In celebration of International Day of the Girl we turn our blog over to guest blogger, Hannah F., to share her perspective on what it means to be a girl.
In my bustling city of multiple school districts, there are girls from almost every walk of life. These girls grow up knowing they are in a safe, friendly, community-oriented area where they can be confident in whatever career they choose to pursue.
From the moment our parents decide we are old enough to get dropped off at school instead of accompanied inside, we are promised that our town is safe. We are constantly reassured that there are adults we can run to if something goes wrong, numbers we can call if we feel unsafe, and precautions we can use to protect ourselves. We are guaranteed that we are safe, yet we still hear stories of girls going missing in white vans or being distracted by zip ties on car windows.
From the moment we step into elementary school, we are encouraged by our teachers that we can do whatever we put our minds to. We are repeatedly told that there is no such thing as a job that only the boys can have, and that we should be confident in our own abilities to create the life we want to live. We are pushed to be confident in our potential, yet we are still pressured to send demeaning photos to boys we like because they would “like us more if we did so.”
From the moment we find our best friends, we learn that other families are just as welcoming as our own, and that we should trust and look up to them. We are continually comforted that there are good people in the world, despite the violence and hatred that we witness in the world. We are consoled in that we have adults we can trust, yet we still rush to get inside our homes safely when we see a stranger heading our direction.
From the moment we’re old enough to be aware of our surroundings, we discover the kindness and openness that our neighbors and legislators are willing to offer our families. We are frequently reminded that we have ways to ask for help, confirming that we have people looking out for us if they are needed. We are promised the comfort and reassurance of our community, yet we still feel unsafe getting gas past sunset.
To be a girl in my hometown means to be encouraged to have confidence in whatever we do, but also to be consistently plagued by the unfortunate societal dangers that we feel everywhere we go. As women, we can recognize the societal dangers that are faced by girls of every age, and using the UN’s International Day of the Girl we can empower girls and women to stand up for themselves and ensure their success. In order to guarantee young girls’ success, we can’t ignore the unfair pressure that every young girl faces, even if they are promised safety and reassurance.