Arya Stark is easily one of the most beloved characters in the “Game of Thrones” universe: Maisie Williams’ portrayal of the indomitable youngest Stark daughter has always stood out among the densely populated and diverse cast of the series. Williams recently appeared at an event in New York to help launch a new ad campaign from Always, #likeagirl, and delivered an empowering speech about who girls are and who they have the potential to become — if only society lets them. Williams’ fictional counterpart would have been proud.
“It’s time for society to stop telling girls what they should and shouldn’t do. And instead through the quietest whispers and the loudest megaphones tell them that they are unstoppable,” Williams told the audience. Rather than pressuring girls to conform to prescribed gender roles that restrict how they can look and behave, “It’s time for girls to be free; free to nurture and celebrate whatever qualities and talents make them different.”
Puberty is an especially trying period for girls. According to the new Always ad found below — and lots of research — girls’ self-esteem plummets during puberty. “The Falling” star insisted that we need to reconceive puberty “as a time where, instead of losing all of our confidence, we gather it. A time where you can truly become you — strong and ready to share with the world.” That can happen only when we eschew “labels,” “expectations” and “judgement” — powerful limitations that inhibit girls’ growth and wreak havoc on their self esteem.
Williams preached the value of self-acceptance, saying that she believes “the best way to be happy in life is to be true to who you are.” She admitted, “I know that’s it’s a phrase you probably heard a million times but I really cannot stress enough how important it is to have a true sense of who you really are. Authenticity is what life is all about.”
Williams also emphasized the importance of confidence, which “gives us what we need in life. So build yours, protect yours, fight for yours, grab it with both hands and hold it like the course of your future depends on it. Because it does.”
While this message is especially timely for girls on the precipice of puberty, we think Williams’ words of wisdom can be appreciated by women of all ages. It never hurts to be reminded of your value — especially because we’re usually made to feel the only way to be happy in life is to look a certain way.
[via The Telegraph]