Every day I read about girls and girl culture. It is my job, and it is my life. Inspiring and uplifting, and yes, very depressing at times. We are still driving a global agenda of perfection and homogeneity. The stories about girls who take their own lives because of feelings of inadequacy, peer pressure, and social stigmatization are all too frequent, almost becoming normalized in the news. It tears my guts out. But suicide is on the increase for teens and young people all over the world. We need to stop being surprised and try to figure out solutions. Pressures on girls today are dramatically increased due to the expansion of ways that these messages can reach them. Social media might be the friend of political movements, but it is not a friend of girls or their self-esteem. We know this. We do not need endless studies to show this, but we do not want to do anything about it because it is too hard and we ourselves are addicted. This is a prime example of a society eating its own young out of greed and vanity.
A haven for those who don’t identify as normal has always been the theatre. I feel very lucky to have grown up in the theatre. Normal was never a requirement, or even a goal. There is no normal. Next to Normal, yes, but not a fixed position signposted “NORMAL.” What we are all trying to be is ourselves. And that is what is deemed too this or too that or not enough. Close the magazines. Close Instagram. Walk away from the toxic voices and images that scream in your face all that you are not and can never be. We do not need faster phone chargers, but longer walks, more time at the theatre and just quiet time with ourselves. That would be amazing.
-Ashley E. Remer
Girl Museum Inc.