Once upon a time…
There was a girl who ventured out into the world daring to believe in her own equality, in her own freedom.
She has lived in every time and place and class. She is the face of nearly four billion human beings who share this planet. Her quest has helped drive all of humankind’s great struggles of emancipation, yet She has been marginalized and erased from those histories.
Her story is still being written… and Her time is now.
The Girl Child has come a long, long way. Yet, like no other group or tribe on this planet, She occupies a dangerously low social status – “the least of these” in a vast and historic hierarchy of being – as She struggles to find her way through centuries upon centuries of ancient traditions, beliefs, and norms that have defined Her more as a family “asset” than as a full human being.
Well into the twenty-first century, Her body and very being are still caught in a tenuous tug-of-war between the supremacy systems of centuries past and the yet-to-be fulfilled ideals of what it means to be and live as a free people. As our global family is undergoing a long overdue reckoning around the racial legacy of slavery, our female ancestors cry from the grave #metoo!
Who Is the Girl Child? What do we want for Her life journey? What navigation rules have made ours a “man’s world” and not Hers? What needs to change so our world’s daughters, and their daughter’s daughters, are not the world’s “least of these”?
Maybe you know Her? She is your daughter. She is your sister. She is your mother, your aunt, your grandmother, your friend, your colleague. She is you. She is the woman in the girl, the girl in the woman. She is free of and undefined by centuries upon centuries of diminishing ideology, theology, and traditions that treat being born female as lesser than, unclean, inferior, meant for submission, the cause of evil in the world. As not meant to grow into the full human agency and power of adulthood.
She is the free spirit within each of us that comes into the world not knowing any of these rules, roles, and codes that await and define Her path. She is that scrappy voice within that presumes an equal place in the banquet of Life.
She is both a me and a we. She sees self in the other. And the other in Herself. She is part of a movement that spans centuries, one girl, one woman standing on the shoulders of another. She knows that her own freedom is bound up in the plight of others.
The descendants of Eve are scattered across time and place yet are climbing the same mountain of injustice. She has collectively been defined from the outside, but another truth has been arising from within.
The train has left the station, the butterfly is breaking out of its cocoon, the genie has left the patriarchal bottle and cannot be put back in…
The truth of Her being – the free Girl Spirit – is rising up to tell Her story. From womb to tomb, She is telling Her truth to the world: this man’s world has created a legacy of harm that has become normal but is not okay. Her gaze says to the john, the pimp, the master of the house, “You do not own me”… And to the pastor, the priest, the rabbi, the imam, and all those who are the guardians of traditions: “How could this be? Maybe, just maybe, we’ve got something wrong?”
She is leading us to another world that is not only possible but is on Her way… for such a time as this.
She is the author of Her own story. The captain of Her own ship. The Girl Child is the feminine face of God, which has a fresh new start in each baby girl born into the world. She comes into the world knowing things…
She is a force of nature that comes into the world saying: “Watch me grow! I can do this!”
Her voice is essential to our progress as a human family and our shared liberation from ancient and interlocking oppressions. She is bravely climbing every mountain in her path, saying to the world, “I am more than what this edifice of traditions has said I am. I am not a passive recipient of traditions – I am part of recreating them.”
She knows there is another way to be human that can accept differences without elevating one over the other.
She is a sister who loves her brothers. Like them, she wants to play. And go to school. And be fully valued. And grow up to spread her wings to fly and chart her course freely in the world.
The playground of life, though, is still far from level. The rules of the game are still stacked against Her. Her climb today is way too steep, way too treacherous. Traditions continue to clip her wings and excise parts of her humanity calling this “holy.” Her basic human rights are still frighteningly tenuous and prone to regression and backlash.
But the Girl Child is strong, She is curious. What She wants and deserves more than anything is a childhood free of harm and external definition to be and become who she truly is. This uphill climb is hers to take.
She is not accepting yesterday’s tired old answers. She is spreading Her wings. She does not need anyone to “empower” her but rather to not disempower her.
She is not alone on Her long walk to freedom. It is also mine. It is yours. None of us is free until we all are. Her chains are ours as her human family.
Freedom is a sacred trust given to all human beings. It is the air our souls need to breathe, to be, to become.
Freedom is indivisible. It cannot be stratified. If it is not expanding, it will regress.
Freedom requires us to be free enough within our own hearts and minds to question what isn’t working.
The Girl Child is each and every one of the 180,000 girl babies born each day into our world with a heart ready to unfurl its sail and chart its own course.
Are you with Her?
Interested in meeting the Girl Child? Her story is woven into the reading journey, which explores our path through faith to liberation. Learn more about the reading journey, including how to sign up, on the Reading Journey page.