When it comes to proponents of intelligent social justice, child stars aren’t generally the first one thinks of. For many, a combination of minimal education, limitless privilege, a total absence of the word “no” and throngs of individuals working behind the scenes to carefully orchestrate an entire public persona doesn’t typically allow for these conversations to be had publicly. And, in the past, it’s never had to. Bop and Tiger Beat magazines didn’t usually cover our favorite teen idols’ thoughts on immigration, marriage equality, white privilege, trans issues or systemic racism. In fact, for many of us, these conversations are fairly recent. Social media, most specifically Twitter and Tumblr, can certainly be terrible, but can also be the best—educating millions on stories that would normally be swept under the rug or ignored and keeping people like Sandra Bland in the news and on our minds. Former child stars and current Ivy League-educated adults like Emma Watson are famously speaking out about important social issues, but current child stars under the age of 18 with a Disney or Nickelodeon contract? Not really. In fairness, why would they? Aside from their relationships with massive corporations generally considered desperate to protect themselves from any and all controversy, how many of us were keenly aware of issues like this when we were young? I’d venture to guess not a lot.
I mean, you know, youths. Youths!
And then we have Rowan Blanchard, 13-year-old star of Disney’s Girl Meets World. Here she is addressing the UN Women National Committee Conference (Rowan starts at 39:02).
In addition to addressing STEM education for women and identifying herself as the big F-word, the one so many women shy away from, she said this:
“My 11-year-old sister has been taught by the media that her body is an object, will be compared to other bodies and that it holds more significance than her mind or her talent. This should not be the first thing she learns.”
Blanchard’s Instagram and Twitter pages are filled with this kind of insight.
Since when did it become a trend to not be confident in yourself? We are all so beautiful, let's please celebrate ourselves :) #iloveme— Rowan Blanchard (@rowblanchard) June 16, 2015
For everyone making disgusting negative comments about #CaitlynJenner - what is wrong with being yourself?!— Rowan Blanchard (@rowblanchard) June 1, 2015
Paula Deen, how desperate and disgusting can you be?!— Rowan Blanchard (@rowblanchard) July 7, 2015
She also retweets stuff like this:
Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and too many others.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 19, 2015
Paraguay refuses to give 10 year old rape victim an abortion. pic.twitter.com/4CTE38D4zo— Feminist Culture (@feministculture) July 24, 2015
And also she’s 13 and awesome.
Attention local department stores: do NOT play Feeling Myself because I will tuRN UP SO HARD IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR STORE— Rowan Blanchard (@rowblanchard) May 30, 2015
You know, we as adults were obviously incredibly stoked when stars like Beyonce and Emma Watson started publicly discussing feminism and equality, but I don’t know that I really understood what it meant for their young fans, who’ve never known a world without them. To these young people, people with greater access to knowledge and the experience of others than we ever had at their age, this is possible. That’s incredible.
So thank you, Rowan. You young, fabulous badass. Thanks for the renewed faith in our nation’s