By De’Liza Galimidi
Do you know what’s awesome? Young feminism.
No longer are the days where feminism is just held on the shoulders of the likes of Gloria Steinem, but on the shoulders of teenage girls — teens that are more than just the plastic cutouts found in Cosmopolitan magazines and the pink frilly section. Now is the new age of young feminism that the world has so desperately been waiting for!
Malala Yousafzai, age 16, on July 12th, gave a compelling speech to the UN. Yousafzai — who was shot in the head and neck for advocating that girls go to schools — is leading the way to a brighter, more educated world. Yousafzai’s noble action by refusing to be silenced, and demanding an education for not only herself but for every girl in the world was so powerful, that the Taliban attempted to silence her — not even bullets can do that. Her voice has taken on a new force, like a reckless wave, it has come over us and has reminded us of the power that unfortunately often gets forgotten, a power that is known like no other, the power of a girl.
“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died,” Yousafzai said in her speech. “Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”
Indeed. After listening to her speech I could not help but think this continuous thought: Everyday is Malala Day. And in her honor I have dedicated a post to the youth that are using words and courage to change the course of our future.
A few days before the UN speech, I was scrolling down my Twitter feed and stumbled upon this feature in Forbes talking about 15 year-old, literary goddess Adora Svitak. This literary prodigy’s exploration of the written word has led her to massive accomplishments such as being one of the youngest people to ever grace the TED conference stage and more recently winning the chance to speak at the Women’s Media Center’s State of the Union.
What makes her extraordinary? She’s a young person that is redefining her reality. Sending a new message to the world, that you can be a teenager — especially a female — that is exceeding society’s expectations and welcoming a limitless path. She has shown that it is possible that with leadership and advocacy, you can be among the likes of our hero Gloria Steinem; her work has grabbed hold on to our hearts and has made the rest of the world believe that the future of feminism is going to thrive. With Svitak we are in good hands. Here is her speech at the Women’s Media Center’s State of the Union contest:
Another powerhouse is Rookie Magazine’s editor-in-chief Tavi Gevinson. At the age of 15 Gevinson founded Rookie, an online magazine that caters to the teenage girl. The written articles are composed by a team of young people that care about more than just dispelling the tips of how to lose 20 pounds in two days. Rookie offers the good stuff. The stories that are dedicated to tomboy style, real life issues, positive body image, and taking action.
Rookie does something magical, it creates a conversation. An exchange between these articles and the people that read them allows a new guided portal. No longer does a girl have to feel misunderstood, she can just go on to the site, scroll down the listed features and find a real person — a person that is just like them. Rookie does this so well by having such a diverse staff — Tyler Ford (former Glee Project Season 2 Contestant) has lent his voice and life experiences, sharing his story of being a transgender individual. Now honestly how many written pieces of work that cover transgenderism, especially in youth, have you seen that ring of positivity and guidance?
Are you fired up, yet? This is a call to arms!
I encourage you to see the work that these young people are doing and join them. Continue to keep putting your stamp on the world. A stamp that reads: We’re here and we’re taking action.
We are our future!