Today, October 11 is Day of the Girl. Day of the Girl is to raise awareness and address the needs and challenges girls face daily, as well as promoting their empowerments and human rights. Defy Normal was started to defy the status quo and believe that every child, regardless of their gender, has potential and should be allowed to be whoever they want to be. I mean, what is normal anyways? Normal is a setting on a washing machine, there’s no normal. Being normal to me is being yourself and staying true to yourself and not changing to fit society’s standards of normal.
2018 theme: With Her: A Skilled GirlForce
Today’s generation of girls are preparing to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation and automation. Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people – most of them female – are currently neither employed or in education or training.
Of the 1 billion young people – including 600 million adolescent girls – that will enter the workforce in the next decade, more than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common.
On 11 October, International Day of the Girl, we are working alongside all girls to expand existing learning opportunities, chart new pathways and calling on the global community to rethink how to prepare them for a successful transition into the world of work.
Under the theme, With Her: A Skilled GirlForce, International Day of the Girl will mark the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, and draw attention and investments to, the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability.
-United Nations (source)
According to my analytics, a majority of my blog readers and those that follow me on social media are women. A majority of you more than likely, have had at least one person in their life – whether it be a family member, a friend, a classmate or a stranger doubt them. You may have been told that “you can’t do that, you’re not smart enough” or “you’re not qualified to be a [career].” It doesn’t feel good right? It hurts, and you start to doubt yourself. You wonder maybe they’re right, maybe you are not right for this job. They make you feel insecure, they make you feel like you are not good enough. I’ve been told many times there’s no way I can work a full time job, start a business and become a Scientist. I’ve heard it from family members, friends and I’ve even had people DM me about it (I’ve also had a few readers send me screenshots of people calling me flakey and a mess too). I’ve been called fake and a mess because to them, there is no way a person can do more than one thing with their life. To them, there’s no way people can be multi passionate. To them, I couldn’t do this or that and it really got on my nerves. At first, my parents were not happy with me working for the Blue Jays. Man, oh man were they not happy. In a way, I understood them because when I worked for them, it was a very demanding job and long hours. I barely saw my family, friends and loved ones when I worked for them. Now, I also understand they were not happy with it because they thought it would take away my focus from my education and other work. It did at first, not gonna lie, but then I got my life organized again, by planning my days out and balancing my schedule. I was able to work for the Blue Jays, take business classes and classes at Parsons, as well as working on designs during my spare time. It wasn’t easy, it was a lot of long nights, some day I was getting less than 5 hours of sleep and wanted to give up. I’ve had many nights where I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. Maybe it’s my need to prove people wrong or my (sometimes) type A personality, but I handled it and it got done. I’m also someone who’s never liked following the rules. I’m a good citizen nor do I break the law, but I like to break the rules of status quo or what society believes is considered normal. I’m also someone who does not like being told what to do (my parents will agree). I don’t like when someone says you have to be this age by the time you finished your degree or you have to be married before this age or you have to wear this or that like there’s some type of unwritten rule. It’s all a bunch of baloney to me.
But that’s exactly what is wrong with this world though. People will claim to believe that in order to be successful, you need a prestigious degree, be making a lot of money to provide for your family and have this and that. You don’t need to be an alumni from a prestigious school to be considered smart. You don’t have to have abs and a flawless face to be considered beautiful. You don’t have to be these things that society wants you to be. These same people will also shame women who want to focus on their careers over a relationship or starting and raising a family. Women who want to focus on their education and careers should be allowed to focus on their education and careers. If a woman wants to be a stay at home mom and raise their family, then let her be a stay at home. Someone who has a career does not make her better than someone who chooses to stay at home to raise her family. If a woman has her own career and her own life, she should not be shamed for not being with her significant other for his events and vice versa. She’s not a dog to be at someone’s beck and call, she has her own life. If a woman wants to focus on her career and education, let her focus on her education and career. If a woman does not want to get married and have a family of her own, she does not need to explain herself, nor should she be judged. If a woman wants to work in the adult industry, let her work in the adult industry – she does not deserve to be shamed or be called names or looked down on. If a woman wants to be a mechanic, let her be a mechanic. If a woman wants to be a police officer, let her train to become a police officer. If a woman wants to be the leader of her country, let her get the votes and support to become the leader of her country. If a woman wants to openly speak her mind (as long as she is not hurting or discriminating against anyone), she should be allowed to speak her mind and not be told to “shut up and go back to the kitchen.” Men and women should not be shamed on whatever career they choose. Men and women should not be shamed on whatever path they choose for their life. Men and women should not have to explain themselves. As long as they are not hurting anyone, they can become whoever they want. As long as people have this mentality that men have to be the bread winner of their family and women stay at home, we’re never going to get anywhere. Men and women should be encouraged to reach their full potentials. Men and women should not have to give up their happiness to be what society tells them to be.
*I also want to make it clear I’m using women as examples because there’s more discrimination towards women. Men are also discriminated against and I am in no way saying discrimination towards men are not important.*
A letter to my future children
To my future daughter(s) (and son(s)), I promise you, your father and I will do our best to raise you equally and support you in this crazy thing called life. We will raise you to reach your full potential and never force you to become someone you are not. If you or your brother(s), want to be an art major, be an art major and create wonderful works of art. If you or your brother(s) want to be an athlete, then we will go to all your games and practices and support you, whether you win or lose. If you or your brother(s) want to be a doctor, then we will support you and provide you with the essentials and guidance for you to become a licensed physician. If you or your brother(s) want to be an Entrepreneur, then we will support whatever business you want to start. If you never want to get married and have children, we will support you. If you want to come out of the closet, we will support you. If you want to dye your hair in colourful colours, we will support you. If you want to get a tattoo and piercings, we will support you. Regardless of what you want to be in the future, always know your father and I will support you through everything. We will raise you to not only respect yourselves, but others as well and be an open minded person. As long as you are happy with what you are doing, then that’s all that matters to us. Break the status quo. Don’t try to be what society wants you to be. Be your own person, be kind, be respectful and make your mark on this wonderful world.
This post may have gotten a little off topic, but if there’s anything you may have learned, it’s to stay true to yourself, never give up on your dreams just because someone doubts your potential, don’t listen to society and to not judge anyone’s life.