Posted by Nancy Arroyo Ruffin
It’s not easy being a teenage girl now-a-days. The teenage years can be some of the most challenging for a young person as they are trying to find themselves and how they fit in with the rest of the world. With a world full of mean girls, reality television, and fashion magazines full of photo editing, girls can easily fall prey to low self-esteem. The popularity of the internet, social media, and sites like Instagram further contribute and promote the #Selfie culture, with many young girls and women willing to bare it all just to see how many “likes” and “followers” they can amass. As if, these numbers somehow validate their beauty, worth, their existence even. This obsession can be distracting and can lead young girls down the wrong path looking to celebrities and reality TV personalities for cues on how to look, speak, and act.
As a very active user of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter it can be a very lonely and scary place to be if you’re not confident and sure of who you are. Social media has made it very easy for someone to become a target of bullying leaving oneself open to criticism and ridicule by people who have no clue of who you really are. As a mother of a little girl and aunt to two pre-teen girls I worry about the images they are exposed to. I worry that they will allow this fixation with Instagram and the media to influence how they see themselves and place value on the wrong things. One of my responsibilities as a mother, aunt, and self proclaimed #FIERCEWoman is to make sure that I raise #FIERCEGirls and cultivate the same values in other young ladies.
I believe that the key to creating F.I.E.R.C.E Women is to create F.I.E.R.C.E Girls. By engaging our young girls between the ages of 12-19 in discussions about positive body image, self-esteem, dreams, goals, and how to accomplish them we begin to expose them to the qualities and traits that The F.I.E.R.C.E Woman embodies. These include self-confidence, kindness, empathy, strength, humility, gratitude, and a responsibility to give back to our communities. We as parents, guardians, and role models have to give our young girls other images to aspire to. We have to be the models they look to for their cues as young women. We have to exhibit the qualities we want them to embody.
Carolyn Danckaert, founder of A Mighty Girl, an online resource for parents to find media, books, clothing and toys that feature girls as leaders, heroes and champions that save the day, rather than just damsels in distress, says:
“The types of media a child is exposed to — books, films or music — have a tremendous impact on how they see their place in the world. Girls can’t be what they can’t see, so exposing girls to these types of empowering messages from a young age is essential.“
They may not always see positive images online and so we have to be the messengers of the types of messages we want them to see, learn, and adopt.
This past Saturday, August 29th, The FIERCE Woman held it’s first annual FIERCE Girls Teen Summit. It’s purpose was to prepare teen girls for the upcoming school year by providing them with the tools necessary to set goals and achieve them. The event program included a
- Vision Board Workshop – vision boards have proven to be a useful tool to help clarify, concentrate, and maintain focus on a specific life goal. We will teach the teens to identify their vision for the upcoming school year. We will help make their vision clear, specific, and set realistic time frames. We will teach them how to reinforce their vision through the use of daily affirmations and to use the vision board to help keep their attention on their intentions.
- Self-Esteem/Body Image Workshop – For many young girls entering their teens and starting high school, self-esteem and body image becomes very important. This workshop will focus on helping to foster positive self-esteem, learning to love ourselves wholly and completely despite our differences. We will talk to the girls about embracing their uniqueness and the things that make them stand out from the rest. We will briefly discuss how to handle unwanted sexual attention and harassment
- Skin Care and Make-Up presentation – A professional make-up artist will talk to the girls about proper skin care, offer make-up tips and product recommendations that are suitable and appropriate for their age group.
The event proved to be a success with over 40 attendees. Despite starting a little bit behind schedule the event was everything I hoped it would be. It allowed these young women to come together, network, and be inspired.
Our 18 yr old guest speaker & 2015 FIERCE Girl of the Year, Miczjhane Clay spoke to the girls about the importance of planning ahead and setting goals. She spoke to them about how she started her fashion design company, Destined Designs and how her grandmother was the inspiration behind the name of the company. Destined Designs is founded upon knowing your self worth & embracing it through your sense of style. Micznhane’s mission is to design clothes that make women feel beautiful whenever they were them.
As I walked around the room and spoke to some of the mothers and young ladies in attendance they thanked me for putting the event together and stressed the importance of building up our young girls and speaking success into them. We have to take an active role in the success of the young women we are raising .Together, we can take over the world. That’s how you raise FIERCE Women.
Don’t forget to follow The Fierce Woman™ on Facebook to stay updated on all future events and workshops.
Writer Bio: Nancy Arroyo Ruffin is an award winning author and motivational speaker. Her work has been cited and published online at The Elephant Journal, The Daily Voice, La Respuesta Magazine, For Harriet, Duende Literary Journal, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Sunday Tribune-Spectrum, MUTHA Magazine, Moms Magazine and CentroVOICES. You can follow Nancy on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram @IAmNancyRuffin, on Facebook @ Nancy Arroyo Ruffin or by visiting her blog at http://www.nancyruffin.net