We invite you to read this wonderful piece of Persuasive writing by Year 12 student Ella Ferris.
Paper doll design by Mirkwood Design paper templates http://www.ruthannzaroff.com/mirkwooddesigns/paperdoll.htm
“Humans live in a world where everything tries to make you something else.”
Good morning peers, friends and members of the community. My name is Ella Ferris. I’m sixteen years old, nearly six feet tall, have curly hair that has an uncanny likeness to a lion’s mane, and like every child, teen and adult, I have insecurities. My day is filled with doubtful comments from others.
‘Did you brush your hair today?’ they ask.
‘Yes,’ I reply.
‘So frizzy!’ they exclaim.
‘You are too tall!’ they say, and I say ‘Okay’.
These remarks and reactions are perpetual and they, in turn, perpetuate the doubtful thoughts that fill my head. Of course, nobody realises that their words are as unnecessary as they are hurtful. It seems our world has become accustomed to being bewildered and insulted by others’ individuality.
Let me ask you all a question. How many hours do you spend online each day, particularly on social media, whether it be on YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (the list goes on)?
Whether you spend one hour or one minute on these social media platforms, I can guarantee that you will not only stumble across, but have thrown in your face, the image of a thin, beautifully made-up woman, captioned with an advertisement for a ‘miracle’ weight loss pill, diet or treatment. I do not find it ‘miraculous’ that our insecurities are exploited and manipulated so that we feel the need to manipulate our own appearances in order to be accepted.
I have been assaulted by advertisements for ‘skin lightening treatments’. Why should I, a young ‘proud and deadly’ Aboriginal woman, scour off the pigment that paints the picture of my identity? Why should my sister feel pressured to chemically straighten her golden ringlets for the ‘amazing price of only one hundred dollars per treatment’ when her golden ringlets are a halo, an aura, the colour of her vibrant soul. Why should any of us, whether we are white, black, tall, short, thin, fat, young or old, change ourselves for the sake of just being like everybody else? Why must we follow a stereotype, fit the mould, feel unworthy? Oscar Wilde, I agree with you when you say: ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’
Again, let me ask you all a question. How many hours do you spend at school a day, learning,
memorising, filling your head with formulas, equations and vocabulary? How many of you spend your days feeling subpar, inadequate because your skills are different to your friends, your teachers, your siblings, your parents? How many of you have struggled through a math class, wishing you were in an art class, but dismissing your right to the education you want because someone told you that ‘art is not a viable career’?
Schools have become a laboratory, where students are tested and examined for discrepancies in results and those who diverge from the norm are ‘failures’. Einstein told me that ‘everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.’ Well, a school should not be a laboratory, it should be a jungle where fish, monkeys, tigers and snakes alike, live and learn according to their needs.
I long for the day when students do not get penalised for their belief in the arts, sentenced and condemned to a life of judgement and disapproval. I long for the day when students do not have to sacrifice their true identity in order to ‘succeed’ in school. I long for the day when students do not doubt their self-worth because, to them, science and maths are unconquerable quests. I long for the day when we students are treated fairly and the playing field is evened.
Let me ask you a question, once more. How many of you children, teenagers, adults, students, teachers, parents, siblings and friends believe that your individuality is beautiful? Whether it’s your hair, your thick accent, your dark sense of humour, your freckled skin, your strange hobbies, your eclectic style… do you find your uniqueness beautiful? In a world where it is customary to be revolted by others’ differences, we must fight for our rights, fight against the overwhelming desire to be accepted, fight and overcome the world that tries to make you something other than yourself. Rebel against the authority that tells you you’re unworthy. Revolt against those who tell you your skin, your culture, your values are unwelcome. Reunite with your true identity and do not be afraid to let it shine.
My name is Ella Ferris. I am sixteen years old, nearly six feet tall, have curly hair that has an uncanny likeness to a lion’s mane and, like every child, teen and adult, I have insecurities. But instead of letting others mould my identity so that it replicates theirs, I am determined to conquer feelings of doubt and to fight for my right to be who I want to be. In the words of Nelson Mandela: ‘As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same’. Be true to your identity and let others know that they can, too.