Being a teenage girl is not always easy. You constantly feel like you are pressured by everyone around you, and you have to figure out your own place in the world. You have to deal with inequality and you often have sexist comments thrown your way. We have found eight, very different, teen girls who inspire countless of people daily with their thoughtfulness and openness about important issues in our society.
Chloe Lukasiak is a dancer who used to appear on the controversial show Dance Moms. She and her mother, Christi Lukasiak, chose to leave the show last year after being mentally abused for years by her dance teacher Abby Lee Miller, who also stars on the show. Lukasiak suffers from silent sinus syndrome, which caused one eye to appear larger than the other. She recently had surgery for it, but before that, she received hateful comments from both people online and her dance teacher. Miller once said, to the then 13-year-old, that she needed to get her “lazy eye” fixed, not caring that Lukasiak had a serious condition. Lukasiak is now in a happy place. This summer she received the Choice Dancer award at the Teen Choice Awards where she spoke in front of her former dance teacher. In her speech she said: “To anyone who has ever been told that they can’t do it, that they shouldn’t do it, or they aren’t good enough — ignore it. Do it anyways, and prove them wrong.”
Camila Cabello first became known when she appeared on The X Factor USA in 2012. She is a part of the famous girl group Fifth Harmony. Cabello frequently shares her thoughts on Twitter. One of her most popular tweets is ‘12 things I learned while being 18′ where she wrote: “The point is the world would be a much better place if we were taught to be fascinated by our differences instead of fearing them, if we were taught to explore individuality instead of controlling it. If we were taught that even if we disagree with somebody’s way of expression, we have no authority to ever tell somebody they can’t be who they are. Free yourself, or let us be free.” Cabello has also given a young transgender fan the courage to transition. The fan changed her name to Camila Jo in honour of Cabello.
Rowan Blanchard is a singer and an actress best known for her role as Riley Matthews on Disney Channel’s show Girl Meets World. She has used her fame to educate other young people about the importance of feminism. Earlier this year Blanchard spoke at the UN Women U.S. National Committee 2015 Annual Conference about gender inequality. In her speech she said: “Equality of the sexes is not merely an idea, but a birth given right. In a country that has achieved marriage equality, shouldn’t gender equality be next?”. She also spoke about how the media’s objectification of women’s bodies teaches young girls that they aren’t good enough the way that they are. Blanchard has also showed her knowledge on the term ‘white feminism’ by writing an essay on intersectional feminism on the website Tumblr. The essay got a lot of positive feedback and Blanchard was praised by numerous other actresses such as Emma Watson and Amber Riley.
Felicite Tomlinson is probably mostly known as being the younger sister of famous singer Louis Tomlinson, but the teenager has proven that she is so much more than that. Tomlinson has used her massive following on Twitter to educate other people on inequality and injustice in our society. She has gone on several Twitter rants where she has shown her knowledge on sexism, racism and homophobia. Last month she tweeted about the double standards when it comes to what men and women choose to do with their bodies. She wrote: “It’s so ridiculous when people claim to be feminists and then find any reason to label a girl a slut etc. Do you call a guy that when they use their freedom of choice and do what they want with their body?”
Zendaya is a singer and actress best known for her Disney Channel show Shake It Up. She now stars on another show called K.C. Undercover, which also airs on Disney Channel. The young star has spoken out against cultural appropriation and racism multiple times. Earlier this year Giuliana Rancic made racist comments towards Zendaya on Fashion Police. Rancic stated that Zendaya probably smelled like “patchouli oil and weed” because she chose to have dreadlocks at the Oscars. Zendaya wrote a reply on Instagram after the show aired where she responded to Rancic’s insensitive comments. In the reply she wrote: “There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough. To me, locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane.” Zendaya has also spoken about the importance of education and self-acceptance. She has stated that knowledge is always the loudest voice.
Amandla Stenberg is known for her role as Rue in the Hunger Games franchise. The actress has always been a vocal advocate for women and people of colour. Stenberg made a video called Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows with her friend for a school project. The video has almost two million views on YouTube. In the video she lectured everyone about cultural appropriation. She talked about how white people are praised when they steal things from black culture such as hairstyles, but black people get ridiculed for wearing said hairstyles. Stenberg wants to go to NYU and study film. She wants to do projects that empower, specifically, young black girls. Stenberg also recently released a comic book called NIOBE: She Is Life which follows the story of Niobe Ayutami, a young, black warrior on her adventures to save the world.
Ariel Winter stars as Alex Dunphy on the comedy show Modern Family. Winter has spoken out against body-shaming several times. She has also been a target of body-shaming because of her curvy body shape. The actress chose to get a breast reduction surgery because her breasts caused her physical pain. They also caused her to be sexualized by many older men, which didn’t even stop after she had the surgery, even though she is still underage. Winter chose to be open about her surgery because she didn’t feel like there was anything to hide. She also said that she did it for herself and not because of what other people were saying. Winter wrote on Instagram: ” Never be afraid to speak your mind. Always make decisions because YOU want to, and always do what makes YOU happy.”
Malala Yousafzai is an activist for female education. She is from Pakistan and she is the youngest person ever to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, which she received in 2014. Yousafzai began blogging anonymously about her life under the Taliban’s influence for BBC at age 11. Shortly after, the Taliban banned girls to go to school. Although girls were later allowed back in school, if they wore burqas, Yousafzai kept on fighting for girls’ rights to get an education that was equal to boys’. This made her a target and on October 9. 2012 she was shot in the head on her way home from school by the Taliban. She survived the attack and continued to be a voice for young women. In July this year she travelled to a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon to open a school. We believe that Yousafzai is in a league of her own. She sacrificed her life to fight for what she believes in. Malala Yousafzai is truly an inspirational teenage girl who has, and will continue to, inspired millions of people worldwide with her brave actions.
Which teenage girls inspire you and why? Leave a comment below or tweet us at @CelebMix