For our upcoming exhibition, “I Am A Girl,” we worked with non-profits to seek semi-anonymous answers from girls and women around the world that explore identity as a girl. Participants were asked to give their first name and age, and then answer questions about their experiences of girlhood. Read on to find out what they said.

What does being a “girl” mean to you?

Girl to me is a construction by society where you either follow suit or rebel against. I am by gender a ‘girl’ and identify as one, but I by no means fit what you see in demonstrations or descriptions of a ‘girl.’ To me it is having to say no a lot and fight for a yes. I will always wonder if being a girl means I won’t be able to do something and it makes me want to do it more.

What is your favorite thing about being a “girl”?

I enjoy the concept of ‘sisterhood’ most girls are supporting girls and we stereotypically break down emotional barriers easier like going to the toilet in a club and becoming best friends with any random girl who can’t get up off the floor.

What is something about being a “girl” that you wish more people knew about?

No matter how strong we might look or act we fight a lot more to convince people that idea then they may think. It is hard to assert authority in male dominant places and because of that overcompensating can happen.

How would you say society views girlhood in your country?

I believe girlhood is the UK is more forward than other places, yet we are still sexualised, exploited and constantly fighting for simple rights like free pads and tampons.

Can you think of and describe a defining moment of your girlhood? Perhaps a time when you felt a strong connection to being a “girl” or when you felt distanced from the way society expects “girls” to be.

I only begun to realise I was a girl when I went to university. Before my gender never had any significant differences, I was never ‘girly’ but turning 18 and going into the clubbing environment showed me how compared we are between our own gender by someone trying to approach us. The strongest I ever felt to being a girl was when I looked Greek Mythology for my university course and seeing how far women have come since basically being husk for men, or reading the handmaids tale and thanking the fight that this can’t happen.

Do you have any more thoughts you would like to add about “girls/girlhood”?

I was lucky to have unconventional gender bending parents who let me run free, and my advice is to let children harness whatever path they wish. Happy and healthy is all we can wish for anything in between is a bonus!

Responses by Macy-Leigh, 20

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