With the rise of online feminism and growing awareness of the movement in pop culture, feminism is becoming accessible to a younger crowd than ever. That's why, in addition to the adult feminists we're used to hearing about, there's now a group of inspiring teen girls fighting rape culture and other forms of misogyny. These young women are proving that feminism really is for everyone, regardless of gender, location, or age.
It makes sense that girls would become feminists during their teens years. After all, this is often when the world starts teaching them that they are objects rather than people. "My transition into womanhood was dealt very differently by the tabloid press than it was for my male counterparts," Emma Watson once said of paparazzi attempting to take pictures up her skirt on her 18th birthday.
Now more than ever, girls have the information to articulate what they're going through and the support to take a stand and let the world know it's not okay to violate their privacy, police their bodies, or limit their options. Here are some teenage girls who have spoken out against rape culture in powerful and inspiring ways. We can all learn from them, regardless of our age.
1. Nadia Goldman
For her "senior speech" graduation requirement, high school debater Nadia Goldman delivered a beautiful speech on the insidious effects of rape culture, especially on college campuses. "At what point does STOP become NO become 'you're hurting me' become 'no' become silence?" she asked rhetorically of a culture that teaches everyone, including women themselves, not to respect women's boundaries. "Become illegitimate? Become: 'I don't know, man, she's crazy'?" She also addressed sexism and gender stereotypes: "Praise women for being women and allow your mind to expand its definition of what a woman is."
2. Cat Just
After her high school held an assembly telling the girls (but not the boys) how to dress appropriately, Cat Just had had enough. So, she called on her fellow students to start a movement. Soon after, her male and female peers came to school in "revealing" women's clothing to protest the school's sexist dress code. She also published an op-ed in a local paper calling attention to how dress codes perpetuate rape culture by objectifying women and holding them responsible for not getting harassed or assaulted.
3. Hailey Everhart
In protest of her high school's dress code, which imposes a rule against showing shoulders, Hailey Everhart, a sophomore at the time, started a Facebook page and Instagram account dedicated to the code's dissidents. The accompanying #ShowYourShoulders campaign brings awareness to the fact that women should be able to show their shoulders without fear of being harassed, sexualized, bullied, or belittled.