meghan day

MEGHAN DAY, 17, on transforming labels, pushing herself and being a successful CEO


ORIGIN: What are the labels/ words you’ve been called that impacted you and how did you transform them?
Meghan Day:
“Dumb,” “annoying,” “weird,” and I transformed them by making a change in myself by studying more and trying harder in school and just realizing that I am who I am and I can’t change that so if people don’t accept me for who I am then they don’t deserve to have an influence on my life. And this is just something that I tell myself and want to do, but sometimes I can’t always do that and will occasionally conform and try to change things about myself such as my clothing style or the things I say in order to “fit in” even though I know it is wrong.

ORIGIN: Any relating to your body or appearance or sexuality?
MD:
Relating to my body: “small,” “weak,” “dumb blonde.” To transform that, especially in sports, I did things on my own time, pushed myself, and proved people wrong by doing the things they thought I couldn’t do. My favorite thing to do is to see they thought I couldn’t do.

ORIGIN: How do you feel your value is established in our culture?
MD:
My value in culture in other people’s eyes is that I am just an average teenager who will be “irresponsible” and “make bad decisions” and not make any impact on society and in the culture. Especially for a teenage girl there are stereotypes that make me think I don’t need to be smart or try hard because I can always “marry rich” and they make me believe that I can’t be the successful CEO, but rather marry one. But I believe that I do have a value in culture and I want my voice heard because my opinions should matter!


McElle Kelley

McElle Kelley, 17, on standing up and expressing your personality


ORIGIN: What are the labels/ words you’ve been called that have impacted you and how did you transform them?
McElle Kelley:
“Sassy,” “annoying,” “indecisive,” and “pushy.” I deal with them by speaking my mind and standing up for what I believe and not basing things off of what others may think or believe, and having a voice for myself and not living up to the expectations of those surrounding me.

ORIGIN: How do you feel your value is established in our culture?
MK:
By showing others that expressing your personality and values to others is how we can be heard and sharing them in order to make the change we want to establish and allowing everyone to have the voice they want and be able to speak for themselves and not feel as though they are being shadowed upon or judged by those around them.


Ily Nicholette

Ily Nicholette Logeais, 15, on being in a corner and feeling powerless.


ORIGIN: What are the labels/ words you’ve been called that impacted you and how did you transform them?
Ily Nicholette Logeais:
I’ve been called ugly, fat, too tomboy, not good enough, stupid, irrelevant, bitch. I have yet to try and make a truly positive spin off of these terms; I can only accept them and reflect upon myself.

ORIGIN: Any relating to your body or appearance or sexuality? How did you transform them?
INL:
Being called too tomboy, ugly, and fat were directed towards my appearance and were the toughest to deal with, I think. Those were the ones I went home and thought about the most, wondering if I should stop eating or wear more makeup or just try and do anything so that I could stop being labeled. In the long run all it took was for a few people to say things like this to me and my mind did the rest. From these comments, I was able to back myself into a corner. It took a long time, I’m actually probably not even there yet, to be able to block those feelings and ideas out. But, it helped me to learn that I can.

ORIGIN: How do you feel your value is established in our culture?
INL:
I feel powerless a lot of the time. But, I think that drives me forward. Knowing that I am a very lucky person being born in America, where many many freedoms have been bestowed, and I still feel very powerless at times, I cannot imagine how women and men in countries where basic human rights have little to no meaning are feeling. That drives me forward to want to bring awareness and promote understanding so that everyone can be involved and invested in making tomorrow better. I’ve learned to take a lot of shit from people, but that’s life and the quicker you learn to suck it up the easier it’s going to be to move on. Once you move past what others are saying, you can get on with your life and truly begin to find yourself and help others, and in the end I hope that’s all that matters.


grace boyle

Grace Boyle, 17, on expectations, mindfulness and insecurity.



