They Do Exist.

A Letter To All The Teenage Girls: You’re Awesome And This Is Why.

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by yours truly! I have something very close to my heart that I wanted to share with you today. So here it is. If you do want to follow my personal blog or twitter, they are laurennicolelove.com/blog and @laurendubinsky! xoxo – lauren

Photo by Branden Harvey

Dear teenage girl:

I want to take a minute to write down some words for you, because I feel like it’s really important that someone says these things.

In the grown up world, “teenage girls” are kind of a lame stereotype, and I want to say that I’m sorry. You seem to be a demographic that is written off as silly, fickle, short-sighted, simplistic, shallow, and desperate. No one seems to respect you very much.

I often hear men (and even women) refer to you in an offhanded manner as if you’re the easiest group to manipulate, to sell to, to convince of things, to understand, and to predict.

This makes me incredibly sad because half of planet earth has been a teenage girl at some point, or currently is one, or will soon be one. And the other half? The other half either has or will desire you.

To joke about and put down “the teenage girls” is to put ourselves down. Somewhere along the way, we’ve either been one, or we’ve wanted nothing more than to love and kiss one.

There is no way to talk poorly of teenage girls without talking poorly about ourselves, and hurting those around us.

I wish I could make everybody stop it, but I can’t. But what I can do is write what I know to be true about teenage girls.

I know that we are more passionate than any other group of people I’ve ever found.

I know that we are capable of great depths of insight, able to give and receive wisdom.

I know that we are extremely joyful, and also have an impressive understanding of grief – which gives birth to one of the Universe’s most glorious things: Empathy.

I know that we are intelligent, and that learning is easy for us.

I know that we are capable of autonomous, individual opinions and decisions.

I know that we create better art than pretty much anyone else.

I know that the words we write are more true to our souls at this age than at any other age; that honesty comes naturally to us.

I know that we carry a great burden of being both adult and child at the same time, which gives us a view of the world that no one else has.

I know that we see beauty where no one else sees it, which is possibly the most honorable attribute a person can have.

I know that we have the innate resilience to overcome family trauma and dysfunction, and that at any given moment, every single teenage girl is wrestling through intimate struggles caused by someone in her family – and yet she rises to be present at work, at school, at play.

I know that our capacity for hope, for love, for art, for creativity, and for Becoming Better and More is unstoppable.

I know that we aren’t “exactly like” all the other teenage girls we know, because we are all fantastically unique, and that’s also why we love one another so much and can produce such awesome things.

I know that our bullshit detector is solid.

I know that we know when glamour starts and when it stops, and that even though it may look otherwise, we don’t give it more credit than it deserves.

I know that we aren’t crazy, and that we actually balance logic and emotion pretty well.

And I also know that we are capable of just as much positive change, beneficial passion, and enthusiastic love as any other male or female human being around us.

I wish I could tell you that the world will suddenly have a better opinion on teenage girls tomorrow when you wake up, but they probably won’t. I’m not terribly worried about it though, because I know what most people don’t: We are stupid amounts of strong, and already have years of experience to sticking to our guns when siblings, acquaintances, teachers, students, parents, relatives, and the majority of mass media are at our backs.

So, a love, a kiss, and a lot of badass glitter to each and every one of you. Carry on with your magnificent life. You deserve respect and admiration, and you’ve got mine.

Love,

A 25 year old girl who still feels like a teenager


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99 Responses

  1. Lauren, I wish I would have had this letter when I was still a teenage girl. Amen, amen to everything.

    March 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm

  2. Renee

    Lauren,
    This is a beautiful work of art. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Although I am now in my mid twenties, these words were a balm to my heart. <3

    March 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm

  3. Erin

    Lauren,

    Thank you.

    Love,

    A Teenage Girl In College

    March 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm

  4. Elyse

    I didn't like myself as a teenager, so I think I project that onto other teenage girls. However, though random circumstances I ended up as a youth worker, and I'm beginning to really love teenage girls.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:18 am

  5. k

    Yes.

    I was a teenage girl not too long ago and I promised myself I would never become one of those adults that “forgets” what it was like.

    Thanks for this. I needed it as much as anyone else.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

  6. Hannah

    i’m going to pass this on to the teenage girls i mentor, absolutely love this!

    March 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm

  7. When I was that age, I used to cringe every time I heard someone use the phrase "typical teenager". I didn't believe that I was "typical", and I was pretty sure none of the rest of us were, either. The passing of the years has only served to confirm this to me.

    Thank you, Lauren, for another lovely post.

    March 29, 2013 at 8:59 am

  8. Billie Paulus

    Thank you so much for this. Not only am I on the brink of leaving teenage-hood, so I really needed to hear this, but I needed to be reminded of this for all the girls I care so much about. Solid, everything about it.

    March 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

  9. iknowethnot

    i'm almost 21, but my younger sister's turning 18 soon.Im worried i forgot how to deal with it and i've been a crappy sister.I'd love her to read this though. Thank you, Lauren

    March 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm

  10. livingadayatatime

    This was great. I lead a group of high school girls and as I read this i was able to apply and agree with it for each of my girls. I just shared it with them and I hope it touches each of them the way it touched my heart !
    thank you thank you thank you for all ya'll do!
    meg

    March 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm

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  12. Amanda M

    This post made me, for the first time, want to be a teenager again.
    Thank you.
    I will be sharing this with many teenage girls :)

    April 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

  13. This was beautiful. Pinned so one day I can read it to my teen girl- this kind of wisdom & love never goes out of style!

    April 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm

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  15. auroraeclipse

    thank you so much for writing this. i always feel sort of degraded by everyone else because i'm only 16, and reading this felt so liberating i literally cried. i love you.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:17 pm

  16. Jenn

    I love this post! My heart is for teenage girls. I believe that society has created this stereotype for teen girls. My heart is to redefine that and to help girls realize just who it is that they were made to be. I want to empower them in who they are. I think the world needs more 20-something ladies that will help raise teenage girls up. Not tear them down. Again, thank you for posting this. I've already shared it with the girls I mentor! :)

    August 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm

  17. klmurphy88

    I just wanted to say that I teach high school and watch teenage girls get treated this way almost every day. I read this post several months ago when it was first posted and left a few copies of it on the table where I keep "free reading options". Several of my students read it and were deeply touched by it. Thanks for all you do!

    August 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

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  19. oakleaf

    I get that this site says "Good Women", but I don't think it's fair to exclude an entire gender. Teen girls have so much support in society – when it comes to self-esteem, self-image, education (even though now women outnumber men on college campuses), etc., but teenage boys are completely disregarded in this aspect.

    Teenage boys have some of the worst stereotypes – sex-crazed, careless, the partier/drunk/drugs user, wreckless driver, stupid, lazy, shallow (for liking certain things in a woman's appearance) – and maybe the worst one – that he is "lucky" if a woman (usually older/with authority) rapes him. WTF.

    When's the last time you've heard of the saying "Girls are stupid, throw rocks at them?". Exactly.

    It's 2013 and it's time to face facts – western women/girls are the furthest thing from oppressed. Therefore, we should not be showing them any favoritism, and we need to stop neglecting and treating boys and men as inferior.

    November 8, 2013 at 7:10 am

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