31 August 2015

The Troubles Girls Face in Today's Society


Let me tell you something—I'm not the most educated feminist out there, so what I have written for this post may not exactly be the most applicable and carry much weight, but this is something that has been running in my head for quite some time and I felt the need to write this. 

I had also edited this several times because the original draft included references that wouldn't be great for ten-year-olds to read, which I know is what some of my blog demographics consist of. If, later, you wish to talk to me on your views of this post or gender equality in gender, feel free to in the comments.

If the media of society ended up having a standards checklist as to how to achieve to be what is, in reality, a false photo of perfect, I—along with many others, I presume—will end up failing it, because no one can fit all the requirements.

This is my height chart-- it's not an official one since this was one that I made two summers ago.

“Are you tall, skinny and pretty?” This is probably the number one biggest thing with me: I am not tall. Compared to people in the Philippines, I am, but in the United States, where I live, I am short. I’ve barely reached the five-foot mark (approximately 1.5 meters). Compared to some, I am skinny. As for whether I am pretty or not, a lot of people who have met me for the first time do compliment that I am pretty, but that is not something that I can ultimately decide. I don’t know.

“Do you like boys, and/or are you dating?” If you mean crushing on boys in the question context, I absolutely do not. I don’t have a boyfriend, nor do I ask for one. I do have guy friends though, but it is all very platonic.

“What are you labeled?” This question right here bothers me, but I’m not a queen bee. No, I am a writer, bookworm, nerd and theatre geek, but why is it that society is trying to label me into this box of constraints as if it’s the only thing that defines me.

Those are just some of the questions that could be on this list. There could be more. You know that it’s not written, but you know society has it there.

Gender roles and expectations have begun to change since around the second half of the twentieth century. Before, it was that the women did all of the housework and the males ended up going to work. You can see that, for more than fifty years, that gender roles of society have ended up being less restricted and are given more leeway. My parents both work, cook, and do the chores. I bet for most of you, it’s the same.

Since that time of the twentieth century, we have come a long way, but still we are fighting for gender equality.

Today, I ultimately just realized something: female characters in Young Adult books—the more popular ones in the fantasy and dystopia genres, anyway—and Disney Princesses never seem to have any appearance problems, physically. Literally, ask yourselves: have you ever seen a fat Disney Princess before?

Some people on Tumblr who are fangirling over Moana, the new Walt Disney Animation Studios movie set to be released next year, want the titular character to be fat. Looking at the official art from the Disney D23 Expo, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon. It would have been nice though, because not only could have the new princess represent another ethnic race or background other than Caucasian, it could would also introduce the fact that people have different body figures. Not everyone is skinny.

This is a photo of my eye, with no makeup, unedited. I won't be mentioning anything about makeup because I have already addressed it in another post.

Super showy clothing can be uncomfortable to look at, and I bet some of you can sympathize. Maybe to some, showy clothing is for cultural reasons, like if the climate is hot, and that’s something I totally respect, but what I dislike is when people wear showy clothing to attract guys. I had come back to edit this part after originally drafting it, and I did end up using more words that “attract guys”, but had edited it for reasons I explained in the beginning. The words that were originally in my head were things that shouldn't be thought of, but because society's exposure to situations like these at such a young age, it's as if it is common knowledge now.

What you should keep in mind is this: Women and men should not be treated as something lesser than a person. Everyone should be equal, and should not be thought of anything less, like as a slave or an object.

Anyone and everyone should be judged solely based on their character and their morals, and not based on anything else.

Speaking of boys, teenage girls should not be defined going boy crazy once they enter the teen years. This shouldn’t even be close. Not all teenage girls go boy crazy, okay? We shouldn’t be placed into, again, a box of constraints because it seems to be the best fitting. There are some girls who will crush on guys but there are others who just want to eat a bucket of ice cream and watch Netflix at two a.m. in the morning because that’s just the way they want it, and hey, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

There is no shame in eating ice cream. I ate and took a photo of this at eleven in the evening, with the sun still out.

