INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY REFLECTION

Thank you to all of the brave individuals who submitted. Thank you to all of those who celebrated International Women’s Day, a day that commemorates the movement for women’s rights. Your voices are heard. All the love. 

My friends and I fall everywhere on the political spectrum, with some being extremely liberal, some extremely conservative, and with some just being extremely uninterested in politics in general. While we disagree, fight, and bicker to the point of almost hating each other on nearly every political issue, we all unanimously agree on one thing: being a girl is amazing. Nothing unites my group of friends quite like the opportunity to stand up for women. Nothing is as uniting and uplifting as girl power.

For me, being a girl has been the greatest blessing of my life. Being a girl provides the opportunity to be strong against a world that has told us that we are weak. We must take the term “girl,” which is so often used as an insult towards men, and make it strong. In moments of fear and uncertainty, nothing makes me feel stronger then when one of my friends looks me in the eye and says, “You’ve got this girl.” I know she means that I am tough. I am resilient. I am capable not in spite of the fact that I’m a girl, but because of it.

Women make up half of the people on this Earth. We must no longer be content with the notion that we are second class citizens, that we are weaker or less capable. We have seen women show up and succeed time and time again even in the face of extreme adversity. It is time we give them every opportunity that men have to succeed. We cannot accept that our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and all fellow women have to live with anything less than equality. We must fight. We must be strong. We are here and we’ve got this girls.

Ellie Taylor, 18

Mother Teresa. Ghandi. Martin Luther King Jr. Susan B. Anthony. These people all lived in an imperfect world, and died in an imperfect world. Does this make their contributions any less significant? Of course not! 

So, why is it so tempting to throw in the towel, and accept the injustices in the world as a given? We have to stop using “life isn’t fair” as a cop out, and start allowing it to inspire us.

When you were probably just a toddler, something went wrong. Your grandma got sick, your little brother colored all over your favorite doll, your tricycle rusted in the rain. Someone said it to you for the first time: “Life isn’t fair,” and since then, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times more- from sympathetic parents, impatient teachers, sarcastic siblings, and honest friends. Hearing something repeatedly doesn’t make it any easier to swallow (or easier to believe), but it’s true.

This world is unfair, and it’s painful to look at! There is a lot of sadness, and a disproportionate amount of it is placed on the shoulders of the most vulnerable. The girls and women. The religious, ethnic, and racial minorities. The poor. The sick, and the disabled.

Once you see all of the injustices of the world, you can never go back to how you were before. Everyone deals with this realization differently. Some people are furious, some remain in denial. Some lose faith, and others find it. You might feel helpless, or uncomfortable, or guilty. You might even feel betrayed by the world you want to believe exists. These reactions, and others, are all perfectly okay! What really matters is what you do next, how you channel that anger, hurt, or frustration. As Carrie Fisher said, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

If it weren’t for brave people who saw how unfair life is, and tried anyways, our lives would be much different. What if our society had never stopped seeing slavery as a “necessary evil”? What if the suffragettes said “You’re right, I shouldn’t be able to vote”? What if, what if, what if?

Humans are imperfect, and they will keep making mistakes. Humans are also resilient, creative, and passionate. They will continue to grow, to change, and to make things better.

There is a whole world out there, a beautiful, harsh, imperfect, unfair world, meant to be explored and loved by us as we learn, and stretch, and live our flawed, messy lives. So, the bottom line is this: care and go do something about it.

Camille Whisenant, 17

 Female power is a truly beautiful thing. Often times today, women can feel as if they are overlooked or under appreciated, which can be discouraging. However, once that is overcame, women can accomplish the unimaginable. There is nothing more beautiful than a women realizing her own strength, power, and capability. There is nothing more beautiful than a women coming to terms with the fact that she doesn’t need anyone except herself to find true happiness. There is nothing more beautiful than women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and backgrounds coming together to support and empower each other because after all, we are strength, we are power, and we are incredibly capable.

India Grace, 16

International Women’s Day came and passed, and it left me feeling inspired, encouraged, and a little bit braver. It also left me wondering why we don’t boost each other, motivate each other, and cheer each other on like this every single day. It seems silly that we save our kindness for an Instagram post on March 8th only. It’s challenging, but I hope you and I can try to use our girl power, our love, our smiles and high fives on every other day of the year too. On our sad days and grumpy days. On our stressed days and tired days. When we don’t feel like it the most, let’s lift both women and men around us. Let’s get some girl power.

On that special and empowering day, I reflected on the impactful women in my life. Their beautiful and unique qualities stood out extra bright. My grandmothers, their tender eyes and love for everyone around them. My mother, her wisdom and desire to serve. My sisters, their lively smiles and thoughtful words. Thinking of the joy they have brought in my life made me want to do the same for the others around me.

There is not enough time for frowns, mean words, resentment or negativity.

Girl Power shouldn’t be out of spite, we girls have nothing to prove. Girl power should be pure love, smiles, and cheers.

