3 Women Shaping Our Generation

2018 is the year in which women are rising. Despite the threats, harassment, and degradation that they face every day, women continue to overcome constraints imposed by society. Young women are increasingly more intelligent and educated, concerning themselves with social issues in real time, standing up for what they believe in and pledging to make a difference in our society. They are the voices of our generation, shaping it to become the greatest one yet. Their voices ring strong and loud in pop culture and politics and continuously reform antiquated habits that no longer have a place in our society. Let’s highlight three of these stand-out voices who put more work into making a change for the improvement of our generation than some of our current politicians.

Zendaya

Actor, singer, activist. What doesn’t Zendaya do? She continuously uses her platform for good and to promote female empowerment and intersectional feminism. In 2015, she used her voice to condemn Giuliana Rancic for her offensive comments about her dreadlocks.

Zendaya stays authentic to who she is, not allowing a male-dominated industry to fabricate her into someone she’s not, and refusing to let Disney turn her into a copy of their other projects. Remaining true to herself is one of the many ways Zendaya has become an icon for young females as she encourages them to be themselves and to turn away from what society pressures them to be. Zendaya continues to use her platform to stand up for matters she believes in, such as women’s rights and the Black Lives Matter movement, by calling out injustices while simultaneously uplifting voices that are often spoken over. Remembering who she is and using her platform for good are prime examples of how Zendaya is one of the many young women shaping our generation.

Hayley Kiyoko

Also hailing from Disney Channel and often referred to as “Lesbian Jesus,” Hayley Kiyoko has taken the world by storm by being what is perhaps the most prominent LGBTQ+ pop star right now. Loud and proud, Kiyoko is the missing piece pop music needs, offering an alternate view on the typical tropes we’re all familiar with. Hayley has become a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community—giving the community a voice and music that is relatable as the population is marginalized. She’s refreshing and successful in leading a suddenly more visible population of women into the mainstream. While many queer females in the music industry have taken the stage before her, it’s rare that we hear a voice so loud coming from a mass media conglomerate like Disney who is also a woman of color. Hayley’s music, although not groundbreaking in itself, does have an incredibly positive impact, allowing fans to relate and find comfort within it.

Hayley’s debut single “Girls Like Girls” has become an anthem for her fans and brought together a global community of like-minded teenage girls that benefit from interacting with one another. Her impact has created a conversation that can lead to a feeling of safety and inclusion for these girls to express and explore their interests, especially when at home they might not feel as if they could ever express this.

Hayley is the voice of our generation, providing an amp for the feelings and thoughts of today’s LGBTQ+ community, and opening up the conversation for universal acceptance.

Winnie Harlow

Named "Breakthrough Model of the Year" by the Daily Front Row's Fashion Media Awards, Winnie Harlow’s confidence caught the eye of America’s Next Top Model host and fellow supermodel, Tyra Banks. With a rare skin condition called vitiligo, Winnie rose to fame through her unique and undeniable beauty, developing into a prominent model and activist and using her influence to become a voice for girls with diverse skin conditions and women of color. Although she was bullied while growing up, Winnie has been able to find self-love within herself and has used it as a vessel for becoming an activist for pressing social issues.

Winnie’s activism and continuous representation for people that have her skin condition have opened up the conversation and the door for further inclusion. Inspired by Winnie, artist Kay Black created dolls that represent various skin conditions, including vitiligo and albinism, in an effort to promote representation among black women.

Harlow has been described as an “icon of tomorrow” by famed designer Tommy Hilfiger, who recently named her a Global Brand Ambassador. Winnie’s voice for people with skin conditions has never been muted, such as when she took to social media to condemn headlines that suggest she is “suffering of vitiligo.” Winnie says that she has never suffered because of her vitiligo but is instead succeeding, and she deems people who say this to be close-minded with a predetermined idea of what beauty is.

Winnie is a champion for the representation of beauty in all shades and patterns and has created an open discussion for women who often feel they aren’t beautiful because of their skin condition.

Zendaya, Hayley Kiyoko, and Winnie Harlow have all opened the door for members of marginalized communities and have begun to shape an all-encompassing society for women of all shades, shapes, genders, sexual orientations, and nationalities. Alongside many more women, they are going to change the world.

Image Source: 11.21.3234