Boys aren’t our—"our" meaning us girls—entire lives. There was a character on a Filipino show that I watched who was in an unstable mental state because her ex-boyfriend didn’t date her anymore and the only way she would recover was if her ex ended up staying with her for two years in London.

Gladly, her character’s state did improve, but what I’m asking is, why? Why did she need to be with her ex-boyfriend? Was it because she didn’t feel his love anymore? Come on; whether she knows it or not, she is loved, by her parents and by her ex, even if not in a romantic way. No matter what, she is loved. You are loved, reader, even if you feel like a pile of poop because something bad rained on your parade.

You don’t need to necessarily be in a romantic relationship to feel that there are those surrounding you that do love and support you.

Now, let’s go back to when I was in the fourth grade, which was quite some time ago. It was an extremely rainy or snowy day, I can’t remember exactly, but everyone was required to stay inside the building for recess. There were two choices we could have chosen: either we could draw with numerous gel pens, which were what most girls were doing, or we could play with the LEGOs.

Still being the weirdo that I am, you can probably decide which one I chose. It’s not that gel pens weren’t fun, it was just that day, I was craving to play with LEGOs, but sadly, I was the only girl who thought that way, and everyone gave my questioning looks. Why should it be that boys and girls are restricted to their gender based activities in elementary?

No one has ever called me a nerd or a bookworm, but because I fit that stereotype I am constantly being segregated to stay with people who are more like me, and though I do have friends from different social groups, I tend to end up stick with people in “my group.” It's like an unspoken agreement that we are just stereotypes and we must stick together with those of our stereotype. Why should this confine me into doing other things?

I may be a girl, but I don't always wear dresses. I like wearing jeans and leggings.

I may be a girl, but I'm capable of higher math and science. I may be a girl, but that doesn’t mean I’m not able to help carry chairs back to our classroom—which sadly, this accusation, by a teacher did, happen to me this past year. Being a girl shouldn't be an insult. I am much more capable of doing much more than what my labels stereotype me as, and I wish society could see that.

Why is it that most media does this to us, making us feel like we should alter our image just to reach their perfection? Mediums such as television, books, and music are supposed to be escapes from reality, not another way to chain us up and hurt us.

Most.

Notice how I used the word two paragraphs up ahead, most? There is some media that does help and benefit, to bring positivity, like when I posted about The Daylight Project the first year I began to blog. There are songs, like Try and Brave that help empower those feeling as if society is restricting them.

Believe it or not, our blog is a form of media. We could end up spreading either love or hate. We could sit around and do nothing. But there are some things—strongly held opinions, for example—that we should share. Or, we don’t have to.

But the decision of what you want to do is all up to you.

P.S. Feel strongly about gender equality and want to take action? I would suggest you look into the  Equality Rights Amendment, and read about it here here

30 comments:

  1. A very dominant post Morning! I COMPLETELY agree with you about the Disney Animation part. It's ridiculous how they are always caucasian! The only princess we got that ACTUALLY WASEN'T caucasian was The Frog and the Princess. I'm short and skinny too, but I really didn't like it when people used to say 'OH YOU'RE SO SKINNY!' When really I was not 'SO' skinny. The whole boy crazy thing confuses me though (not what you was saying about it), I've seen all those typical girly girls in the movies who are OBSESSED with boys. But I'm not sure how they are in real life, coz CLEARLY they exaggerate in the movies...Do they?

    An amazing post Morning! You truly are an outstanding writer :)

    I'm having a Blogger Choice Awards. Check it out? Your choice ~ shinenelevate.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you, Rukiya! Technically, there are five princesses in the Disney Princess line that aren't Caucasian: Pochahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Jasmine, and now Moana, but I get your point. Yeah, people tell me that I'm skinny too, and I'm thinking, "Really?" There are others who say things that are bipolar when it comes to me eating, saying, "Go! Keep eating my cooking; I insist!" Then they state five minutes later that I'm eating too much and I should cut on it. Um... Hello? THEY JUST TOLD ME TO EAT MORE. I usually tend to try and push that away, but it's just so hard, you know?

