Girl power is a phrase we see everywhere these days. It’s in movie slogans, ad campaigns for clothing brands, and in hashtags on instagram posts. It’s encouraging to see so many people embrace the message of girl power, but what does it really mean? Is it wearing a certain clothing brand? Is it female superheroes? Is it a cute picture on instagram? What is girl power?
As girls we are often led to believe that we have to be competitive and threatened by the other girls around us. After all, there are only so many spots available to women and we have to fight for them. As true as this might feel, we cannot forget that one of the most powerful things we can do as feminists is be kind to one another! Girls supporting girls can lead to amazing things.
It is important that we remember that girl power means standing up for one another and also standing up for the people who don’t have the same privileges we do. Invite the new kid to sit next to you in class, speak up if you see someone being bullied, if you notice someone sitting alone at lunch you can join them! You can even find small ways to be kind by just saying hi to someone who seems lonely or encouraging your friends to try out for the play. One of the most powerful things you can do is be kind.
When I was in 9th grade, my favorite subject was Algebra. I loved the formulas and problem solving and the way it just made sense to me. Before this, I had always thought of myself as bad at math. I thought it was something girls just weren’t good at so in my middle school math classes, I never raised my hand in class or volunteered to do a problem on the board. But when I got to my 9th grade Algebra class everything changed. I was encouraged to try new things and to speak up when I knew the answer. I realized that I loved it, and so I decided to work hard at it and give it my all. At the end of the year I was shocked to receive the award for the highest math score in the whole 9th grade.
It’s important to work hard, especially at the things you love, because you never know where it could take you. Of course it’s important to do well in school, but it’s also important to dedicate your energy to your other passions as well. Whether it’s art, music, sports, stem, writing, the outdoors, find something that you love and work hard at it. The world changes for the better whenever a girl chases her dreams. Don’t let anything stop you from working hard in pursuit of your passion. You never know where it might take you.
When I was in the 6th grade I started to notice things about my body that I didn’t like. I was darker skinned than most of my classmates. I had thick dark hair. My cheeks were chubby. I had a big birthmark on my knee. When summer time came I started worrying about wearing a bathing suit and shorts, embarrassed by the way I looked. I wish I had told somebody how I felt, or had seen someone who looked like me on TV to help me feel more comfortable about my appearance. I didn’t have those things at the time, but I had something that every girl already has: courage.
Even though I was only 11 years old, I knew that I didn’t want to let my insecurities stop me from having fun at the pool. So I put on my bathing suit anyway. I didn’t always feel great, and it didn’t get rid of all my negative feelings I had about my body, but I didn’t let my fear stop me from having a great summer.
Girl power means recognizing that you already have so much courage inside you. You don’t have to look or act like Wonder Woman to be courageous. Courage means doing the things you want to do even if you feel a little scared.
Girls are powerful.
You were born with power that you can never lose. Remember that truth in everything you do, and remind all the girls in your lives how powerful they are too. Girl power means that you can be whoever you want to be, and that you are good and strong just the way you are.
What does girl power mean to you?
Share your message of support to girls who want to live their dreams!
Elizabeth Endara is a writer, advocate, doula, educator and cat mom based in NYC. She loves Great British Bake-Off, Eastern Europe, snug coffee shops and writing about her feelings. She is the co-founder of a feminist blog called Release the Women, and she is excited to be working with liveyourdream.org helping to curate and tell stories that demonstrate the power of women!