You Have a Voice: Use It.

A couple days ago, supermodel Ashley Graham stood on a stage in front of hundreds of young women at Glamour’s International Day of the Girl event. She talked about her struggle with body confidence, self-worth, and what she believes the true definition of beauty is.

And it was amazing.

After watching the video, I was feeling inspired and I found myself wishing that I had heard her story when I was younger, because I, too, struggled with self-worth and body confidence. I feel like every girl does at least once growing up, right?

And that’s just it, isn’t it? Girls of all ages, all over the world, are dealing with these exact issues. And many of them don’t have anyone to tell them that they are more than just their weight. They are more than the attention (or lack thereof) that they get from boys.

Graham said that “true beauty is being OK with who you are.”

How do you teach young people to be OK with who they are?

It doesn’t matter your politics or your religion. No girl should grow up feeling like less of a person because she feels like she’s not pretty enough of thin enough or talented enough.

And more people, not just models and celebrities, should be preaching this message. Schoolteachers, mothers, pastors, aunts or neighbors: EVERYONE has a voice. Some people, like Graham, have a bigger platform for their voice, allowing their message to reach tons of people.

But if you have the chance to simply reach one young girl, whether it be your daughter or your niece or your cousin or your sister, you have the potential to change their life.

Because maybe she hasn’t been told that she doesn’t have to be blonde or skinny or fair-skinned to be beautiful. Maybe she hasn’t been told that her worth doesn’t come from the attention that she gets from boys. Maybe she hasn’t been told that what makes her beautiful isn’t JUST on the outside.

It’s also her brain. Her personality. Her heart.

If more people focused on building up the self-confidence of young girls, then maybe it wouldn’t be so groundbreaking when a public figure like Ashley Graham does it.

Young people are the future, and we need to start truly empowering the young women in our own lives, so that when Ashley Graham gives a speech saying that all women are beautiful, young girls everywhere are saying, “Yeah, I know.”