Don’t be Afraid to Use Your Voice
For most of my life, I have been somewhat a quiet kid when it comes to speaking up. But over the years I have learned that it is one of the most important things when it comes to being female. It’s advice I received from my female role models and from my own experiences in school and from the outside world. Women should never let men push them around. Sometimes it can get you in trouble, but it’s important to stand up for yourself and speak up. Teachers and other adults your whole life will tell you that it is never okay to fight back, but when you’re a female being picked on by a male then you should fight back.
We shouldn’t let men interrupt us or try to take credit for our work. Men and boys are taught that what they say is very important or even more important than what we have to say. They are not always taught to listen. In elementary school even when I knew the correct answer to a question, I was hesitant to voice the answer, and when I did speak there were a few boys in my class who would talk over me. Don’t let them! What we have to say is just as valuable, important, and interesting as what any boy out there has to say. They’re not better or more intelligent and shouldn’t dominate a conversation. I am still working on this at age sixteen. Sometimes I get nervous to speak in class or it takes me a little time to put together my thoughts and it probably goes back to trying to speak in class and getting talked over by some boys. I sometimes even practice speaking without worrying about getting things right. I just speak. What we have to say is important.
About a year ago, I was working on a history project with another girl and boy. He decided he wanted to take over the whole project and not listen to us. I had a bunch of ideas on how to pull the whole project together, but he just kept rejecting any ideas that weren’t his. I took him to the side of the classroom and said if you want to get a good grade on this you are going to have to take everyone’s ideas into account. When I stood up for myself, I was able to contribute my ideas to the project and earn a ninety-seven.
Don’t worry about what you look like or what you’re wearing. As you get older, you will be under a lot of pressure to look and dress a certain way. Nobody can say WHO exactly makes these rules. Let’s just call it “society.” We can say it’s the media’s fault or our culture’s fault. Whoever is at fault doesn’t matter. What will happen as you get older is that you will start to spend more time on what you look like or worry about what your body looks like or obsess about what you wear. Some of this is normal when you become a teenager but be careful not to take it too seriously. Don’t let it eat up too much of your time because you could do so many things with that time like play sports, play with your dog, read a book, or hang out with your friends. It is a big waste of energy not only to think about what you look like but also to worry about what other people think of what you look like. So don’t stress about whether everybody notices your pimple or whether your jeans make your butt look big. Do you know who doesn’t spend too much time worrying about what they look like? Boys and men. That’s who.
And remember we have to stick up for ourselves. So speak up and don’t worry too much about what society expects of us as girls. In the words of Kamala Harris, our new Vice-President, “What I want young women and girls to know is: You are powerful and your voice matters. You’re going to walk into many rooms in your life and career where you may be the only one who looks like you or who has had the experiences you’ve had. But you remember that when you are in those rooms, you are not alone. We are all in that room with you applauding you on. Cheering your voice. And just so proud of you. So you use that voice and be strong.”