Courtesy of Kayla Conklin.

Hello, Girl Museum! My name is Kayla Conklin and I am a new curatorial intern at the Girl Museum. I am an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park in the United States (near Washington DC). There, I study Art History and Anthropology, particularly concerning intersectional feminist and queer artistic activism. Though, I am originally a small-town girl from Bel Air Maryland. 

I am a student, a scholar, an activist, and a leader in my community as I advocate for gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights. In my free time, I love to paint watercolors, try new foods, and listen to audiobooks! My latest summer read has been Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist.

My dream job is definitely in a space similar to the Girl Museum. I’ve been dreaming of working in a feminist art museum as the director of public programming. I’ve learned from a few museum studies courses about the power of empathetic museum programming as a way to speak to marginalized audiences. The institution of museums have historically been grossly colonized and I believe that event planning, public programming, and museum education has the potential to speak to those who have been left out of the canon of art history for far too long. 

My favorite museum is the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Being from the Washington DC area, I am so lucky to be surrounded by such a rich museum culture. I’m only a short metro ride away from the expansive Smithsonian Institute! However, the National Museum of Women in the Arts has a special place in my heart because I share a common value with them in their dedication “to championing women through the arts.”

Girls have historically been a vulnerable identity group in the world. We face a slew of unique challenges that target us for our gender identity and expression alone. Newly, social media seems to contribute to poor self-esteem in ways that fashion magazines used to impact self-confidence and self-perception in young girls. Another issue we face is the phenomenon of the Sorry Reflex, in which we make ourselves smaller and quieter while our male counterparts are empowered to speak up. Mattel’s Barbie YouTube-Account addressed this reflex with both poise and power. 

It is a pleasure to work with the Girl Museum this summer to amplify, advocate, and preserve girls’ voices. I hope that my time here will teach me to be a stronger and more effective activist. Thank you!

-Kayla Conklin
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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