“I just want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.” When I first came across this video I knew the words seemed very familiar. If you had watched the 2016 Grammy Awards you would recognize them from Taylor Swift’s Album of the Year acceptance speech, yet they prove to be even more powerful coming from the mouths of six or seven very different young girls. The commercial for the 2017 Grammy’s depicts each girl reciting a line of the speech as she gets ready to perform on stage or plays an instrument or dribbles a basketball. While the Grammy Awards use Taylor’s speech as an advertisement for the show, it says so much more to young girls about success, strength, and girlhood.
Girlhood is described by Jacqueline Reed-Walsh in her Keywords essay as an “elusive term.” This is because girlhood can be represented and interpreted in many different ways from a state of being to a time frame in a girl’s life. What struck me the most was how in the video “It Was You” girlhood is seen very strongly as a symbol of solidarity and determination. It presents young girls with the notion that it is not just about doing what one is told and accepting society’s expectations. It also encompasses the overarching idea that girlhood is different for everyone yet there is something about girlhood that connects us. It brings girls together to unify us, to embrace our differences, and to show our strength.
Much like characters such as Kirsten and Kaya of the American Girl series, the video encourages the questioning of societal ideals and forging one’s own path. Kirsten doesn’t allow her family’s view of the Native Americans to discourage her from having a meaningful relationship with Singing Bird. Kaya fights to be entrusted with responsibility and gain the respect of those around her, such as Swan Circling, an influential woman of the tribe. She never gives up even though the other children tease her and is rewarded for her courage in the end. The girls in the video mirror Kaya and Kirsten in the sense that they don’t let outside influence deter them from reaching their goals. They further prove that girls CAN do anything they set their minds to.
At the end of the video, the message changes a bit to remind the viewer of the power within being fearless, hardworking, and strong willed. “But, if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world. Thank you for this moment.”