Recently, I bought a book aimed at young girls which contains 100 stories about influential, intelligent and inspiring women. Why should I care about that? you might wonder. Well, I’m about to tell you why this book is one of the most wholesome and important ones I have ever read, and I wanted all of you to know about its existance.
Representation is a fairly relevant topic nowadays. There are hundreds of articles about the representation of different religions, genders, sexualities and cultures circulating in popular media, and rightfully so. The representation of women towards young girls is one of the matters most often talked about. When growing up, young girls are often confronted with a very stereotypical characterisation of women: a (preferably white) princess, who is either lost, confused, captured, kidnapped, helpless, or all of the above, who needs a handsome (preferably white) prince to save her ass. From a very young and vulnerable age, girls are taught that they need men to be okay. They are taught that they need to be with a guy in order to live a purposeful life. When they’re a little older and superheroes and villains come their way, they are taught that only men can save the day, and that women are the reward for doing so. Older yet, the abundance of romcom movies and young adult novels teaches them that they need to stick with a guy because even though he doesn’t treat them properly, he can change and all will be okay in the end.
Popular media manipulates the ideas of young girls regarding their position in society in such a way that they sincerely believe that they need to act like “girly” girls in order to be normal. They need to constantly be in love, they cannot be interested in science or technology, they need to stay silent, they need to get good grades, they need to play with dolls, they need to, they need to. But as always, times are changing. More and more people’s attention is drawn to how girls are raised to (possibly subconciously) feel inferior to men, and more and more people are starting to talk about how this is not okay. This book is the first in-your-face living proof of that. It takes the patriarchal society by its neck and crushes it right then and there. It is filled with the stories of a hundred women: from scientist to authors, from archaelogists and paleontologists to activists – there’s even a pirate or two. Besides that, women from all walks of life are covered: from Islam to Christianity, from Africa to Asia to Europe, from lesbian to transsexual, from women who lived centuries ago to girls younger than me. It does not talk about how they met a prince who saved the day, fell in love and lived happily ever after – it talks about their accomplishments and their life, and it tells real stories.
I may be nearly twenty years old, and this book may be aimed at really young girls, but it is one which I will reread often and fondly. This is what the world needs. We are the generation of change, and nothing can stop us. We can make a difference, and we should not hold back for anyone.
- L. Parole