melinda Gates, they talk about her husband.
Here are some famous girls we should be celebrating for their grit and tenacity.
Helping the water crisis in Flint.
Climate change activist.
Trans rights activist.
Our challenge for you, to celebrate International Day of the Girl, is to go out of your way today to talk positively about a young woman today without mentioning or referencing her appearance or sexuality at all. Who you talk about can be your daughter, your neighbor, or your best friend — anybody at all you know well enough to describe slightly. Whoever it is, I can guarantee that they deserve you celebrating their personality, their accomplishments, their intelligence, and their creativity. And whoever you talk to will have, unlike the results of my Google search, another reason to think of a young woman as a full person.
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