remember, how the stars stole the night away

IMG_7410 Rowan Blanchard is a 14 year-old girl who I look up to infinitely. She’s an American actress mostly known for her role as Riley Matthew’s on Disney’s “Girl Meets World.” Rowan has also appeared in the movies “Back-up Plan,” “Little in Common,” “Spy Kids,” and “A World Away.” In her TV career, the actress appears in “Dance-a-lot Robot,” “Girl Meets W0rld,” “Best Friends Whenever,” and “Invisible Sister.” Even though she’s so young to be in the film industry, Rowan has bravely spoken out about feminism and LGBTQIA+ rights. She has recently come out as queer, stating that while she “use to feel only attraction towards boys,” she now feels more comfortable with her sexuality open to liking any gender. Rowan uses platforms like Twitter and Tumblr to speak on equality issues, but she has also spoken at the UN Women and US National Committee’s annual conference for the feminist campaign “He For She.”

IMG_7416Rowan is such an inspiration to me because in her I see all the young girls apart of the LGBTQIA+ society, being represented by this passionate young girl who has power to recognize the inequalities associated with women. It makes me think that if I were famous, as she is, I would be doing the same thing, hoping to be at least half as inspirational as she is. It’s necessary for woman who have a platform of power to recognize the problems in the industry and call people out on what they have done wrong. Rowan is a perfect example of this because she’s not intimidated by those older and more powerful than she is. She holds her ground and stands tall against them. Rowan can show young girls that they can stand up to the oppression and use their voices to support equality.

IMG_7434To all the girls out there reading this, don’t let men oppress you and put you down just because of your gender. Use people like Rowan Blanchard to stay strong and speak out about global issues. Don’t be afraid to get out there and let others hear your voice. I know Rowan would be proud. Also, don’t be afraid to be yourself, because even though there’s a world of prejudice out there, the young actress stood up and came out publicly and proudly.

Title from “September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire.

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she howls harder than the wind can blow

IMG_7382The second-wave feminist movement in the United States was a powerful one. Many strong women contributed to the movement, especially a woman named Betty Friedan. Betty was born on February 4th, 1921. She was an activist, author, and dedicated feminist. Betty wrote a book in 1963 called The Feminine Mystique, which is said to have sparked the feminist movement. Friedan accomplished many goals including women’s rights, like establishing the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966, as well as being the first president in it.  After stepping down from that position, Friedan was still not done. She organized the national Women’s Strike for Equality in 1970. She constantly advocated for the proposed “Equal Rights Amendment” that was passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

IMG_7391Betty remained in politics for the rest of her life and wrote six books. She continued to influence women of all ages nationwide with her spirit and her advocacy. She passed away on her 85th birthday in 2006. She left a large imprint of feminist beliefs in our history, one that will be acknowledged for centuries to come.

IMG_7374Betty Friedan is a very special woman to me. She makes me think about what I could do as an adolescent to help women’s rights, and feminism altogether. It’s important to be educated on problems like rape culture and misogyny the younger you are, so you can grow up being cautious of your actions. Also, we need to teach our children how to act and speak and know what it right and wrong. Betty Friedan helped with that because I think my generation is considerably more educated on topics like this than my parents, and her advocating for women’s rights was a step in that ladder of getting to where we are now. Young girls all over the world need to know when they are being treated wrong, and young boys need to know when they are doing the bad treatment. Girl negativity is a growing problem in our society, and remembering the roots of early feminism could help us understand that we all need to work together to gain equal treatment in the world.

Title from “Big Toe” by The Growlers.

you can bend but never break me

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Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl born in Mingora in 1997, changed how the world saw education when she was just 16. Malala had constantly been demonstrating her passion of going to school on a BBC blog under a fake name, hoping that she wouldn’t be caught by the strict authorities in her town. When the military strengthened their hold on the district of Swat, television and music were banned, and women were banned from going shopping. Malala’s father’s school was also going to be closed, and the two of them spoke out about the right for education. This caused them to be thrown death threats, and after winning Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize, the Taliban leaders had voted to kill her in a conference. In 2012, after a normal day of school, Malala and her friends were on the bus home. Suddenly, the bus stopped, and a masked person bearing a gun stepped on. He asked for Malala by name, and when she revealed herself, he shot her in the head. Two of her friends were injured as well. Fortunately, Malala survived the attack and was instantly moved to the Birmingham hospital in the UK.

IMG_7349 Malala was discharged from the hospital in January of 2013. By then, Pakistan as well as the rest of the world had recognized the attack and protested against the Taliban. A few weeks after the attack, millions of people had signed an education petition National Assembly quickly ratified Pakistan’s first Right To Free and Compulsory Education Bill. She then went on to establish the Malala fund and receive the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

IMG_7353I first learned about the full story of Malala when I went on a trip with my MAD Academy to the local movie theater. The documentary we watched was called “He Named Me Malala.” Other schools went as well, so the theater was full of high school students. I had known a little bit about her story, but not much. After watching her documentary, I was so inspired by her inner beauty and intelligence. She never once wished death or pain among the people that shot her, she only wished for them to be educated on peace. Malala truly has a heart of gold, and she continually shows that to the world day by day. She’s an advocate for girls’ right to education, and I admire her so much.

Title from “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy.

Family First

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This being my first blog post, I decided to do it on the most important influential women in my life. Family. I am so fond of all the girls in my life, especially these gals. My mom is my leading lady, and she’s had the biggest impact on me since I was born. She’s always encouraging me to try new things, even when I don’t want to (or especially then). She knows what’s best for me, and can judge my mood in within seconds. Stacy is a very perceptive lady, and radiates kindness and warmth. She’s my go-to influential woman.

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As for my sisters, I’m so proud of all of them individually. They’re all so gifted and intelligent, and we all get along swimmingly. Emma is the oldest, at 22. She went to UCLA and majored in Neuroscience in Pre-med. She now works at a healthcare consulting firm in San Francisco. I refer to her at the nerd of the family, but actually I’m envious of her type-A personality allowing her to work so hard. Allie is 20 years old, and she’s enrolled in New York University (NYU) currently. She’s majoring in Romance Languages, focusing on Spanish and Portuguese. I would say I resonate with Allie the most, because we are the most alike. Ever since I was little, we’ve been enjoying the same books, movies, and humor. Allie works in a kindergarten class part-time as a student teacher in New York City, and the kids absolutely adore her. The last sister is Sophie. She’s 18 and goes to SBHS with me. Sophie loves history, film, and the beach. You won’t see her anywhere without sunglasses. She just finished her applications for colleges like Duke, Dartmouth, Barnard, and USC.

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Although we are all extremely different, I couldn’t love these girls more. They encourage me to do things I would have never thought to do before, and they make me feel good about myself. Despite the common clothes fights, or bathroom struggles, we get along well, and I look up to each and every one of them. They all have accomplished so much, and will later in their lives too. I’m so lucky to have them in my life, and though it might be a lot of estrogen for my dad sometimes, we’re all best friends in the end.