International Day of the Girl: Meet Carson Bolding

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Judging from the women’s magazines today, it would seem that the concrete details of women’s lives are more interesting than their thoughts, their ideas, their dreams."

Betty Friedan said this in 1963, but this could easily be an excerpt from any recent celebrity interview. Our world likes to think we've progressed when it comes to gender equality, but over 5 decades later, have we really progressed? Do we ever look beyond a woman's outward appearance? 

October 11 is International Day of the Girl. Most people have no clue that such a day exists. Most people don't understand why a day like this is necessary. Most people are unaware of the barriers that prevent girls from fully participating in the world. Most people never think to ask her more.

I've always been content with waiting for someone else to use their platform to speak out about this disparity, but it hit me the other day that I'm an 18 year old girl with a blog. Why wait? Why not now? When will there be a better time or place?

As we approach the International Day of the Girl, I'll be posting interviews I did with some amazing women. These women have inspired me, and I am positive their strength and determination can inspire countless other girls. Because contrary to what the media says, girls are so much more than what you see on the outside.

Carson is a junior in high school from Dallas, Texas. She is the perfect combination of witty thoughts and strong and empowering ideas. Her heart is bigger than the state of Texas (which is very, very big), and her smiles make you feel instantly happier (even if you're just seeing them via instagram). Carson is one of those people who goes out of her way to make others few included and valued. She sees potential in everything and everyone and uses her platform to spread powerful messages concerning gender inequality, racial discrimination and other issues that plague our society. While this may seem like a simplistic adjective to describe a girl with such a complex and beautiful mind, Carson is nice, and I think nice people are the most underrated people in the world, so this is the highest form of a compliment I can give.

You can follow Carson @carsonautri on nearly every social media site. Now on to the good stuff!

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life?

Oh gosh, the most inspiring woman in my life. That's so tough! There are definitely powerful women I look up to as role models- particularly Sarah Kay. She's a spoken word poet and basically everything I want to be in the world. She's a feminist, a wordsmith, a teacher, and her poems speak to me on a level that I can't seem to find anywhere else. (This is her TED Talk, and here's a stellar feminist poem).

But I'm also constantly inspired by every single woman in my life. Bela teaches me how to keep going when I don't want to do it anymore. Maya teaches me how to remember that I am more than others' perceptions of me. Ilsa teaches me how to love every little ounce of life. My mother is the hardest working, most adventurous and creative person I know. She's always taught me how to find the solution to any problem, and lately, we've been learning how to handle situations where there isn't one. I have all these amazingly strong women in my life, and they're continually teaching me and shaping who I am.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I'm proud of loving myself. I struggled a lot with self confidence in middle school and early high school. And one day, I just got tired of constantly being down on myself, and I decided to take the initiative to find confidence. It wasn't overnight, but it was a conscious decision to start really loving myself. It started out as a body image thing, and eventually it led to loving myself all the way through, from the inside out. I learned to love how I looked and how I thought. And it's something that has done so much for how I live and love and see the world. Because of it, I can talk in front of crowds. I can introduce myself to new people. I can use criticism constructively. I can stay positive when things around me seem to be crashing down, because I know that I have myself, and I have the confidence to know that's enough.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

I definitely consider myself a feminist! I shied away from that label when I was younger because the only thing I had heard about it was "the crazy feminists". It seems ridiculous now. I see feminism as something that brings us all together; it's that feeling of community, of being part of something that's bigger than you.

Have you ever faced gender based discrimination?

Oh gosh, yes. In freshman gym, we played volleyball for a semester, and I had guys literally push me out of the way because they didn't think I had it in me to be able to hit the ball over the net when it came to me. Also, I play soccer, and I really love joining in on pick-up games at school events. The number of sexist comments I've heard from boys I'm playing with is ridiculous. Things like adding extra players to the girls team just because we're girls. Or accusing other guys of not being good because a girl got the ball past them. I've been blessed with some really great (aka pro-feminist) communities in my life, but every once in awhile, those sexist comments creep in and it's so hard to shake them.

What's something you wish all girls knew?

I think that all girls should know that, honestly, we're all in this together. There is a whole community of girls out here supporting you and wanting you to love yourself. Remember that everyone is fighting a battle, and nobody should have to fight it alone. It's a lot easier to be nice to people when you realize that they have things that are holding them down too. (Also, singing Taylor Swift at the top of your lungs will always make you feel better. That's important.)

I hope you stick around throughout the new couple of weeks to meet more inspirational girls like Carson. Because why should we limit the International Day of the Girl to just one day?

To learn more about International Day of the Girl, click here.

It's time to highlight, discuss, celebrate and advance the lives of girls around the world. Because girls are more than the clothes they wear or the labels they've been unjustly given. Because doing something "like a girl" is not an insult. Because girls deserve the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Because our daughters deserve to live in a world where gender does not prevent you from reaching your full potential. Because this "nonexistent" issue is anything but nonexistent.

Because who needs gender roles when we can have sushi rolls instead?

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4 Happy Thoughts

  1. Both you and Carson seem amazing!

  2. Hey Katherine! I seriously love this post. This is kinda like Smart Girl's #AskHerMore which I thought was a really cool idea. I can't wait to read your interviews with other other girls <3 Lauren

  3. Ugh Carson is so well spoken and cool. I can't believe she's still in high school.

    Also, I think Interviewing girls is such a cool idea!! :)

  4. I had no idea that a day like this existed! But this is such a powerful message. I've been a silent reader on your blog for a while, and I've always enjoyed your girl power posts. I hope you have a great Monday!


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