(A young girl with long dark hair, wearing glasses. She is holding a blanket wrapped around herself like a cape.)
Narrator: As I child, I felt like a superhero.
(A closeup of the girl’s face, just above the blanket. She looks determined and focused and is smiling.)
(A silhouette of the girl against a bright, explosive background. Her fist is raised and her cape flows behind her.)
(Four versions of the girl, each in the same position – fist raised and cape flowing behind her. In the first version, she is wearing a pantsuit. In the second, she is wearing a dress over a striped shirt, and holding rolls of drafting paper. In the third, she is in a suit with a skirt and tie. In the fourth, she is wearing a loose dress and has a baby strapped to her torso. She is holding a pacifier in her raised hand.)
Narrator: At age 7, I was everything – sometimes all at once! Politician, Fashion Designer, CEO, SuperMom.
(The girl standing in between three men in suits holding briefcases. She is wearing a school uniform and looks pleased with herself.)
Narrator: As a child, those around me applauded my boldness.
(The girl, a teenager now, standing with a female friend in front of a male teacher. The two girls are smiling, and hands over their mounts indicate they are laughing.)
Narrator: But once I hit puberty, everything changed. I remember the moment.
(The two girls still standing in front of the teacher, looking shocked and upset. The teacher looks angry and is pointing at them.)
Teacher: Hey! Stop giggling!
(The dark-haired girl’s face in closeup, looking upward. She looks confused.)
Teacher’s Thought Bubble: Girls like you are the reason women get no respect.
(The dark-haired girl’s face in closeup. She is looking down, as if about to cry.)
Teacher’s Thought Bubble: I bet you do it just for attention from boys…
Narrator: I always imagined being an adult mean that I could be my authentic self. But instead, my love of makeup, clothing, and having a bubbly personality suddenly became an embarrassment, even though keeping a positive outlook was my way of dealing with depression. Everywhere, people just judged me as shallow without getting to know me.
(The girl is now grown up. She is sitting at a computer screen facing the reader. She is wearing a floral blouse, a necklace, and earrings. Her face looks sad. In the background, two women, also at computer screens, are leaning in to speak to each other. Both are facing the dark-haired woman.)
Narrator: Even the most career-driven, “empowered” women colleagues would say the most antiquated, ridiculous things about me. Just because of the way I am.
Background Woman: She’s husband hunting, look at her. Why would you put that much effort daily?
Narrator: It shouldn’t be so difficult to understand. I can be girly, intelligent, ambitious, and sincere – all at the same time.