A Smart Girl's Manifesto – Let's Get Thinking

Alright ladies, it’s time for some big changes. Time for women to take our place in the world amongst the best and the brightest, because frankly, I’m tired of receiving magazine after magazine adorned with the faces of men, proclaiming them the new “30 Under 30”, “World’s Top Entrepreneurs” or “The Next President of the United States”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate men. I repeat: I do not hate men. One day when I’m a mother, I will be just as proud of my son’s accomplishments as my daughter’s. However, God help the person who tells me I should be proud of my (yet-to-be-conceived) daughter for accomplishing something simply because she is a woman.

This is half the problem, every time a woman does something, half of us throw a parade in her honor because she was the first woman to accomplish such a feat, while the other half criticizes her to bits because she has not accurately portrayed the life and struggles of every woman who has ever existed (e.g. the virtual stoning of Lena Dunham for seemingly anything and everything she does). Neither of these antiquated attitudes will propel us into the future.

Though the first is perhaps more tolerable, in a way it still holds women back. In labeling accomplished women separately from their male counterparts (e.g. the first female astronaut), we often imply that it is shocking a woman has accomplished such a thing. And while I understand the need to recognize pioneering women for chipping away at the elusive glass ceiling, at a certain point this system of counting and labeling women becomes detrimental. “Hillary Clinton is the 3rd female Secretary of State”. That’s great, but why are we still surprised at a woman being Secretary of State? If she’s the best person for the job, then why the hell shouldn’t she be?

Secondly and perhaps more detrimental to the cause of feminism, is the age old struggle of pitting women against one another. Most recently in the news, Jessica Chastain set the record straight concerning rumors that she “hates” Jennifer Lawrence, and went a step further by saying that pitting women against each other is detrimental and degrading to womankind as a whole:

“Please don’t allow the media to perpetuate the myth that women aren’t supportive of each other. Every time an actress is celebrated for her great work, I cheer. For the more brilliant their performance, the more the audience demands stories about women. With support and encouragement, we help to inspire this industry to create opportunities for women. And as we all know: a great year for women in film, is just a great year for film.”

After all, why is it that when George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon get together for a film the stories to emerge from the media are of their blossoming bromance, whilst apparently women working together couldn’t possibly get along as they’re too busy clawing each other’s eyes out over “who wore it best”.

This is what I mean. It’s time for a change, and the good news and bad news is the call for change rests upon each of our shoulders. That’s right, you are the one who is going to change things. How? By changing yourself. Now listen carefully, I don’t want you to think for a second that by “changing yourself” I mean buying a new outfit, whitening your teeth or styling your hair differently. I’m talking about the deep stuff, real change. I want you to change your mind, I want you to become the smartest, most fierce version of yourself (think Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé’s alter ego). I want you to walk around feeling fearless in the morning, not because you’ve perfected your eye make-up routine, but rather because you know you could go toe-to-toe with the best of them.

Currently I am reading a book called Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World by Lisa Bloom (daughter of the famous attorney Gloria Alred) and honestly it’s rocking my world! Her basic thesis is this: us girls have to get our act together and become big thinkers before everything the women before us have strived for disappears under a barrage of gossip websites and fashion magazines. One of the most shocking statistics repeatedly quoted throughout the book is the fact that 25% of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than a Nobel Peace Prize, A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE!

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