Act #169: Choose the messages you wish to receive.
Dear 12-year-old Girls,
Today we give you permission not to accept what is being marketed to you. No matter how glittery the packaging, how flawless the messenger - ask yourself, is that who you want to become? Glittery and flawless? This is not some underhanded effort to radicalize you into future feminists, because truly, you already are one deep down inside. Yes, it's true, you were born with the same intellect, drive, and power that your male counterparts have - and if you haven't already discovered this to be true, it's probably not your fault. You are working against a powerful force that reduces you every day to a boy-crazy, competitive, drama-ridden aspiring teen singer, her dim-witted girlfriend, her self-obssessed fame-seeking sister, or her sarcastic, mean-girl frenemy. You are being told that if you don't fit neatly into one of those categories, you are a mere outcast who won't get invited to the parties, who won't get the spotlight, and who won't get the boy. Not to mention the fact that it's OK if you don't even want the boy. You are being told every day that beauty comes only in size 2, long shiny straight hair, pale, light skin tones, and tight-fitting mini skirts. You are being told that your greatest achievement is whether or not you can attract attention from a guy using every ounce of that painfully narrow definition of beauty.
Twelve-year old girls, you should know, that to those behind this manipulative force, you are a mere statistic, a target audience, "12-year old tweens". Someone that is being profited from, marketed to, so systematically that there are entire staffs devoted to figuring out how to break down your inner feminist, so that you may be influenced to buy accompanying soundtracks, beauty products, toys, and video games perpetuating over and over again, the notion that you will never be good enough until you become like those images staring back at you on the television set, on your laptop screen, and on your iPad.
Twelve-year old girls, today we give you permission to believe that you are perfect just the way you are. Even if your dress size is 10 sizes more than the girls on the screen. Even if you have kinky hair. Even if you can't sing. Even if a boy never gave you butterflies in your stomach. We give you permission to rise above that which is being preached to you day in, day out. To break the social conforms of shallow, competitive, female relationships, and to invest in true friendships based on trust, support, and kindness.
Twelve year old girls, today, we give you permission to be twelve. To trust in your inner feminist voice that is telling you that you are worthy. That you are indeed beautiful. That you are enough.
All the former 12-year old girls who finally learned to love themselves.