Growing up, I constantly heard the term “Girl Power”. I was fueled by the idea that I, as a girl, could accomplish anything I wanted. A naive but determined child, I was hopeful for my future and armed with my pink flowery notebook and inspirational quotes from women like Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift. It was only later that I learned why I received so much encouragement: an attempt to remedy the poisons of sexism and misogyny that have consistently polluted our society.
From scientific discoveries, to politics, and everything in between, women have been historically underrepresented in achievements of all kinds. Today, young girls like myself are being pushed to succeed in order to reconcile the gender inequality of the past. Although empowering, this message has come at the cost of women and girls being mistreated and discriminated against for centuries. This bittersweet realisation was eye-opening for me. As a sheltered kid, oblivious to the harsh realities of life, to be quite honest, I was disappointed. I was under the impression, after being spoon-fed years of corporate performative activism, that girls were special and meant to inspire change in the world but this core belief faltered when I was informed about the wage gap, the lack of worldwide education for girls, arranged marriages for adolescents, and gender discrimination in my favourite things like sports. Why didn’t everyone feel the same way as me?
Maturity has allowed me the opportunity to reflect on this subject; how my views on feminism have changed with age. In elementary school it was my insistence to play soccer at recess with the boys that most represented my fight for equality, and today I help the push for gender representation wherever possible. In Canada we are fortunate to live in a place with laws to ensure equality and many individuals and organizations who believe in a world of equal opportunity. Despite this, it’s crucial to be conscious of the messages being shown to the younger generation. It’s our responsibility to teach them the true history while encouraging a different future, not to pretend there was no ugly past.