It is no secret that girls face oppression in even today’s society. Yes, we have come very far, some may argue that we have come far enough. There are people that will tell us to “let it go” or “move on” or “stop dredging up old issues”. To these people, I would like to say one thing.
Our youth are struggling. Self-esteem is becoming an ever more important issue in young girls. Each year our youth are exposed to more damaging information through media. When I was in grade six, I still thought boys were kind of gross, I had a walkman with three CDs, I still wore fuzzy GAP sweaters with matching velour sweatpants. When I was in my final years of high school, I worked with grade six girls during their health class, trying a self-created program to work on self-esteem. What I saw and learned was that this issue is bigger than I imagined, and it’s growing exponentially.
Grade six girls now know much more than I did. The see more, hear more, talk about more with their friends. The problem is that they are not LEARNING more. The information they are receiving form their friends, the media, and their constant communication with each other, is not factual or helpful information. It is put downs, and size-shaming and calorie counting. It is sex myths and expectations and pressure. It is self-esteem shattering. It is all wrong.
How can they know if they are never taught? I never understood why the school system does not include these kind of lessons in their health classes. We do not need to do crossword puzzles and labelled diagrams of the female body (we have one, we know what’s down there). What we need are programs to shatter the status quo. To show our young girls what they are capable of: anything.
To those who say we’ve already reached that:
Check out this Always video from their #LikeAGirl campaign showing how even something as simple as emojis sets girls into stereotypes.
Our youth are changing.
It’s time the world changed too.
Break your glass ceiling,