I am establishing a precedence of empowerment for girls-developing-into-their-womanhood – at least that’s what I am calling it: Girls-Developing-Into-Women. This precedence for the year will focus on women artists using their creativity to build self-esteem. Like many others, my own self-esteem has developed over the years through personal and public creative explorations that impassioned me (i.e. knitting, crocheting, performing, writing, traveling, teaching, hiking, cooking, and so much more).
I want to begin this year’s blog by looking at what the ALWAYS campaign #LikeAGirl is doing to empower and encourage girls to define their gender. Instead of writing about it, I believe the director, Lauren Greenfield explains it best in the following video. She talks about why this project is so important. One of my favorite lines in the video is,
“Confidence means being able to find your own power that gives you some stability and just allows you to follow your own path in the way where you can express yourself.”
This next video (below) moved me. When I was younger, my father started me out on used men’s golf clubs, and then a few years later bought me a set of women’s golf clubs. I took lessons and accompanied him on the golf course as a teenager. Although I tapered off and played golf less and less as I developed my own interests, this story of Zoe (14 years old) touches me, because she takes us (the viewers) on a journey through other people’s perceptions of her as a female golfer. However, I am reminded that she is not just a female golfer; she is simply a golfer. Moreover, she is a golfer that beat her peer (who happens to be male) at the game of golf. As a person who is quite familiar with the game, I can proudly say, “When you are good, you are good” no matter your gender. We cannot lessen ourselves to make others feel secure. I believe we are required to walk out our very best selves. THAT is building self-esteem.
In researching information that speaks to how young women perceive their abilities and physical appearance in the 21st century, I often consider a number of variables (i.e. the sample size, location, race, age, etc). However, I am realizing that statistics cannot always speak to one’s personal experience and what has led them to low self-esteem or why they view themselves in a certain manner.
It only takes one story to jolt an awakening. This is why I like the actual video for the campaign #LikeAGirl. Indeed I was annoyed watching it because I have witnessed what is shared, and although my own experiences as a teenager looked nothing like what I saw in the video, oh, how true these stories are! If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be having these discussions, performing poems about self-identity, or making documentaries to combat sexism, right?
Changes are being made everyday, and I believe the efforts occur because of people like Lauren Greenfield and the girls and young women in these videos. That is art unfolding and sending a message at its greatest esteem – one story at a time.
Throughout this year I hope to share women artists’ stories about how they use their crafts to build the female self-esteem. Finally, here’s to #LikeAGirl and its dedication to developing and empowering young women!
About the Contributing Writer:
Traci Currie is a Communication and Visual Arts lecturer at University of Michigan-Flint, as well as a knit-crochet artist, writer, and spoken word performer. She has been a part of the art world for over 15 years as an art gallery board member; spoken word series organizer; performer, nationally and internationally; and published poet. She believes The PRC will help young women reach their highest potential. “This organization is about empowering women to take ownership of their lives, claim their identities and be the positive change they wish to see in the world they live.” Read her latest posts.