The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. recently announced that it will be opening a new exhibit, entitled “Girlhood (It’s Complicated),” that highlights Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger, Jazz Jennings, a transgender girl, and talks about girls being political. I’m not sure what “girlhood” the Smithsonian is talking about, as it definitely wasn’t mine.
The idea of an exhibit on “Girlhood” at the Smithsonian Museum is great. It sounded like a great opportunity to reminisce on my childhood in Southern California playing with Barbies, dancing, American Girl dolls, camping, sunshine, the beach and going to Disneyland more times than I could count. Growing up, I really could not have been more blessed, but my childhood is something that the Smithsonian blatantly disparages in its exhibit.
In a description about the exhibit, the museum states, “The history of girlhood is not what people think; it is complicated. Young women are often told that girls are “made of sugar and spice and everything nice.” What we learn from the past is that girls are made of stronger stuff. They changed history. From Helen Keller to Naomi Wadler, girls have spoken up, challenged expectations, and been on the front lines of social change. Although definitions of girlhood have changed, what it means to grow up female in the United States has always been part of the American conversation.”
Well, it’s girlhood according to the woke, liberal left.
One of the artifacts at the exhibit is the scarf of Naomi Wadler. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, it isn’t surprising. She is one of the young people who spoke at the March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018. While speaking out against gun violence in schools is noble, it’s clear that the museum is pulling mostly from the left side of the aisle. Where is an artifact from a young woman who spoke at the March for Life? Shouldn’t she be included as well?
But no. It’s about highlighting women like Margaret Sanger, who advocated for the sterilization of criminals, disabled and those with family genetic conditions. Sadly, women in the U.S. prison system have at times been manipulated or pressured into being sterilized in order to decrease their prison times. Why the Smithsonian would want to include Sanger is bewildering.
There are also two transgender young women, biological males who live as females, in the exhibit. Most notable is Jazz Jennings, who claims to have felt like a girl since he was a toddler and, according to the museum, shows that “girlhood comes in many forms.”
But in order for that to apply, shouldn’t you actually be a biological girl?
At the end of the day, this exhibit isn’t about girlhood but pushing young women to embrace woke, progressive politics.
A promotional video, narrated by an unknown young woman, stated, “When I was young, I used to think political meant Democrat or Republican. I didn’t really understand that seeing the world different was political. Asking a lot of questions, was political. Every time you ask, ‘What’s up with this?’ You’re getting political.
“We wanted to take the 100-year anniversary of women getting the right to vote to ask, how does girlhood make people political? What are the stakes? Who gets to decide what it means to be a girl?”
Huh? Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’m guessing most of my generation and most young girls pay very little attention to politics or knew anything about it at all. I know I didn’t.
Sure, I remember the Oklahoma City Bombing, the JonBenét Ramsey case and the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which was so big at the time that they even announced the court decision over the P.A. system at my California elementary school. But don’t ask me who the Governor of California was in 1995. I would have absolutely no clue.
This exhibit isn’t about “girlhood,” it’s about forcing or encouraging young girls to become political activists. More specifically, woke, progressive political activists.
If a 10-year-old feels passionately about life and wants to pray outside a pregnancy resource center with her family, that’s great. But don’t force young girls to carry the burden of the political process as children.
Instead, lets focus on allowing girls to experience life as they want and embrace all the things that make little girls so precious. Allow the explorers to explore. Allow the girls who love Barbie and pretend, like me, the freedom to make believe. Let the sport enthusiasts, which I definitely was not, the opportunity to play as much as they want. And let the dancers, dance.
The politics and activism can come later.
Just let girls be girls and leave “girlhood” alone.
Photo is from Shutterstock.