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?

Being talented and proud of how I look and feel whether single or in a relationship, without the need for male validation. Succeeding in my own right in a career.

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

The friendships you can form with other girls that stay with you forever.

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

The stress of mood swings and low days from period or contraception, and being empathetic about it.

How would you say society views girlhood in your country?

Women see girlhood as a chance to help other girls achieve, but I think lots of older men particularly are threatened by women sticking together and being successful.

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.

When I dated someone who spent a lot of time with misogynistic friends – I remember speaking up to defend myself and other women and them being surprised at my outspokenness.

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

I think there is still far too much pressure on how we look that affects most women however beautiful or smart they may be, which can negatively impact each stage of life such as starting a job or going to secondary school.

Responses by Molly, 23

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