ORIGIN: What are the labels/words you’ve been called that impacted you and how did you transform them?
Grace Boyle:
I’ve been called quiet and for some reason that really bothered me. I feel like girls in this generation are expected to be loud and fun, which “quiet” usually isn’t. I wanted to transform this by putting myself out there and trying to find positions of leadership to show that I wasn’t quiet and that I could step out of my comfort zone. I think especially being a girl it’s a little more difficult to try and run for office of a club or even just speak in a crowd. Not only do you have to look nice, you have to be funny, but not too funny, and say the perfect thing. Anyhow, trying to get rid of my quiet reputation since middle school has been something I have been changing.

ORIGIN: Any relating to your body or appearance or sexuality? How did you transform them?
GB:
Relating to my body, I have been called fat indirectly. I’m a bigger girl; I’m tall and not very skinny. Entering my sophomore year in high school I was very insecure because seeing on tv, even media calls you fat. Just seeing models starving themselves made me want to do the same. In an attempt to try and transform myself, at first I did as any other insecure girls did, which was trying to limit eating, workout more, etc. I later got into mindfulness and realized how important it is to accept who you are and love yourself. In the beginning I heard people talking about loving themselves and I didn’t understand, but once I put my mind to it, I was able to accept who I am.

ORIGIN: How do you feel your value is established in our culture?
GB:
I feel many girls in the U.S. are insecure with their bodies or who they are inside. The reason I believe this occurs is due to the exposure to “perfect” people in media, so these girls (and boys) don’t realize how unrealistic it may be to be “perfect.” I feel many girls in the U.S. are insecure with their bodies or who they are inside.


anniston ward

Annieston Ward on being called a feminist and not having perfect bodies



ORIGIN: What are the labels/words you’ve been called that have impacted you and how did you transform them?
Anniston Ward:
I’ve been scrutinized for being a feminist; however, what most people don’t understand is the true denotation of the word “feminism” and that it represents the equality of both sexes, not the superiority of women over men.

ORIGIN: Any relating to your body, appearance, or sexuality? How did you transform them?
AW:
In our society today there is such a small variety of the ideal “body type” a young woman should have. These “perfect” bodies are shown in the media through models and different advertisements. If a girl doesn’t follow these characteristics, insecurity is shot in the girl because she feels like she can’t live up to being perfect. I’ve definitely had a lack of confidence not from what someone has told me directly, but rather what the media is trying to tell young women, which is truly heartbreaking.


BRIGETTE Agnew

Brigette Agnew, 17, on not listening and taking a stand in feminist groups.



ORIGIN: What are the labels/words you’ve been called that have impacted you and how did you transform them?
Brigette Agnew:
“Bitch,” “slut,” “annoying,” “loud,” “weird.” I just didn’t listen and tried not to let other people’s words define who I am.

ORIGIN: How do you feel your value is established in our culture?
BA:
I think women are still considered less than men, although immensely better than our past, however it is still degrading to me personally. I believe that taking a stand in feminist groups helps us voice our value, and I believe that believing in myself can really make an impact on myself as well as others around me.


lila reinecke

Lila Reinecke, 17 on the word feminists, standing tall and her passion

ORIGIN: What are the labels/words you’ve been called that impacted you and how did you transform them?
Lila Reinecke:
“Bossy,” “feminist,” “over-passionate.” I’ve accepted them. People say the word “feminist” with such a negative connotation and I try to remember and think about what it truly means to be a feminist and what feminists are fighting for. People who think I am bossy or over-passionate are truly scared of a powerful young girl who isn’t afraid to say and project what she believes in.

ORIGIN: Any relating to your body or appearance or sexuality?
LR:
I’ve been called short my entire life. It’s something that defines who I am.

ORIGIN: How did you transform them?
LR:
I stand tall in everything I do and I never let it discourage me.

ORIGIN: How do you feel your value is established in our culture?
LR:
I feel my value would be nothing if I didn’t try to have a place in our culture. If I didn’t project who I am and try to push things I am passionate about relentlessly, I would never be heard.

Photos: Amanda Conde Photography

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