      About boy-craziness... Most people I have surrounded myself with aren't necessarily the sort that would go boy crazy, but watching from an outside point-of-view, I'm pretty sure that it gets pretty exaggerated. The thing about movies and parts of media, a lot of times, is that they tend to exaggerate things but often the core does hold, to some size, a certain truth.

      Gosh, I hope I haven't arrived too late on the Bloggers Choice Awards! I've been away from my laptop all week and waiting at a pizzeria is the only opening of free time I have. Once I finish commenting I will check it out.

      xoxo Morning

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  2. I made a post similar to this, but more focused on society's obsession with forcing girls to measure themselves on how guys view them. But I totally agree--I'm so angry how females are pushed down low in society. I've been watching old TV shows, and I want to scratch me eyes out watching grown women be treated like children. And things haven't changed; people are just better at masking their condescending air in order to keep women happy.

    So I say, skip 'em. I honestly don't care if people think I'm pretty or the right size or whatever. Do you know, my friend's mom commented the other day and said that my "butt looked 'better' " than it did when I met them. Like...what? What does that even mean? And why does it matter if my body looks good? The moment I start worrying about the shape of my body is the moment I've given myself over to be judged by the world, not by God.

    So who cares what people think, right? I'm gonna use the talent that I know God gave me to glorify Him, and I'll block out what people say about my gender or race or age or religious background or whatever.

    Loved this post, girl.

    (P.S. dude, I still get down there and play with LEGOs with my brother. no shame)

    O | Life as a Young Lady

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    1. Hey, Olivia! Actually, it was kind of because of your post several months ago that I decided to write this-- along with Ella of Simply Scribbles' post about feminism. It's a very important issue that should be discussed and should very much be taken seriously. ;) I haven't watched much older shows because of my limited television watching times, but I see it so much in movies and read it in books... It's like as if society is uncertain of all of these change being upon in today's world. I wish they could be more open-minded.

      I so agree with you; it doesn't matter what our body, gender or race looks like or is as long as it pleases God, because we should be living the way He wants us to live and not how the world wants us to live. Also, I agree: what in the world is up with that comment your friend's mom have you? That literally makes no sense. >.<

      xoxo Morning

      P.S. I wish we had more LEGOs at home; there is only one box set at home and it's just... Ugh. THERE IS NO SHAME IN PLAYING WITH LEGOS.

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  3. I absolutely hate labels. The problem with society is that no matter how much people say we've changed, they all still buy into the stereo-types. It's hindering everyone's experience and these unspoken rules really need to go.

    When it comes to body shape in books and movies, I guess it all relates back to those stereo-types. We all want to read about perfect people with perfect appearances. It's stupid but it's true.

    There are so many disappointments in society, and yeah I guess we can speak up about it on our blogs, but I doubt it's going to be changing any time soon. What we can do is change our own perception of everything. If we don't believe in stereo-types, then who's to say they exist?

    -M
    The Life of Little Me

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    1. You're right: society buys into stereotypes, and they crave perfection. Perfect characters, perfect storyline, blah blah blah, you get the gist. Like, I'm pretty sure Clary from the Mortal Instruments and Bella from Twilight, a lot of the series was heavily reliant on the love triangle drama. And while I do agree that gender equality won't change any time soon, I believe that it can happen, if people are educated about the subject matter, and that what I was trying to attain while writing this post. It can change, but it's going to take a very long time.

      xoxo Morning

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  4. Yes yes yes! I love this and can relate to this on so many levels. Thank you for sharing this <3
    Your eye is beautiful hahah:)
    xoxo

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    1. D'aww, thank you, Arushee! I'm so glad that you can relate; I wish society would change fast, but it won't be for another while... Also, if people saw me, they would say I would look so tired (circles under my eyes appear hereditary in my family, so it doesn't help). :)

      xoxo Morning

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  5. I totally agree! Everything in this post was true! And it's ridiculous that they refuse to make a princess a different body type! I also do not like labels!