To make every day as positive as International Women’s Day, I know exactly what I need to do. I need to appreciate everyone around me, I need to serve, thank my parents, text encouraging words, smile in the hallways of school, write happy notes, say “ I LOVE YOU”, show support, and compliment my peers. That is what girl power is.

We should not have to look forward to one day out of the year to feel unity and love from the others around us. That should be every day! Monday through Sunday.

I recently interviewed a teacher at my school for my journalism class. She is suffering from a painful auto immune disease that affects her eyes. She is extremely sensitive to light, and feels the excruciating pain all day long. As I was asking her questions, my heart was softened and humbled, almost to the point of tears. Her genuine care and love for the people in her life keep her going. You can tell in her voice, she forgets herself throughout the day and serves others whole heartedly. Her students were at a loss of words when asked about the impact she has had on them. They expressed that they feel she will drop anything, at any time to help them. While I was walking down a quiet hall after the interview, it hit me. I needed to be like that. Nothing in my life should stop me from putting others before myself.

That teacher does not let the pain hold her back, it motivates her. That is girl power.

We all have our hard times, weaknesses, trials, sad days and heartaches. Don’t let those things take away your radiant smile, or your cheer, or your girl power!

Whoever is reading this: I love you. I love everything about you!! You have girl power! Or boy power! Life is happier when we love. Life would be happier if we rallied around one another each and every day as if it was International Women’s Day. So let’s do that, let’s use our girl power to spread love and cheer and happiness like the plague.

Go girls! Go boys! Go humans!

Lindie Bell, 17                                                      

Girls. I could write a long, heartwarming, sticky-sweet article about how each of you are beautiful in your own unique way. I could tell you all that you’re perfect no matter what anyone else says. I could sit here and try to convince you all that you’re beautiful. Or I could do what I am going to do, and tell you that no one cares.

When you’ve lived your life and you’re gone, your physical beauty will not be left behind. That alone will never change the world. It will never feed hungry children, befriend lonely souls, create art, or project music. Your physical beauty will never teach a lesson to another. It will never comfort a heart lost in a dark place. It will never move mountains, write stories, or lift and inspire the other thousands of people you will meet during your existence here.

Those things, can only be accomplished by you. Not the outside of you, but everything within. By your wickedly brilliant mind, your fiery spirit, your open heart, and your strong, loving soul. Everything about you comes from within.

I recently read this. “You have more to do than be weighed down by pretty or beautiful. You are a fiery heart and a wicked brain. Do not let your soul be defined by its shell.”

You are a soul. You are not a body. You are a soul that has a body. Do not forget that or confuse the two. Your soul and mind have so many important tasks to complete, beautiful people to love, and adventures to live. Never let your physical beauty get in the way of that.

Alright we’ve talked about bodies and souls and such. Now let’s talk about girls.

Aren’t we stereotyped as being catty, dishonest, and unloyal to one another? We are. Because a lot of times it is true. But we are also looked at as each other’s greatest role models, biggest supporters, and best friends.

Support each other. Stop the jealousy, stop the drama, stop the secret hate and backstabbing. We are all in this together. We’ve all cried over boys, we all feel things strongly, we all bleed for 7 days. We all get self conscious, we all get in fights with our moms, we all feel pretty sometimes, and ugly other times. We are all in this together. So lift each other, love each other. Empowered women, empower women.

We have come so far. We can vote, drive, work, speak our minds, dress however we’d like, eat whatever we’d like. And we owe it all to the amazing women that have come before us and paved the way, like Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Blackwell, Angela Davis, Malala Yousafzai, Sojourner Truth, and so many more.

Follow in these women’s footsteps. Keep believing, keep going, keep growing. Keep lifting one another, keep teaching, keep learning.

You are more than your shell, you are you. You are inside. Go give the world everything you have to offer, it needs you.

Ellie Isaraelsen, 17

Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed to have some of my most positives influences be women. My mother is someone I strive to be like. She is beautiful, powerful, and fearless. I’ve been so inspired to pass on what my mother has given to me, endless positivity and love. When I was young, I told my mom I wanted to be a veterinarian, she say, “Do it!”

The next year, I swore I’d be a firefighter, she said, “You’ll do great!”

And no, with art cluttering my walls and all my poems and articles stuffed in my computer, she still wants to read everyone one of them. What I’ve learned from her is that I can be whoever I want to be, and I can do whatever I want to do.

Though equality amongst genders, races, and sexes has still not been accomplished, the persistent effort of working to accomplish equality has not died down. These stands we are taking, these marks we are leaving are not going unnoticed. We are taking resistance, and refusing to erode in the wind. Being a woman on International Women’s Day has made me feel so empowered. Don’t let the label of inequality stop you from achieving anything you deem necessary in your legacy of life. You are capable, brave, and strong, and you can do anything. Go show the world that. Demand to be heard and never silence your own voice. We are the generation revolutionizing equality. Be the women you want to become, and encourage others to do the same.

Stay relentless my fellow feminists, activists, and allies.

Gaeble Jones, 17

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