Two Teenage Girls

At last week’s TEDx Women in Berlin there were two 14 year old girls who got on stage to talk about a project they were doing in their school to encourage girls to do what they want to do, look how they want to look, (as opposed to doing, and looking, how anyone else says to) and support each other in that.

Sweet, but not particularly innovative, I thought (jaded much?), and afterwards connected instead with the brilliant biologist, playwright and artist who’d also presented, falling into fascinating conversation with her about smell-scientist Luca Turin, and the fact that MOMA bought up all of Occupy Wall Street’s art, in classic corporate co-optation of the energy of a popular movement (who knew?! She knew.)

But a week later, I’m thinking about those two girls, and the echo I keep hearing among women friends. What we want to tell girls. What we ought to tell girls. What we wish we’d known as girls.

Namely, that we must refuse to compete with each other. That we must understand– and believe– there is enough for each, both, all of us: enough jobs, enough rewards, enough love.. That we must allow ourselves to see, appreciate, and recognize the gifts and skills of other girls (and women). That we must practice saying, and keep saying: you are so good at x or y; you are so lovely; you are so damn smart…– and mean it! That we must love and support each other in being our best personal selves. That we must adopt a girlfriend code, and never shirk from upholding it.