    And also, I hate society have made people believe it's ok to say one thing to someone's face and say another behind their back. I have, in the past, been called fat behind my back. When I asked the same person if I was fat, they said I wasn't!

    A fabulous and totally relatable post!

    Ps. You're eye is gorgeous! Xoxo

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    1. I'm so glad you agree, Miss Internet! Even in other animation companies like Dreamworks don't have many regularly-proportioned characters. I'm still waiting for the day they'll make a fat Disney Princess... And labels are just wrong. It's just a way to categorize something-- well, technically someone-- and to possibly cause someone to just judge.

      Ah, you've hit the jackpot; what I despise even more than anything else in the world are two-faced people. I cannot stand them at all, and many times in the past I have confronted them. The best option to do is to speak out about it.

      Thank you so much! I'm glad that this was a post that you could heavily relate to. ^.^

      xoxo Morning

      P.S. You're too kind <3

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  6. You go girl! Everything you listed in this post was soooo true! I mean seriously. You read my mind. :) And I just listened to "Brave". I think I found myself a new favorite song! <3
    Thanks for being incredibly awesome and sharing this post with us! You truly inspired me. <3

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    1. Thank you thank you, Eve! Gender equality is such an important matter with me and I really have wanted to share it for several months now. And I'm so glad that you love "Brave"! It's one of my favorites (and a song that I can totally dance weird to; totally applicable with the lyrics)!

      xoxo Morning

      P.S. Love your recent post about body image, by the way. Holds so much truth. <3

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  7. Great post! I don't fit any particular label, and that makes me happy. It frustrates me, too, how society defines girls as helpless, boy-crazy, dumb, etc. Why can't we just be who we are? Well, again, awesome post! xx

    Shine on,
    GirlRadio

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    1. I seriously love your comment; I recently had to read a paper by Martin Buber about I-You and I-It an in the paper it talks about how we tend to categorize things, causing to take away from the relationship someone has between someone/something.... Does that make any sense? I wish people would just take every individual as they are and not into so many divided parts.

      xoxo Morning

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  8. I agree with you completely here. This is such an inspirational post, which outlines multiple points that need to be heard.

    Because yes, our society is improving for women in some ways, yet the conservative attitudes that so many people continue to grasp onto by the rim truly need to be diminished.

    It's not as if it's a particularly difficult task either; and it can easily be achieved through taking the numerous minor steps, which all add up to the bigger, better picture. The promotion of body confidence, through the creation of cartoon characters with a range of body shapes or features, is a fantastic start - as such characters, especially those designed by corporations like Disney, are often amongst some of the first major influences within the life of a young girl, or boy for that matter.

    The music industry needs to change quite drastically - in the way that many artists must stop portraying women as objects or animals, rather than the independent and strong people that they truly are.

    Love needs to be portrayed as something that is more universal, and not simply something that is based on sexual attraction or romance. In our teenage years, the love that is felt through family and friendship needs to be valued to a much further extent; and both girls and boys alike need to be able to know that they do not need a romantic relationship to prove to them that they are lovable.

    In addition to this, girls need to be able to grow up understanding that their fundamental duties in life are to be wedded and made to raise a family. Of course, this concept appeals to so many, but it isn't for everyone - and that is okay. All people should have equal opportunities, and no girl should be told that she is unable to pursue her ideal career due to the fact that her gender is unstereotypical to such a job.

    I've rambled on a bit, I'm afraid. An excellent post!

    Kate x
    www.theteenaspect.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. First off, I keep going back and just keep reading your comment because you make so many excellent points-- I'm really glad that I can finally comment back, because I have so much to say in response to your comment, too.

      The world is conservative, and to some degree I can't blame them: change is an extremely hard thing to come by before it is accepted. Even though in America we have achieved racial equality, there is still so much prejudice held to people of color. Disney is such a great industry in the sense that it has inspired many people, in fact, it's often the first sort of company kids come in contact to. I'm glad that last year, Disney released Big Hero 6, where the team consisted of not just a biracial protagonist, but also a multicultural group that doesn't necessarily cling to any racial stereotypes. Still, I have to say that Disney, along with other media, has a long way to go.

