Music/My Culture/Teen Culture

Dear Hailee Steinfeld: We’re More Than “Most Girls”

Dear Hailee,

I heard your newest song “Most Girls” yesterday. You are amazing and so talented and I have to affirm you for digging in to fight for your sisters with this song. But, in my heart, I was unsettled…

Bear with me here as I try to explain.

When I was in college, I met the most incredible woman. She had hair as red as fire and a sweetness and charm that made me want to hate her and love her all at the same time. I looked to her like one would look to a celebrity — I felt unworthy of her friendship. She was an ideal, and I was oh so subpar. But, as I got to know her better, she taught me more about myself than I even knew existed. She taught me that the reason why she was so incredible was because she had the humility to be herself. Her example raised the bar for me — that I, too, had that same power within me.

And together, we were unstoppable.

She taught me that it wasn’t about what I wore or how I looked or that I could stand out by identifying my uniqueness, it was deeper than that. It was about knowing that regardless of those things, I am worthy of love, that I don’t have to change anything about my figure or personality to be capable of goodness. And, she taught me that all women are capable of this same dignity.

You see I don’t want to be like “most girls.” I want to be like every woman. Because every woman has the fight within her to be smart and strong and beautiful. Every woman has the strength within her to work hard, go far, and be unstoppable.

I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page about this. I’m pretty sure that I can assume you are nodding your head right now in agreement. And, I love you for that. But, I just needed to speak from my unsettled heart because you missed the mark on one simple, yet essential thing: we succeed as women when we stop categorizing ourselves — when we stop the comparison all together.

We succeed as women when we stop polarizing ourselves with this one simple word: “versus.”

Empowering women is not a “most girls” vs. “some girls” fight.

Empowering women is about smashing stereotypes and getting past all of the crap to realize, deep down, we’re all fighting the same fight. We’re all fighting the same battle to embrace our identity as powerful, incredible reflections of God’s goodness because of both our shared femininity, and our unique personalities and quirks.

And that is what makes us strong. When we put on those boxing gloves not to fight against each other but for each other in pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty.

So, the next time some guy tells you “you’re not like most girls,” or you’re tempted to set yourself apart by telling some guy “I’m not like most girls,” maybe the better response would be, “I’m like all women… because, as women, we all have the power within us to be incredible.”

In order to smash those ugly preconceived ideas (those same ideas you’re trying to destroy in your song), we must first rise above them.

Keep fighting the good fight sister. Know I am fighting in the ring right alongside of you. May we be more united as women tomorrow than we were yesterday.

All of my love,

About the Author

Rachel Penate

I am a Wisconsin girl at heart who has a slight obsession with the band Switchfoot. When I was little I dreamed of becoming a professional figure skater, but instead found myself studying Education. Currently I reside in the great, yet terribly hot state of Arizona and am neither a figure skater or teacher - I joyfully serve the Church as Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Life Teen. When I'm not typing away at my desk, I'm spending time with my family, working out, or relaxing with my nose buried in a book.

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