Saskatoon's Etta Love may only be 10 years old, but she's a passionate feminist with a penchant for sharing ideas, which has led her to start her own website — wowsisters.ca — as a place for productive conversations about issues with people her own age.
She joined CBC Radio's The Morning Edition on Tuesday to talk more about her site, her passions and body image.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for this website?
I think that I have always loved women's rights. But then last year, I watched this documentary called Embrace [about body image], and I think that that brought me back to it.
'A lot of the time, the only bodies we see on the covers of magazines and stuff are this one [type of] woman.… I want to teach everybody that body isn't even real. It's created on a screen.' - Etta Love
So I just asked my mom if I could do it and at first she was hesitant, but then we just started doing it. It built up. As I was writing one page, I thought of another idea.
Q: What is the message you want to get across to people your age?
I think that a lot of the time, the only bodies we see on the covers of magazines and stuff are this one [type of] woman. I think then that sends a message to kids my age and girls my age that is the only body that exists.
So I think I want to teach everybody that body isn't even real. It's created on a screen. I want that to be sent to girls at a younger age so that they don't have to grow up into women who have to learn that when they're older.
Q: How did you get to be so comfortable in your own body, when you find that girls around you are so critical of themselves?
I do crossfit and I do weightlifting, so I think that has taught me to accept my body. A lot of the time, the downside to positive body image is people don't take care of their bodies. Being an athlete, I have to. You have to fuel your body. In Embrace, they always talk about "your body is not an ornament, it's a vehicle to your dreams." You need to fuel it, you need to take care of it, but then you also need to love it.
Q: What do you hear back from people your own age?
Most girls my age have already gone through one diet …
Q: Wow, at 10 years old?
Yeah. I don't hear it quite as much in my own classroom, but I have heard girls my age talking about diets and stuff. It just shocks me. Part of me gets it a little bit — it doesn't mean I agree with it, but part of it is you always hear older women talking about that kind of stuff, but when you hear girls like you talking about it, it just makes it seem so much realer.
Q: Do you think boys have the same kinds of issues?
I think it is a little bit different because there isn't exactly the same body standards, but I think that they have standards that are kind of close to it, yes.