Young girls get a bad rap. We have an internalized imaged seared into our minds. We, consciously or subconsciously, are made to think of the annoying, dramatic, ungrateful, risk-taking, boy-mad monsters that shouldn't be taken too seriously. In fact, that is what most of history has done: not taken us "too seriously" by erasing the narrative of half the population.
As a teenage girl myself, I don't get it; I've seen women my age accomplish incredible feats with the grace and truth they're destined to bestow. Mine is a glorious perspective of my identity group by which I'd love you to be empowered. Let's sprinkle some feminist positivity around like confetti.
The following is a list of young women who altered their lives and the lives of little girls after them. These ladies engage in everything from unapologetic activism to summiting unforeseen artistic peaks to intellectual achievements that boggle to the adult mind and more. Whatever your thing is, there's a role model in here somewhere.
1. Mary ShellyGiphy
When most people turn twenty-one, they get trashed. When Mary Shelly turned twenty-one, she published her most famous novel: "Frankenstein" and invented the genre of science-fiction.
2. Claudette ColvinGiphy
Heard of Rosa Parks? Well, this fifteen-year-old firecracker actually pulled that move first. She pioneered the road of pacifism in not yielding her seat to a white man and was arrested in Alabama as a young leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
3. Malala YousafzaiGiphy
Where do I start with this angel? Malala was only eleven when she started writing articles for the BBC, describing her life under Taliban rule. When she was fifteen, Malala advocated for Pakistani girls' education and, in turn, a terrorist group shot her in the head. She survived. By the time she was young and sweet (only seventeen), she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
4. Joan of ArcGiphy
Joan rose from poverty at the age of fifteen to head her beloved French army during the battle at Joan Orléans. The French won. Experts argue that this decisive victory made England decide not to conquer France during the Hundred Years War. A national heroine with God's backing? Yes, please.
5. Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, A.K.A. LordeGiphy
This kiwi was sixteen when she broke into the music business and a short year later, she won a Grammy!
6. Mary Joachim
Arguably the first evangelist and one of the most popular saints, the Virgin Mary birthed Jesus of Nazareth (and did a whole bunch of existence-altering activities that I recommend you read for yourself in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) when she was probably twelve.
7. Bindi IrwinGiphy
Now twenty years old, Bindi has always cared about carrying on her father's legacy of conservation and the respectful awe of nature. She started early with this mission by presenting a 26-part wildlife documentary at nine years old.
8. Jazz JenningsGiphy
Jazz Jennings, a transgender girl, is famous for being one of the youngest publicly documented people to proudly identify as transgender in America. She was born in 2000!
9. Mo'Ne DavisGiphy
Being thirteen is challenging, but Mo'Ne did it better than all of us when she challenged gender stereotypes in athletics. She was the first girl to earn a pitch a flawless shutout and win the game in all of Little League World Series history.
10. Trisha PrabhuGiphy
This lovely human is a teenage advocate for anti-bullying and the brilliant inventor of the patented ReThink™ Technology, which aids servers in detecting and ending online hate.
11. Emma GonzalezGiphy
Don't call B.S. on this girl's power. As a high school senior she survived the Parkland shooting and, as a brave response, co-founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again.
12. Cleopatra VIIGiphy
Bow down, literally. Subsequent to coming to the throne at eighteen, Cleopatra ruled over Egypt for nearly three decades.
13. Kylie JennerGiphy
What can I say? Jenner is expected to become the youngest billionaire with her massively successful business. I didn't say it, Forbes did.
14. Eva Peron, A.K.A. Evita
While this Argentine woman was under twenty-five and married to her nation's president, Juan Perón, she became a vital symbol for the lower economic classes through unofficial political finessing.
15. Helena RubinsteinGiphy
An immigrant and cosmetics entrepreneur, Rubenstein was the founder of Helena Rubinstein Incorporated, which made her one of the world's richest women at a young age. Lipstick holds influence.
16. Rosalind FranklinGiphy
While all women on this list are under appreciated, Rosalind might take the cake for being stripped of recognition. Undercut by her male peers, she was at university when she discovered the double helix molecular structure of DNA, changing science forever but getting zero credit until she died.
A Hindu saint and devotee of Sri Krishna who defied social norms for her faith, need I say more?
18. Rowan Blanchard
Known just as much for her activism as her acting, Rowan Blanchard takes ownership of her voice for the next generation.
19. Alexandra Scott
Despite only living four years, Alexandra Scott left the world brighter than she found it. Before she began kindergarten, she ran an inspirational lemonade stand to raise money for childhood cancer research. Touched by her testimony and drive, people around the world set up their own lemonade stands to raise money for her cause. By the time of her passing, she had raised a million dollars.
20. Ruby BridgesGiphy
A symbol of peaceful progress, Rubi Bridges was the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school.
21. Capri Everitt
In the least selfish move of anyone's adolescences, Capri Everitt was eleven when she started raising unreal amounts of money for orphans. Using her voice to make a positive impact, she traveled to dozens of countries and sweetly sang the nation's anthem in the national language. Funny what happens when you don't silence historically oppressed groups, huh?
22. Simone BilesGiphy
Prepare to feel unathletic. Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast, with nineteen shiny Olympic and World Championship medals before she was legally allowed to drink.
23. Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur was in college, unsure of her path (#relatable) when she decided to self-publish a poetry book that was so popular that you've probably seen someone with it in a coffee shop.
24. Anne Frank
With more bravery and composure than most grown people possess, this German-born Jewish girl recorded her emotions in a diary while hiding from the Nazi party. While everyone who reads her work agrees that she deserved the world, her story doesn't have a happy ending. Frank was found and taken to a concentration camp, where she died before she turned sixteen, leaving her words as her legacy.
25. Mari Andrew
Mari Andrew represents the best of millennials. She is a young writer and illustrator in New York City with a book out. If you haven't checked out her Instagram, I recommend seeing her work. Her pieces will detangle all your frantic, knotty, intrusive thoughts.
Women are really out here trying to do the right thing.