I’m just coming to terms with the fact I’m not a “girl activist” anymore, although the documentary that told my story of fighting to get better sex education into my Texas high school, The Education of Shelby Knox, captured me forever as a bubbly fifteen year-old with questionable fashion sense. Since the film came out, I’ve become an itinerant feminist organizer, traveling across the country organizing campaigns for gender justice and speaking about the next wave of feminism. (It’s probably for this work, not the aforementioned fashion fails, that Marie Claire just named me “The Next Gloria Steinem.” Ummm, pressure much???) My favorite projects turn girls into girl activists; I’ve done this work with the Girls Leadership Institute, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project and The Girl Scouts, among others.
I want to add my SPARK to this movement for the girl I used to be. I hated my body for being too big, my hair for being too curly, and my own supposedly unnatural aversion to the tight, skimpy clothes that were my only hope for a boyfriend. I didn’t know that the media wanted me to hate my thighs so I would buy weight loss products and expensive jeans, my hair so I would buy flat irons and creams galore. I didn’t realize there were forces out there that want young women to think their worth lies in their sexuality and being able to attract a mate rather than their innate ability to take over the world. When I figured out how to decode these messages I got angry, I started the journey to loving myself, and I found my power in activism and plotting to – you better believe it – take over the world. I want young women to embrace their big hips, their big mouths, their big dreams and become the leaders of the next generation of the revolution!
Part of "30 Allies in 30 Days." Learn more about the SPARK Summit and check back tomorrow for our next ally!