Feminism isn't just for adults. In fact, some of the most progressive minds are those of kids and teens. Just look at all the young women and girls who made feminist statements in 2016. From celebrities to regular kids who made the news, these girls have important lessons to teach feminists of all ages.
2016 was a big year for feminism. We had our first female major-party presidential nominee, and although she didn't become president, she won the popular vote and united Americans who want to see change for women in this country. Many celebrities spoke up for feminism, and big news stories brought issues like reproductive rights and sexual assault to the forefront of national discussions.
When it comes to furthering gender equality, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and other feminist causes, there are a lot of problems to address in the coming year. But it's also worthwhile to celebrate the progress we've made. And even during the most discouraging times, young feminists especially give hope that the world is slowly becoming a better place for women and other oppressed groups.
Here are a few girls who made feminist statements in 2016 and can inspire us in 2017.
1. Rowan Blanchard
In 2016, the 15-year-old Girl Meets World star shared many powerful words online. In an essay for Rookie , she wrote about why she'll no longer apologize for being herself — a struggle many girls and women can relate to. She also came out as queer in January, tweeting, "I personally don't wanna label myself as straight gay or whateva so I am not gonna give myself labels to stick with — just existing."
2. Amandla Stenberg
Along with Blanchard, filmmaker and Hunger Games actor Amanda Stenberg was honored with the title of the Ms. Foundation's feminist celebrity of the year. Another thing she has in common with Blanchard is that she came out this year. In a video posted to Teen Vogue's Snapchat, she said, "I cannot stress enough how important representation is. It's a really, really hard thing to be silenced and it's deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn't be in."
3. Daisy Edmonds
This 8-year-old called out sexist clothes in a viral video posted in September. "It’s unfair because everyone thinks that girls should just be pretty and boys should just be adventurous," she said. "What is that even supposed to mean?" she commented a girls' shirt with a "Hey" on it. "I don’t find that inspiring." Gendered socialization starts very young, and there's nobody like kids themselves to tell you that.
4. Faith Sobotker
In a video equal parts powerful and hilarious, Sobotker took a stand against her school's sexist dress code. After an assembly criticizing the girls for rolling up their skirts, the Melbourne 15-year-old said, "You do not get to sexualize me like that. You do not get to tell me that my body is sacred, because it isn't."
5. Alexia Sambrano
This high school student's essay for The Los Angeles Times's High School Insider can serve as a manifesto for teenage feminists everywhere. "I am a feminist because, as a teenage girl, I am constantly told I should watch more news, and get more involved, but the minute I open my mouth and speak, I am told I am just a teenage girl, and do not understand, but I do understand," she wrote. "I am a feminist because when I told the man that I was going to call the police, he seemed offended, and even told me to 'calm down' because it was a compliment and I shouldn't be so mad or serious."
6. Chloë Grace Moretz
As Nylon 's January cover star, the 29-year-old actor cleared up misconceptions about feminism. "My mom was a single mom, so I’ve been a feminist since birth," she said. "I think feminism is about strong women being who they want to be and fighting for equality on all accounts. It’s not about men being demolished to bring women higher up in the world. I think that’s incredibly misconstrued."
7. Ariel Winter
Between criticizing the fashion industry's limited representation of bodies and standing up to social media trolls, the 18-year-old Modern Family star has frequently gone to for body positivity. She's also called out Donald Trump's body-shaming comments. "I think it’s really disappointing that we’ve made so many strides towards promoting body positivity for women, and for men, and for empowering women, and he really kind of just tears it all down," she recently told Entertainment Tonight , adding, "I had a ton of self-esteem issues, so I had a really long body positivity journey of learning to be confident in myself."
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