Strong is the New Pretty (Guest Post)

By Sage Krishnamurthy McEneany 

For a long time, I have been thinking about what I want to look like and be like. Girls are often told that they must be pretty, that they should wear frilly dresses, high heels, and pink. I want to argue today that real prettiness is strength and power and that all girls should strive for this.

When I was 5, I thought I knew what prettiness was. I thought it was about princesses and makeup, and beautiful frilly dresses and big big ball gowns. But now, I have changed my mind.

The princes always save princesses. Disney makes it seem like girls can’t save themselves, like they just have to worry about how pretty they are. But, princesses aren’t really pretty. True prettiness is power and strength.

Someone who is really pretty might not wear makeup or dresses. She solves problems and tries to make the world better.  She might be afraid of things, but she faces her fears. She might break the rules, if that is what’s needed. She might even get a bit dirty.

When I was 6, I realized, I am not a Disney princess or a Barbie and I don’t want to be. Inside, I am a strong powerful girl, powerful with my words, and my voice. I am stronger than anyone. I am someone who wants to make the world a better place and who wants to help others. I think other girls should be like this and are already like this.

All girls should be strong and powerful. This is true beauty. I hope that everyone will spread the word and live by it: strong is the new pretty.

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Sage is almost 7.  She loves art and creating.  She wants to play basketball, but she doesn’t know how to do it yet.  She is inspired by Sarah Kay’s spoken word poetry, especially her piece “If I should have a daughter . . .”.  This post is titled after a series of photographs by Kate T. Parker.