Teenage girls being awesome.
The standard stereotypes of teenage girls are pretty negative – vain, shallow, gossipy and cruel Mean Girls or simply sex objects. This matters because it is what girls and young women hear about themselves. So it’s really great to see teenage girls not just doing well, but being extraordinary. It’s a little dent in the stereotype, a little bit of inspiration. So here are a few I’ve notice in the news recently:
Firstly, the 18 year-old weightlifter Zoe Smith – not only has she won a bronze medal at Commonwealth Games, and broken the British clean and jerk record, but she has also responded amazingly to sexist trolls –
we don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.
Secondly, three American high school students, Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel and Elena Tsemberis, launched a petition on Change.org for at least one of the moderators in the American Presidential debates to be a woman. It worked – Candy Crowley is moderating the second presidential debate, and another woman, Martha Raddatz, is moderating the vice presidential debate.
Thirdly, Bashaer Othman has become the world’s youngest mayor at the age of 15. Impressive!
And lastly, the winner of the Google Science Fair Grand Prize, Brittany Wenger, who has developed a computer program to improve diagnosis of breast cancer. At the age of 17.