So, after witnessing atrocities like #uglygirlsarenotallowed unfold and run rampage across Twitter, you would think a TT like #everygirlisbeautifulandspecial would be music to my ears.
However, it appears that I am never happy, and so this irks me greatly as well. At first glance, what a lovely message. I’m so glad this a top trending topic. On the surface, it’s a really great thing for people to be putting out there.
But it’s not just that. And it’s not as good as it seems. This hashtag is bad in so many ways. First of all, whoever started it chose to use the word girl, instead of woman. I can’t help right now but be that person who nitpicks about semantic issues. There are so many reasons not to use the word girl when referring to all females. Girl is belittling. It’s very often sexist. It paints a picture of childlike women who need protecting, rather than being able to protect themselves. There’s a wealth of information about this topic floating around out there, but a very quick google search yielded this article, which I enjoy.
Then there’s the issue with the message of this hashtag. ‘Every girl is beautiful and special.’ Well, I just don’t think that’s true. Because, you see, here’s the thing about
girls women: they’re all special and beautiful they’re just people. In the same way that boys men are just people. Just people. Some are beautiful and special. Some are really shit. When you say that every girl is beautiful and special, think about what it is that you’re saying. Is she beautiful and special simply because she is a girl? What about Myra Hindley? Is she beautiful and special?
Another issue with the message is the word ‘beautiful’, and how female physical beauty is perceived and valued in our society*. What this hashtag tells me is that, a as a girl, the highest compliment I can hope to receive is to be called beautiful. What about being intelligent? What about being kind?
The opposite of misogyny is not coddling ‘girls’ and treating them as though they should be celebrated for the simple act of being female. It is treating women as equals. #everygirlisbeautifulandspecial is not what we need.
* The retort to this is always something along the lines of ‘it doesn’t mean physical beauty, it means being beautiful as a person.’ Well, I just don’t believe that.