      I am so glad you pointed out music. The music from 2008 through 2012 will always be my favorite, because yes, it did have songs that did sexualize women, but it wasn't as prominent as the music that we have now. I was on a teen empowerment magazine site that requested on how teen girls felt about sexualized music. I know how disgusting songs can be, and I have never felt more disgusted in my life.

      The same has to go for love. In a sense, the form of media that we have does tend to dwell a lot about love, and often times love tends to stir from tension... not necessarily the case. Some people don't perceive that to some people, they are love unconditionally.

      Girls should have equal opportunities, and while it is the traditional way for girls to eventually grow up, wed, and have children, they shouldn't be just confined to that just being the only thing to do. Girls can do so much more, and while in many parts of Western civilization women have had more opportunities, it doesn't hold the exact case in many other parts of the world, too.

      No need to worry about the rambling; this is literally one of my favorite comments right now. ^.^

      xoxo Morning

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  9. Yes, yes, yes! I love this post.
    One thing that annoys me in many teen books are how girls are portrayed. Most "strong" female characters are portrayed as very rarely wearing makeup and dresses. It's implied that this makes them stronger and more against the norm. Now, if you want to do that, that's totally cool! It's great to do what you like, wear what you like, and not be pressured to put on makeup.
    But quite often the girls that do wear more makeup and wear dresses and skirts more often are portrayed as the mean girls. I don't think that's fair. I wear makeup and like to wear dresses and skirts, and in lots of teen literature these days, that would place me as the mean girl. Why is that? I don't wear those things to impress anyone else, I wear them because they make me feel good. I don't think that girls should be put down and told that that makes them either a mean, popular girl or the best friend that grew up to fast and forgot themselves.
    I'm not saying in any way that girls should have to dress up or wear makeup. That's not my point. I just don't think that girls should be put down because of what they like to wear or lumped into stereotypes. I think that it's important to wear things that make YOU feel good about yourself.

    Sorry for the long rant ♥
    Amy xx

    Little Moon Dragon

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    1. I dislike... well, let me back up. It's either that girls are either soft and kind or strong and hardcore now in media, but the problem is that there can be a balance. I like the revival portrayal of Cinderella that came out this year because Ella was a girl who did wear dresses and was fancier, but she did end up holding her own kind of strength, which was still to have courage and be kind, even though the cruelness her stepfamily forced her to undergo.

      There was this one time when I was at my cousins house and they were watching a movie called Mean Girls, and these said "mean girls" were over the top with the way that they dress and act. Um, seriously? I knew a girl from fourth grade whose parents made her wear dresses and skirts to school every single day, and she wasn't any of those stereotypes at all. I tend to wear jeans and just a regular t-shirt to school and while others wear these vests from Forever 21 on a daily basis, and yet, I and these other people are boxed into categories. People should be able to wear what makes them feel good about themselves, but well, right now, my school and the super strict dress policy isn't clicking with many people.

      xoxo Morning

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  10. YES MORNING YES YES

    The first thing that needs to change is all the people singing and rapping about women that makes them seem like toys and objects.

    Second, we need to stop calling things 'girl things' and 'boy things'

    And third we need to stop thinking women always wear fancy clothing and always wear makeup and aren't as strong as boys and aren't as capable of doing stuff.

    I agree with pretty much everything you said and all the things these amazing people said.

    I loved this post oh my goodness

    ~Noor

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    1. Pretty much, people do sing (and sometimes, dance) as if women are toys or objects, and honestly, people have no idea how much that grinds my gears. So much. It annoys me to the point that I have to fum angrily when people are talking or else I get into a crazy rant, and let's just say that it's not exactly the best time to have younger ears listening.

      Like, what is up with "girl" versus "boy" things? Sure, some of the toys cater to one gender, but people should just stop. There are toys that are meant for both genders, like LEGOs.

