International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2017

This girl on the picture was fascinated by what was in the box. It went on to be her favorite toys for years: Legos. She still has that look every time she discovers something new in life.

Because today is International Women’s Day, here are some facts about this girl:

She got very lucky: although things were tough as she was raised by a single mother with limited means, she got a roof under her head every single night, which a lot of little girls in today’s world don’t have.

She was overall healthy throughout her childhood, save some adventures to the hospital, a luxury that today still is denied to a lot of women.

She got a proper education, which she loved. Which a lot  of girls worldwide still don’t get.

She got some friends, most of them nice.

She got on particularly well with boys and struck awesome childhood friendships: they also liked playing with Legos.

Girls, back then, weren’t so nice. Because girls only realize when they’re adult that they can be each others’ friend instead of rival.

She had never thought much about her looks – indeed, look at anyone growing up in the 80ies and you’ll see that fashion wasn’t a preoccupation at the time.

But here’s when she realized she was a woman:

She grew up. Instead of staring at boxes of Legos or devouring books one after the other, she looked at boys in the exact same way: fascinated (and obviously eager to play with them).

As a kid, she was told that she was fat and ugly, but that didn’t last: boys too had replaced Legos and wanted to play with girls.

So the little grown up girl got boyfriends. Because she grew up in a country where women have fair access to doctors, and have the freedom of choice when it comes to their own bodies, the girl could just be preoccupied with love and wasn’t forced to marry as a teenager.

At the same time though, the girl also experienced a new kind of pressure: she had to lose weight for some, she had to comply to many weird wishes because she was too much “this” and not enough “that” for others, all in all she got into situations she would nowadays never accept. She experienced many exhibitionists in public transports, had to report people to the police for harassment a couple of times, got followed in the streets to the point that she learned not to wear anything above the knee for fear of attracting attention and learned to ignore whistles and crude comments. Because she was made feel all of it was normal. And because back then, she didn’t know any better.

And then she did some more growing up. She learned that no one, no woman ever has to be a victim. She got empowered by the knowledge of her own value, and she held on to what mattered the most to her: all humans are created equal. So now whenever something happens to her, that woman stands up and tell off people with sexist comments. She is not afraid of her feelings, she is not afraid of saying no, she is not afraid of calling people out on their sexist bullshit. She stands up because she looks back and sees that little girl fascinated by Legos – this girl who looks like any other little girl in the world. And she thinks to herself: little girl, you and every other little girls, you can be whoever you want, and no one has the right to belittle, judge, degrade, prevent you to become who you want to be, not because you are woman and not for any other reason.

Happy International Rights of Women’s Day to fellow human beings 🙂

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