Manifesta to Young Women and Girls


Find a man

Seek protection

The world is scary

Don’t go out

You are weak

Don’t care so much

They’re only animals

Don’t be so intense

Don’t cry so much

You can’t trust anyone

Don’t talk to strangers

People will take advantage of you

Close your legs

Girls aren’t good with:



Making difficult decisions

Lifting things

Putting things together

International news

Flying planes

Being in charge.

If he rapes you, surrender,

you will get killed trying to defend yourself

Don’t travel alone

You are nothing without a man

Don’t make the first move,

wait for him to notice you

Don’t be too loud

Follow the crowd

Obey the laws

Don’t know too much

Tone it down

Find someone rich

It’s how you look that matters,

not what you think.


Everyone’s making everything up

There is no one in charge except for those

who pretend to be

No one is coming

No one is going to

Rescue you

Mind-read your needs

Know your body better than you

Always fight back

Ask for it

Say you want it

Cherish your solitude

Take trains by yourself to places

you have never been

Sleep out alone under the stars

Learn how to drive a stick shift

Go so far away that you stop being afraid of 

not coming back

Say no when you don’t want to do something

Say yes if your instincts are strong

even if everyone around you disagrees

Decide whether you want to be liked or admired

Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out

what you’re doing here

Believe in kissing

Fight for tenderness

Care as much as you do

Cry as much as you want

Insist the world be theater

and love the drama

Take your time

Move as fast as you do

as long as it’s your speed.

Ask yourself these questions:

Why am I whispering when I have something to say?

Why am I adding a question mark at the end

of all my sentences?

Why am I apologizing every time I express my needs?

Why am I hunching over?

Starving myself when I love food?

Pretending it doesn’t mean that much to me?

Hurting myself when I mean to scream?

Why am I waiting



Fitting in?

You know the truth:

Sometimes it does hurt that much

Horses can feel love

Your mother wanted more than that

It’s easier to be mean than smart

But that isn’t who you are.

—Eve Ensler, Epilogue to I Am an Emotional Creature


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