#DearMe – A letter to teenage Sue

Hi.

I know that people are harsh, but try and put what they say behind you. These people may think they are better than you at High School, but they aren’t. A lot of these people, who you cry over, won’t be a part of your life after School. Rather than waste your evenings crying over what these people say, spend you time with your actual friends, that actually like you. Some of those friends will live far away in the future, so make sure you spend as much time with them as you can.

Don’t make yourself feel bad for your body shape. You have never been stick thin, and that isn’t a bad thing. Every person is different, and no difference is better than another. You give up sports because you don’t like how you look, don’t do that. Keep playing football and rugby because you love it, don’t let the remarks of others stop you. Also, binge eating doesn’t stop what people say about you, and it always ends up making things feel worse.

Work hard. School becomes a miserable place, and it even puts you off reading, even though you have always loved reading. Pick classes you are interested in, and work on them. Don’t do  filler classes just so that you are in classes with friends. Although it seems fun, it is a bloody distraction. It is part of the reason that you struggle at school, and the ‘laziness’ habit you get into causes a problem when you hit college.

You have quirks. You like books, computer games and cartoons, and that’s okay. Everyone has interests and hobbies, all that matters are that yours make you happy. Be proud of who you are, experiment with everything in your life, and find out what works for you. Have fun, don’t force yourself into situations which makes you feel horrible. The questions and doubts you have about your sexuality aren’t bad, you just are a bit scared because there is noone to talk to. Your friends will support you, so talk to them about it, don’t let it batter away at your confidence.

Please remember, you are worthy of love, happiness and the life you dream. Enjoy your teenage years, and have fun.

Love Older You

_______

The #DearMe project is actually a Youtube project, but due to me having an issue with a corrupted memory card, I thought I’d blog it. It aims to inspire and motivate young women everywhere. The advice you would give You, may help someone going through those issues now. The video for the campaign on Youtube is over here. The campaign started yesterday, which was International Women’s Day, so it’s a little late.

Is there any advice that you would give to your teenage self?

#LikeAGirl

It’s not very often I will ask someone to watch an advert, just because of the content, but today I am. Always have made a video below that I think you should check out.

The sentiment of doing things ‘like a girl’ has always been used as derogatory, to me anyway. This is something that makes young girls hate themselves well into their adult life. And it is unfair, that one word should be used so negatively. And that one word is there to describe so many people. I think it comes from the idea, where negativity was used to drive people. So certain words were used as insults, as a way to motivate or make some people feel better than others.

But why should doing something ‘like a girl’ be a bad thing. I was born a girl, why should I be shamed that who I am is a bad thing. When I was at school, particularly in sport, if you did something ‘like a girl’, it was done poorly, and not right. To tell young girls that they are poor, just because of who they are, is a terrible thing. But it extends past that. Negative connotations are put on to feminine words and attributes as if they are less important than more masculine ones. This isn’t true. This is what centuries of patriarchy have done, where women were nothing more than birthers and skivies, where the men ran things.

And even now, in 2014, there are major problems with how women are treated by society. And with being dismissed from youth, a lot of women do not have the self belief to stand up and try to make a change. Every woman I know has had some form of assault made towards them, for no reason other than walking down a street. Where if out in a club, a man doesn’t take ‘I am a lesbian’ as an answer, and forces himself onto a woman not interested. She is painted as a slut, as boys will be boys.

It’s time to change how the world thinks, and start with taking back ‘like a girl’. I do everything like a girl, because I am one. I am a fighter, and I will fight so that every woman can feel strong and no longer feel less because of what sex they are. This video is a start, a start to make it so no girls lose their confidence during puberty. To start saying that if you do something ‘like a girl’, it is doing something as much as possible, and pass message on to every person, young and old.

Time for change.

 

 

Expectations?

When I tell people I like to blog a lot some have asked me about ‘outfits of the day’. I am gathering this is such a ‘hot topic’ because it seems like every female blogger talks about fashion and what they are wearing. Which is fine, but I feel that it has been expected for every female to run their blog like a fashion blog. That isn’t true, and shouldn’t be.

Everyone is different and if they run a blog, they should do so because it matters to them. There is no point trying to force something just because it is on trend. Yes, it could garner attention for a blog, but the chance of the blog being updated when it isn’t about something of interest is not likely. It sucks the fun right out of something, if someone is forced to talk about something they have no interest in.

Fashion is very popular for a reason, it is a good way to express yourself, I get it. I just have never focused on fashion. I dress to be comfortable, and that is pretty much jeans and a t-shirt. And I don’t see the big deal. I don’t wear make-up, I don’t buy much clothes, i don’t get my nails done… I just don’t subscribe to the ‘beauty lifestyle’. I never have. I have been a tomboy my whole life, and I don’t see that changing. I believe in substance over style. Not that there is anything wrong with being into fashion and things. I just express myself in different ways.

An Ode to John Green

I am half-way through John Green’s novel Paper Towns. Which is an amazing book, I recommend everyone to get it.

 

What I like about John’s novels as that there is always a female character in his work, who seems to be central to the storyline. He paints pictures of girls who are not only beautiful, but they are highly intelligent. And I don’t mean, in a Dawson’s Creek way where, the characters spouted long words, but didn’t really seem in their character to say such things.I mean, here are visualisations of teenage girls, and they speak using intelligence  as if they are extremely well-read individuals.

 

The thing is, in the media, woman are all too often written as being one-dimensional characters, who maybe long for a different life, but they don’t show any real intelligence. Even if you look at anything, which has popular High School girls, the girls are bitchy, stupid and only interested in sex and shopping. After spending my whole adolescence surrounded in horrifically stereotyped visions of women, I can only which that there alternatives available when I was younger. I mean very people I knew when I was younger had any interest in books. And although there was a lot of programmes aimed at someone my age, it was things like the afore-mentioned Dawson’s Creek or Sweet Valley High, all which left me with a rather dirty taste in my mouth.
I always have read a lot, I used to spend my summer going down to the library once a week rent new books. I loved it, which made me upset that there wasn’t anyreal  positive role models for teenage girls, that didn’t involve around boyfriends and becoming popular. So I would read horror stories,  and things, because the focus was on the situation more than the actual personality of the characters (which were still stereotyped).

I wish I had John Green’s books when I was a teenager, because, although the female characters are not perfect, and they never claim to be, they are clever and beautiful. They show women with their own mind, which is something that I believe that all women should be surrounded in.

I think my issue is, that most stories of ’empowerment’ come from stories which focus on sexual conquests. That isn’t empowering, that is degrading. To think that a woman is powerful because she has sex with some man, is not a positive image of a woman. A woman is powerful if she stands up on her own two feet, if she is not afraid to make decisions about her own live. No one should ever feel like they need to be in a relationship to be successful, and I think that the media is constantly telling us that’s what we are expected to do.

So thank you John Green, you may not be aware of it, but you have given girls positive role models with your characters. Thank you for showing that intelligence is beautiful.