At Four Girls, we are relentlessly on a mission to go high. We seek to face adversity and injustice with positive messaging, and always with grace and grit. We do not put anyone down in order to communicate our ideas and promote girl power and feminine equality. However, there is much work to be done in continuing to change the narrative in our culture when it comes to these issues. Our positivity does not equal passivity. We stand up, loud and proud, to promote equality because it is one of the most crucial issues of our time.
One of the most dangerous ways that gender inequality affects girls and women in our culture is the vile practice of victim blaming after violent crime is perpetrated against them. Too often, in instances of domestic abuse and sexual violence, the women who are victimized are then wrongfully held culpable for her attacker's actions. We all know this narrative: "she mouthed off", "she was being aggressive", "she was dressed provocatively". Four Girls rejects this narrative. It is a sad example of how the female gender is not yet fully valued, protected, and provided for equally in our society. We are thrilled that progress has been made- thrilled that change has begun. That said, it is crucial that we acknowledge that we are not there yet.
There is so much work to be done when little girls still hear "you shouldn't play with the boys", "don't be so loud and forceful", "girls shouldn't be aggressive", "don't wear that". These seemingly benign statements, the ones that start with mothers and fathers, with teachers and religious leaders, are shaping our girls and boys to believe that it is a girl's responsibility to act in a way that keeps her safe from boys and makes everyone around her comfortable. This subliminal message communicates that she is less than, that she is not worthy and equal. Here lies the ugliness. She is not less than. And the burden of keeping her safe falls on each member of our society. "Boys will be boys" is a lie. Boys will only need an excuse for hitting a girl, violating a girl, or disrespecting a girl if he is led to believe this is is permissible. Taught within the narrative that there is never an excuse for these offenses, boys/men will honor girls/women the was they innately deserve.
Sexism is an insidious disease that has not yet been eradicated in our culture. Many wish to say it has been dealt with and resolved, that we have come far enough. As long as boys are still hitting little girls when they don't back down, as long as rape victims are still questioned about their clothing, as long as wives still ask themselves "what did I do to deserve this?" after being beaten by their spouse, there is much work left to be done and much progress yet to be made. We should be Free to Be the powerful, strong, vital forces we are, all the while maintaining the basic expectation of safety. We press on in the pursuit of that right.
Free to Be,