      And why... like, who said that men are the more dominant race and said that women aren't as equal? Ugh. WE ARE ALL EQUAL NO MATTER OUR RACE, GENDER, OR OTHERS' SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

      xoxo Morning

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  11. I am new to your blog and this post was really strong, it was really good and something that needed to be said and you said it very well. If you have any free time would you mind having a look at my blog. Thanks and well done on a really good post.

    So and so

    thelifeofsoandso.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, So and So! As you can see, I'm pretty busy, but once I have a bit of free time I will check your blog out!

      xoxo Morning

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  12. I'm in total agreement about the stereotyping and gender expectations of girls. I'm nearly 21. I've never had a boyfriend. I don't wear make-up on a daily basis. I'm not fat, but I'm not willow wand skinny either. And I don't like partying, shopping, or any other typical girl pursuits. And it's also sad when people see this as being strange. So what if I like to watch the motor racing, or I enjoy doing typically men's jobs. The portrayal of girls in books, on TV and especially in music really reinforces an idea of girls that most people can't hope to match up to. And I think that's where media currently falls over. We're held to a standard that almost no one can achieve. We're placed up against models of beauty when no one looks like that naturally. We're fitted into little boxes of what girls should and shouldn't do, and we're labelled as 'weird' if we're too individual. To all my fellow 'weird' girls, we're unique and that's something to be proud of. We can all be proud of who we are, without needing to pine after being some unrealistic ideal of what it means to be a girl.

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    1. Whoa, you're nearly 21? I never thought that; I actually thought you were eighteen. ^.^ I think that as we grow older, though some of the teenage girl stereotypes just fall away, there are much more stereotypes that are waiting in the adult world. Like you, I've never dated, wear make-up daily, just average on body type, and I dislike partying, shopping, etc. For a girl to watch motor racing or doing men's jobs... Like, how, why, are people viewing this as strange? My dad sometimes stereotypes via his actions; he often asks my brother to help him with mowing the lawn and I sit inside of the house, complaining that I can't do certain jobs just because I'm a girl. As M said above, society is attracted to perfection. Who isn't attracted to being perfect, in one way or another? That's why many tend to write stories, songs, or shows about people striving to achieve a goal that ultimately would bring them happiness. But people know, but often tend to ignore, that perfection is nonexistent.

      I high-five you; being a weird girl is something to be proud of, rather than being a perfect girl. It's just not realistic to be perfect.

      xoxo Morning

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  13. I commend you for taking a stand and expressing your opinion on this tender subject! I agree that women are more than the culture gives us credit for, but I also must mention that the same can be said for men. In reality, the society had pathetic expectations for everyone these days and we must combat this degradation with action, not just protests. Character over complements. Strength over show. Grace over game.

    And yes, a regular proportioned Disney Princess!!!

    Go Girl!

    Hannah ~Grace in Everything~

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    1. Thank you, Hannah! I did not mean to leave out that men can also deal with the stereotypes and the discrimination. When I'm at school, when a guy does something dumb, people would call him rather inappropriate names that I do not wish to write here, but often refer to as originating from women, thus pretty much saying that a man is week. There are many things that you said-- especially character-- that we need to focus on much more.

      There should be a petition to have a regular proportioned Disney Princess. XD I think the closest they've gotten is maybe Rapunzel? I don't know. :/

      xoxo Morning

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  14. I'm glad people are finally noticing these issues, because I find them just plain stupid. I really like the tone of the post, how you sounded passionate, but not like you were yelling. Great job!

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    1. Thanks, Mia! Gender equality... it's such an important topic for me. I had to speak out about it.

      xoxo Morning

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  15. Thank you for writing this post..just thank you!

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Hi there, reader! Thank you so, so much for having time to read my posts and comment; I really appreciate it, and I promise I will try to reply back! I'd also love it if you would follow my blog too and spread the word; that would make my day. :D Have a great day!

Stay strong and wonderful!
xoxo Morning