#ToTheGirls – Positivity from the older generation of women

The last article of the #HashtagTrilogy aims to finish on a more positive note. Therefore in this article, I’ll be focusing on the hashtag #ToTheGirls.

What is the #ToTheGirls hashtag?

The hashtag #ToTheGirls was started in April 2015 by author Courtney Summers. It allows older women to impart positive advice and encouragement to younger girls struggling with the myriad of damaging, sexist messaging received. Subsequently, it has resulted in a number of heartfelt insights on confidence, romance, and many other aspects. Summers started the hashtag to provide a platform for the voices of women in a culture where young girls are simply not protected.

Why is the hashtag important?

  • Media exposes young women to barrages of criticism and expectation etc.
  • Adverts constantly seem to pit young women to certain standards – it is important to strengthen solidarity.
  • Provides a platform in which women can speak on topics like sexism and give advice.

Girls face immense pressure from society to look a certain way, act a certain way and much more. Adverts with scantily clad women receive praise. But the minute a mother begins to breastfeed in public? It is a disgrace. People tell her she should cover up. Women are abused and blamed for being a victim in the same brush stroke – even by other women. We don’t need infighting between generations. #ToTheGirls is a hashtag campaign that changes this. Although it was a hashtag created for the specific purpose of a book release, it has positive implications far-reaching into the future.

#ToTheGirls is important because it does two major things. Firstly, it helps to bolster solidarity between the female population. Secondly, it also provides a platform for women to speak on topics such as sexism and violence. In a society where young girls are increasingly socially regulated by media adverts, companies and even people close to them, it can be easy for young girls to feel alienated and alone. The hashtag #ToTheGirls goes a way to change this. Tweets make it easy for girls to access to such snippets of advice – which as mentioned can be effective in empowering them. Secondly, in giving advice to younger girls, older women can also use this opportunity to address topics which are pertinent to themselves and other women.

It sets a precedent for younger generations that anyone of any age can speak up and that it is never too late to try to make a change.

In Indian Culture

In particular, within Indian culture, there is a specific kind of archaic mentality surrounding women. This is perpetuated by the older generation of women. Aunties will often ask about your relationship situation, marriage etc. Female relatives will encourage the use of skin lightning creams on darker skinned girls. The view in India is that girls must act and look a certain demure way. There is not a lot of open empowerment in India such as that demonstrated by #ToTheGirls. This social media campaign reaches a much larger audience than before. In addition, the advice given via this hashtag can be amazingly beneficial and empowering for girls.

Even today the old patriarchal mentality is still there. Indian girls are expected to ascribe to a certain mold and are seen as subservient to males. In a male dominated society there may not be much space to publicly share advice for women by women. This social media campaign circumvents this and should be taken on by Indian women to support each other. It’s important that we stand in solidarity. Sharing advice in this way can do so much to make the outlook of girls themselves more positive.

Picture Credit – BlogHer Topic

About the Author

Jasmine Khatri is an International Relations student at the University of Birmingham. She has many interests and is aiming to work to champion women’s rights across the globe and make a positive, practical change. She is passionate about creating awareness of issues like gender stereotypes and in her free time enjoys reading and watching anime.