At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
Limitations on becoming successful because I am a woman has never really crossed my mind, however, in my first year of college my interest in politics, global news and the media became increasingly part of my everyday life. The media shapes and often skews what and how women should be, act and accomplish. My desire for a more fair society that gives women equal rights began to resinate, and today, even though we are seeing change, there is more work to be done. I’m excited to be a part of this revolution that blazes a trail of equality for all women and girls.
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
My family foremost has influenced my awareness of my feminism. They encouraged me to try everything I was interested in. Trying new things expanded my horizons and also quietly reminded me girls can do anything! My acting coach Cylk Cozart really brought things full circle. He not only supported my journey of creating a non-profit at age 15, he helped me realize being a woman was not to be ever considered a deal breaker in anything I choose to do.
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
My feminism approach to life has no boundaries. When we place boundaries on girls, we limit their potential. My life choices help shape future generations. "I can't do this because I'm a girl." has never crossed my mind. My feminist approach and mindset always leaves me thinking the sky is not the limit...there's always something beyond.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
As I travel throughout the U.S. speaking to young girls, I encourage them to be confident, know their self-worth and most of all try new things. Limiting your abilities limits society as a whole. Sharing my story and inspiring girls to be inclusive not exclusive, supporting each other is key. When I share my passion with girls, I give them a reason to go forth and blaze their own trail. When we share, we create leaders of tomorrow.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
A feminist world is one where assumptions are not made about people because of their gender, race, or sexuality. Men and women would receive equal pay and equal job opportunities for equal work. Issues of sexual assault are always taken seriously and rape would become an unthinkable act. Locally and nationally women are breaking glass ceilings and leadership has become inclusive to women holding the positions of CEO, COO & President. This shift is a positive force for today's youth.
In the near future, equality will be the norm instead of a trending voice. These actions shape the future and I'm excited to be a part of this process and see it unfold. What we do nationally affects how we achieve globally. Culture can be difficult to shape, however I believe we will impact women and girls on a global level through a right to education, career choices and ultimately give them a political voice. We need men and women sitting next to each other making decisions that affect us all.
How I Define Feminism:
For me, it means that I have the knowledge and the resources to make informed choices/decisions about my life. That I can choose to be an astronaut or a full-time stay-at-home mother; I can choose when and whether to have children. That I can wear short skirts, be confident about my body image because of my own standards, not because of a male or societal standard. Feminism is the right to possibility. Without possibility, we fail and this failure affects each and every one of us. We are not asking the men to leave the room, we are asking them to move over so we can create a world full of possibility for all.
Lauren Marie Galley is a 21-year-old award winning teen mentor, TEDx Speaker, Amazon Best Selling Author, a recognized 2016 Changemaker by The White House for the State of Women Summit and President of Girls Above Society, a non-profit 501 (c3) organization dedicated to empowering tween and teen girls to be confident while maintaining positive morals and values as they face the tough pressures of today’s media driven society.
Lauren travels throughout the U.S. speaking at schools, universities, corporations and organizations on the topics of body image, leadership skills and self-confidence. Her signature “GIRL TALK” curriculum is designed to empower and inspire girls by raising awareness, developing communication skills and cultivating self respect, which in turn empowers them to create change in their world. "GIRL TALK" pilot launch in Ohio's Massillon ISD 2016-2017 school year will serve as the model for additional schools across the U.S. Lauren is a contributor to Huffington Post and can also been seen featured in her very own columns titled TEEN TAKE and ASK TEENA in Houston Family Magazine. Lauren's TEDx Talk titled #TextMe - The Elimination of Human Interaction gives a powerful look at the effect modern technology has on the shaping of the communication within today’s youth. Lauren's Ambassadorship with Secret Deodorant's Mean Stinks Campaign in conjunction with Teen Vogue has given her a powerful platform to continue empowering girls to end the girl-on-girl bullying for good. Proctor & Gamble's Niceness Pays $10,000 scholarship was awarded to Lauren in January of 2016.