Notes from the front lines: a 9-year-old's take
This is what Disney World is like for girls, not for boys or men... not that gender ends there. “Right here, princess,” over and over again. It felt the same as how I feel when people call me a "little girl." It makes me feel like they don't see me, or care what I think or believe I am important. And I am not little.
Even though I’m nine, I know that the identity of a kid and girl doesn’t get much respect. I have sensed this since I was very young. People don't take my ideas into consideration or believe me when I'm upset.
Imagine being called “princess” every day because of your identity. Now imagine an adult speaking to you in a high-pitched voice that they would never use with each other. When that happens, I feel that person is talking down to me because I am younger but the pitch also just makes it harder to understand them.
It also makes me angry when someone calls me a little girl. For me, there are two things wrong with that: 1) I am not little and hate being called that. 2. I don’t like being called a girl. I prefer young woman or my name: Lola. Young woman feels more powerful. More like who I am. When I was younger and called “little girl” or “girl,” I would always say, “I’m not a girl, I’m a Lola.” That’s why I feel kids and more importantly girls need more respect. My school troubles remind that because I am a kid and girl I am valued less. Example: When I try to express challenges, I am not taken seriously.
Because I am a girl I get treated worse than boys. The expectations of boys behavior is much lower. They get away with things like physical aggression (I keep getting hit with a ball on purpose at recess for example) and unkind words (boys at school accuse the girls of crying too much, not being as good at sports, not being as capable as them). And the teachers tell us to ignore it. Like it's normal. When I wouldn't expect to get away with treating people like that. Because I am a girl I am expected to do less. I love sports. But when I just want to play sports at recess I have to deal with sexism from the boys. I don't get to play the positions I like. And spend a lot of the time trying not to be mad at the way they talk to me. Identities can change what people think of you before they get to know you. I just want to be who I am and not have pretend to be someone else because of what people expect.
How you can help: I want people to treat kids with respect. Let me in on decisions about me, take my ideas seriously, and call me by my name, those are changes I like.
is a fifth-grade student currently residing in the Midwest. She is a self-proclaimed history buff and bookworm, gravitating mostly to nonfiction work about revolutionaries.
In her free time she practices Brazilian jiujitsu, listens to music, and plays with her dog, Bader (named after Ruth Bader Ginsburg).