Imagine a movement where girls everywhere rise-up and meet the world with all that they truly are, and where they step out into life with true confidence and knowing the value they have to offer simply by being themselves. Imagine a movement where girls are celebrated, deeply cherished and nurtured in a way that gives them full permission to let us all know who they are, without one ounce of compromise. This movement is real and it’s happening.
The Girl to Woman Festival has just been held in Lennox Head NSW for the 4th year running, and what an incredible success it was. It was a fantastic turn out with local community members and others coming from towns further along the coast from Queensland right down to Melbourne. The true success was in the experience. The joy that was emanating from everyone in attendance was palpable. Endless activities were provided for the girls, their families and community members to participate in. The conversations everywhere were rich, supportive and very real – whether you were in the line for some of the awesome food that was being served by The Belle pop-up café, in an open discussion forum on parenting, making an empowerment cape or flower garland, or having your nails painted – it was all the same.
Today’s current view of girls in society is a far cry from the depth of honouring that is offered through the Girl to Woman initiative. Various research shows that girls' sense of themselves and feeling good about themselves, drops away in the early teenage years into a steady decline, often without recovering. Mental health and well-being research also demonstrates a decline, consistent across the board, regardless of other factors such as socio-economic influences. Our media is feeding on a market of young people who are desperately trying to find an identity and wanting to ‘fit in’. Fitting in is the security everyone wants because everyone is doing it. To not go along with the crowd is a brave and courageous move which is impossible to do discretely. We have online bullying and abuse coming from every angle. Social media is a part of everyday life where children are immersed in an online/offline world all melded into one, which can be very confusing to navigate, and of which the effects can be devastating.
The reality is, young people are dying at the hands of a world we have all created. And girls are not growing up with a reflection that is confirming them to the very core of their being, where they can see what is being offered through the empty airbrushed images or the pressure of ‘fitting in’, verses staying true to one’s self, and say ‘No thank you…not for me.’
In truth, we all want this for girls. Not just the girls in our family or the ones we know personally, but for all girls everywhere. We all want them to know how precious they are and how much we adore having them in our lives. Every girl deserves to be deeply loved and adored. This festival, this movement, is for us all. For us to know that we are part of something amazing. And that that ‘amazing’ is within each and every one of us - which we have a responsibility to show to the world and to let them know who we are. As the song says - ‘An Amazing Girl to an Amazing Woman’ - an anthem for every person and every household, everywhere on the planet. A song that confirms us all and one that girls will not forget. The power of Miranda Benhayon’s voice, the lyrics from Michael Benhayon and the way Natalie then presented it to us all, was a gift beyond measure. Esoteric Women’s Health & Girl to Woman Director, Natalie Benhayon has called it – Girl to Woman is going global!
By Sara Harris
Photography by Matt Paul