My Birthday Letter

As a birthday present to myself, I thought I’d write an open letter to the girls of the world. This is inspired by a special CNN did called Girl Rising where anyone could submit an open letter to the girls of the world via their website. That project is now closed, but I continue to be inspired reading letters from the likes of Christiane Amanpour, Queen Rania of Jordan, America Ferrera, Gloria Steinem, and other celebrated women.

Posted here exclusively is my letter:

Dear Girls of the World,

Some of you will eschew the word “feminist” because you believe in equality between the genders. “Feminism” sounds, and is sometimes used contextually, as if it condones world domination by women. A better substitute is the word gylany, which means a society based on equality between the genders.

Most of us do not live in a gylanist society, but we are growing that way and there is much you can do to foster it. Here are twelve of my suggestions for doing so.

  1. Think freely and for yourself; you don’t have to take my suggestions or anyone else’s.
  2. Learn to love reading; continue to read and learn for your whole life.
  3. If you rail against emulating your culture’s female role models or icons, find a new role model or create your own in the powerful realm of your imagination.
  4. Travel. The world is, in general, a less scary place than you may have been raised to believe.
  5. You can do it all, but not at the same time. Commit to a goal, and see it through without distraction. Commitment dispels the confusion you might feel about what you are supposed to do in the world. You cannot make a wrong choice about this.
  6. Seek a variety of friends from backgrounds that are different than yours; talk with friends more often about ideas rather than about other people.
  7. You can live your life the way you so desire it. Don’t let anyone take away the pen that writes your own life story; it is yours alone.
  8. Beware of gurus who tell you the world is black and white, with clear cut rules for right and wrong;  especially beware of anyone touting rules about your sexuality or body.
  9. Exercise; dance; be athletic; learn martial arts or self defense.
  10. Remember that everyone is doing their very best, especially when it doesn't seem like it.
  11. Seek to grow, connect, and contribute; that’s what we are here on this planet to do.
  12. Love without fear, and never be ashamed of who and what you love.