Leave it to the precocious, ever-intelligent Girl Meets World star Rowan Blanchard to take a devastatingly scary and humiliating moment and turn it into an important life lesson.
In an honest new interview with Interview magazine, Blanchard talks about the first time she was catcalled — and how it influenced her ambitious feminist voice.
“I remember I was at a movie with my friend, and we were both in skirts… we were waiting outside the movies for my dad to pick us up, and this grown man came over and was like, ‘You guys need a ride anywhere?'” Blanchard described. “I was 12 years old and my friend was 15. And I just remember sitting there feeling my heart sink into my stomach. It was such a surreal moment. Because I always see that happening in front of me; I always see girls getting catcalled. But up until that point, I hadn’t experienced it. And it was like I was out-of-body for a second. I had seen that in movies, on TV, on the news. But when it happens to you, it’s like, ‘Oh, crap, this is real; people look at me this way. And people look at other girls this way.'”
View this post on Instagram
"No girl should feel scared to be friends with other females. I was. I lived in fear of other girls. I remember saying, in seventh or eighth grade, "I only hang out with boys, because girls are really scary and mean." Because of this whole image of perfection in friends groups, I was really scared that other girls hated me, that I wasn't pretty enough or cool enough or I didn't have enough Instagram followers or whatever. But finding female friendship was such a monumental point in my life. And I never want somebody to feel like they have to re-evaluate themselves to join my friends or to join any friend-group." A little bit from my interview with @interviewmag. 🌹 link in bio for the full thing. 🌹 by @gstyles
Blanchard admits that she felt some self-loathing at first, and even blamed herself for the inappropriate actions of the much older man because she felt she was asking for it by wearing a skirt.
“You can’t escape it,” Blanchard said of the pervasive sexism that she sees existing in our world. “There’s really nothing you can do except endure it and try and speak out about it. So that’s what I tried to do. Because it started consuming me… And it just started overwhelming me.”
But eventually, Blanchard worked out her feelings about the event and how it opened her eyes to the world — and used it as motivation to help bring her message to others.
“I started putting things on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, because I realize that I have a following, and most of the people who watch our show, I would say, are girls,” she continued. “And I didn’t want them ever going through that. I just started doing it because I couldn’t bear it anymore.”
It’s no wonder Blanchard was honored with the title Feminist Celebrity of the Year last December.