'I could scream the message that girls can be anything.' 12-year-old Ohio girl's letter about sexism goes viral
CHESTERLAND, OH (WOIO) - What 12-year-old Julianne Speyer heard while participating in a Fourth of July parade "offended and disappointed" her.
In a letter to the editor of the Geauga County Maple Leaf Julianne said, "The announcer labeled the Boy Scouts as "future leaders of America," she wrote, "and he said the Girl Scouts were "just having fun."
Julianne wrote that she thought the comment was "sexist and patronizing."
After someone cut the letter out and posted it to Facebook it must have struck a nerve, since appearing it has been shared almost one hundred thousand times.
It started when Julianne was marching with the Girl Scouts behind the Boy Scouts. Julianne said she heard the announcer call the boys "future leaders,' but introduce the girls as "just having fun."
"That didn't seem fair, girls can be anything they want," Speyer said.
Encouraged by a friend, Julianne didn't even know what a letter to the editor was. After reading other letters, she composed a letter and mailed it.
"She was very eloquent, expressed herself beautifully, and did it respectfully," Jennifer Speyer, a former English teacher and Julianne's mom said. "I went to work, I came home from work and she showed me what she accomplished on her own."
Julianne's mom doesn't believe there was any maliciousness or intent to harm by the announcer.
"It's not okay that they did this, this kind of thing happens way too often," Julianne said. "I needed help getting the word out and I asked the news to help me."
The young Girl Scout hasn't heard from anyone associated with the parade, but has heard from those who support her speaking out.
Parade organizers did issue a statement that read, "There was an unfortunate misunderstanding of two unrelated comments. The announcer is a volunteer and made an observation that participants were enjoying the parade, with no disrespect intended."
"I'm not sure if he meant to say it or not, it definitely didn't seem right either way," Julianne said. "I think that it's something that happens too often."
Julianne holds no ill will towards the announcer, but she wants people to know, "It's not wrong to stand up for what you believe in."
Julianne credits her mother for her willingness to speak up. "She's always taught us to choose to be kind," Julianne noted. "You don't want to judge people based on their sex."
"Maybe in the future if no one beats me to the job I'll be the first girl President," Julianne said.
"I could scream the message that girls can be anything they want to be, they can be in charge someday. We can be the leaders of America," the 12-year-old Julianne adds confidently.
(Letter as it appeared in Geauga County Maple Leaf)
My name is Julianne Speyer. I am 12 years old and I would like to
Inform you how offended and disappointed I am by the announcer
of the Chesterland 4th of July parade's comment about the
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
The announcer labeled the Boy Scouts as "future leaders of America"
And he said the Girl Scouts were "just having fun."
I found this comment very sexist and patronizing. I would appreciate
It if you would help me to let other people how much this kind of
Happens and how bad it is. I feel it is an insult to both girls and
Women of all ages. This kind of thing happens way too much
And it is not OK at all.
I have always been taught that if you think something is unjust
change it. So, this is how I am making a change.
Thank you for listening to me and I hope you can help me.
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