Regarding Emma Gonzalez, a woman from TX, Julie M. Odneal, accurately depicts the criticism of this young activist.
This girl. She’s learning what most women already know. She’s learning the tactics some people (men and women) will take in order to rationalize disregarding your message. They’ll criticize your hair—because valuable women should have beautiful hair. They’ll talk about your sexuality—because anytime they don’t like your message, your sexuality is fair game. They’ll talk about your clothes—because valuable women dress a certain way. And anything bad that happens to women is the result of the clothing they choose. They’ll criticize you because you don’t wear makeup because women, valuable worthy women, wear lipstick. They’ll deride your tears—because women are so emotional. Never mind the fact that, had the strongest among them gone through what you have, they would cry too. They’ll talk about the patch on your jacket—as if it’s relevant—because they can’t comprehend that a flag belongs, not to a country, but to the people. They’ll talk about how you should’ve been nicer to the unpopular kid—because, as always, it’s your responsibility to prevent violence against you. Men aren’t expected to behave but women are expected to soothe them and not provoke them. You must behave a certain way and, if you don’t, you deserve to suffer violence or even death. When you ask for, demand, safety and protection, they’ll tell you that you don’t deserve it. (They’ll tell you that the real threat to you is texting and driving and that you should just give up your cell phone. As if you wouldn’t gladly give up that and more to change what happened to you and your friends. The real threat is shoot-em-up video games. The real threat is violent movies and television shows like The Walking Dead. Seriously??) They’ll criticize you if you show strength and they’ll criticize you if you show weakness. If you’re proud, they’ll say you’re arrogant. If you’re vulnerable, they’ll mock you. They’ll show contempt for your intelligence, the fact that you’re well spoken. When you stand up and speak as a woman, they’ll call you a child. When you cry, they’ll tell you to grow up. Nothing you do or say or become will ever be enough for them. But that’s alright. Keep speaking up and out. Keep standing true to yourself—wear what you like, love who you love. Shout, cry, laugh. Because you, baby girl, are already MORE THAN ENOUGH. And there are millions of us, who are so proud of you.