I often think about what little girls are influenced by. I ponder this, because I remark on how my upbringing and my experiences as a small child helped to form and establish how I feel, react, and process all the things that happen to me as an adult lady. Is it because I spent the majority of my childhood with senior citizens playing cards, doing crafts, and ‘gossiping’ that has shaped me into someone who can shoot the breeze with just about anyone, adapt to most craft styles, and facilitate a desire to have a social life and relationships that go beyond taking shots and fighting over boys? What kind of influence was it on my personality because I was overweight for most of my childhood? I know, as people often remark, that I’m overly kind, pretty attune to my sensitivity, and a fierce observer. Not fitting in (literally) as a child has made me more interesting as an adult, because the status-quo never suited me. In my opinion, I always had to think outside the box and dream up my spin on things, because simply most things didn’t agree with my height/bodyshape/personality etc. I don’t wait for something to become trendy to fall head first into it (come on crochet tissue box covers!), I don’t care if something is ‘cool’ (see any post on this blog haha 😉 ), and most of all I seek out and spend time with the things that bring me joy. Especially in my journey as a sober woman, I have never been more confident and in love with the identity I have.
Now, that seems like a statement of I’M THE BEST ADULT EVER, which is most certainly is not. Depending on who you ask my status an ‘adult’ is still pending most days. However, I had to reflect upon the morals, integrity, and respect that I posses and credit my own personal code after attending the M.I.A. concert last night at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago.
Now, do not get me wrong, when I looked around the venue there was a vast breadth of individuals – many with unique/interesting styles, all races, sexual orientations, and shapes/sizes. But, there was something wrong. As I looked at the younger women of the audience (~18-30), I saw nothing impressive. I saw giggly girls following each other around, dressed in ways that made me sad and embarrassed for them. They were mere clones of each other, wandering clones. I overheard empty conversations about Vine videos, if a boy was sexting another girl, gendered/physical name calling for concert maladies like bumping into each other, and worst – apathetic nothings. I’m not meaning this as a judgement, but more rather, as a concern. What is going on with these young women? What are their aspirations? Is it to be a size 0 and have boys sext them whilst they stand in a lycra leotard waiting for a political fugazi to perform at the same time having no individual opinion about the world? I surely hope not.
Is it purely a ‘growing up’ thing? A slow-to-mature issue? I’m hoping, because I am concerned. Where are the young girls who are fighting to be heard and pissed as hell they aren’t being heard properly? I didn’t see any young women like this last night, I only saw giggly girls. The more I am exposed to ‘youth culture’ and to what young women respond to and are expected to live up to the more I am sickened. Role models or not, the objectives of most young women these days revolve around gross self-confidence issues, in my opinion. When I see most young women, especially at bars/clubs, I can only feel disturbed. Where has the self-respect and confidence gone? Will it ever even form? Who will these giggly girls grow up to be? How will they benefit not only the female gender collectively, but the world?
I work with BRILLIANT women in my job – we joke about silly things and I teach them to knit and crochet on lunch breaks – but they are never missing that look of confidence. I know they have desires and dreams that inspire and make me want to be a better woman for this world too. What is missing outside academics? Why are little girls not dreaming up their educations or executive positions at fortune 500 companies? Why are little girls growing up to be giggly girls that hurl vicious words at each other over such shallow and vapid concerns?
Has it always been this way? I can’t say it enough. I’m worried about our world. Our social structures and compassion seem to be breaking down with each new app that is launched. I want women to be inspired to live to their potential. I want to see that brilliant confidence shine in every single little girl’s eyes.
Things need to change – they must. Where can we go and what can we do to begin?
But the basic starting point is to tell any little girls in your life that they matter. That they are brilliant. That they are worthy of everything.
Redefine the meaning of the traditional princess dreams for little girls. Make their dreams inspired by inspiring them to do great and awesome things.