Global Questionnaire

by Eunice Park

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This is a question frequently asked from adults to children who are growing up. Although people have natural interests and talents towards certain career fields, it’s interesting to examine the role of media that influences the answer to this commonly asked question, specifically in girls across the world.

Guatemala, age 14: “ I want to be a teacher. It’s hard for girls to go to school, and a lot of our families don’t think that it’s worth it to send girls to school. But I love school. I love learning new things, and when I’m older, I want to be a teacher to make sure that all girls will be encouraged to go to school and love learning as much as I do. “

United States of America, age 16: “ All throughout my life, I grew up with the media feeding me the image of a “beautiful girl” being shy, reserved, and helpful. I tried being that girl, but I failed, because I’m just the complete opposite. I love speaking out about the issues I’m passionate about, and I’m not afraid to stand up or start an arguement with someone who I don’t agree with. I want to be a lawyer when I grow up, and even if I’m never going to be that “beautiful” girl the media loves, I’m fine with it.”

China, age 17: “ My parents wanted a boy, and they made that very clear from the moment I was born. Although China no longer has a one child policy, back when I was born they did, and my parents left me here ( in an orphanage) so they could erase the one child they had, and start over. Because of that, when I was younger, I thought that male was the better sex, so whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said careers that would help people, help males, such as a nurse or cook. Now, that I know that I am strong, and women are just as strong, if not better than men, I want to choose a career that makes me happy. I want to be a scientist, for me.”

Guatemala, age 16: “ I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know who I want to be when I grow up. I want to be independent. All my life, in magazines, TV, and books, I’ve been told to rely on other men for help, and I’m tired to being seen as weak and unintelligent. I’m tired of only being praised in the news for my looks or only being a supporting character in the books I read. Maybe I’ll own a business, or be a doctor, or a lawyer, but whatever I end up becoming- I will be independent and my main goal in life is to support myself without the help of any other man.”