If you’re like me, you were slightly too excited as an adult when it was announced Disney Channel would be launching a sequel series to the ever popular 90s family sitcom, Boy Meets World. The new show, Girl Meets World, follows Riley, daughter of Cory and Topanga, as she and her friends navigate growing up in New York City. But, of course, this is all old news. Girl Meets World is already into its third season! As a twenty-something (or older) grown up, it’s fun to catch an episode every once in awhile for the nostalgia it brings. While Cory and Topanga are regulars on the show, any time Shawn, Eric, Minkus, or even Mr. Turner comes around, it’s always bound to be a good time and bring back some memories of your childhood. In the end though, this show isn’t for us. While the story lines may be addressing some of the very same issues we faced growing up, it’s done for an audience that is coming of age in a world very different from our own. Even more impressive than the way the show has addressed some of these issues on the screen, is the way star Rowan Blanchard has been addressing them off screen.
Rowan Blanchard may only be fourteen years old, but the girl is gaining a lot of attention and for good reason. Here are 6 reasons why you should want your daughter, niece, little sister, or even next door neighbor to look up to Rowan Blanchard:
She’s fashionable, but she keeps it classy and age appropriate.
Growing up I’m sure you remember wanting to dress older and wear makeup, but your mom said you were too young or you needed to dress your age. Today is no different. I mean, a fourteen year old probably doesn’t need to be dressing in a way that makes her look thirty. Fashion and makeup is fun and a way we can express our individuality, but we shouldn’t allow it to be an agent of lost youth. Rowan is a perfect example of being fashionable and fashion forward without compromising her youth. In an interview with TeenVogue magazine Rowan states, “It’s important to me to play and be daring while not appearing like I’m trying to grow up too quickly—it’s a hard balance. A lot of young girls walk around in high heels and tight dresses and don’t look comfortable…It’s assumed that you have to wear stilettos to parties. Rebelling against that rule is more fun.”
She’s a feminist.
In fact, she was named one of 2015’s Feminist Celebrities of the Year based on an online survey from the Ms. Foundation for Women. The title may simply be the results of a survey, but it shows us her voice is being heard and that’s what is important. She may be young, but she actually knows what she’s talking about. She believes women should be allowed to be who they want to be, make decisions concerning their own bodies, and build each other up. She also knows it can’t just work for some women, it has to work for all women, no matter your race, sexuality, or socio-economic background. Check out the clip she shared on her Instagram of her speech for the UN Women’s Conference as a part of #HeForShe:
She’s pro-friendship and anti-squad.
In and interview with Just Jared Jr., Rowan talks about how female friendship is a “beautiful” and “insanely powerful” thing, but the “squads” we see being paraded in the media are “polarizing” for anyone who doesn’t fit the mold. Rowan’s position is showing young girls that instead of making each other feel excluded, they should be embracing each other and building each other up—an important lesson to learn in the formative teen years.
She isn’t afraid to talk about her issues.
A lot of young people are afraid to talk about their issues for fear of being ridiculed or not fitting in to the stereotype society has set for us. Rowan shows young girls it’s okay to talk about what is going on in your mind and your heart. She uses one particularly insightful and fearless Instagram post to share about how she has dealt with depression and is learning to love herself. Writes Rowan, “I feel more connected to myself as a person knowing that I will never have it all figured out- and that’s for the better. I developed a camaraderie of versions of myself that I can trust to take care of me when I feel thrown off, which is often. I think I learned (and am still re-learning) that in order to actually spend the rest of your life with yourself contently, you must truthfully fall in love with yourself.” You can read the entire post below:
2015 is the most memorable year of my life. It was the first year that I learned how powerful it is to be by yourself- not necessarily in a relationship sense- but to be by myself & be content. I became more forgiving with my own actions. I feel more connected to myself as a person knowing that I will never have it all figured out- and that's for the better. I developed a camaraderie of versions of myself that I can trust to take care of me when I feel thrown off, which is often. I think I learned (and am still re-learning) that in order to actually spend the rest of your life with yourself contently, you must truthfully fall in love with yourself. I became more unapologetic- I am realizing that we are young and things that may seem like the end of the world now, while still very important, will not be the end of the world in the long run. We can live through them. As I found myself, this year in particular, going through ups and downs with depression, I realized that instead of rejecting and ostracizing these teenage feelings (human feelings), I can learn to love the intensity of them and know that everything is momentary. When I think about this year, I would usually associate it with one specific emotion/adjective (happy, sad, amazing, et cetera), but I can't- there's too many. I learned this year that happiness and sadness are not mutually exclusive. They can exist within me at the same time in the same moment. While also becoming more forgiving of myself and my emotions, I became more forgiving of others, specifically other teenagers. I realized that it is really weird to grow up right now, and that maybe I shouldn't expect other teenagers to have it all figured out if I can't. I learned how much political events/societal complexes directly affect our lives, and how that can make your life a lot easier or a lot harder. I realized that you don't always have to think of things you love on a business scale- if you love something, find a way to do it- life is much too short. Now I have to go back to cleaning my room, because my mom thinks I am doing that right now, so maybe my resolution is to clean my room when my mom tells me to. Happy New Year, I love you.
She’s a “normal” teen.
In the very same Instagram post, Rowan concludes by stating, “Now I have to go back to cleaning my room, because my mom thinks I am doing that right now, so maybe my resolution is to clean my room when my mom tells me to.” While it is important to be exploring who you are, at that age it’s also important to keep up with the little things and do as your parent(s) ask. She may be a celebrity, but she still has to clean her room.
She doesn’t apologize for who she is.
It seems women are constantly apologizing for who we are because we don’t quite fit the expectations of society. This kind of pressure can be overwhelming for young girls. Well, Rowan is done with that. She’s won’t apologize for being human and being who she has chosen to be. She even wrote an essay about it for Rookie Mag and you can read it here.
It can be difficult for young girls to find good role models in today’s media, but Rowan Blanchard has proven herself. I may be twenty seven, but even I’m learning a thing or two from this young woman. You can keep up with Rowan by following her on her Instagram and Twitter.