lifestyle

MIA: Bindi Irwin, feminist warrior?

Image of Bindi Irwin from her Twitter account.

By MIA FREEDMAN

I think Bindi Irwin is exceptional. Have done forever. As far as young role models go, she ticks every box for me.

She’s articulate, passionate, a great communicator and what she does has nothing to do with the way she looks.

I know. For a famous girl in 2013 this is nothing short of miraculous.

Bindi has always been wonderfully, endearingly age-appropriate and I can’t think of a single other celebrity teen or young woman about whom I’d say the same.

When she released her nature documentary series Bindi: The Jungle Girl in 2008, I couldn’t buy her DVDs fast enough to show my kids – her messages about conservation, education about wildlife and her passion for continuing the work of her father is inspiring in the true sense of the word.

And she delivered them in non-descript khaki shorts and a t-shirt with no make-up and her hair in a ponytail.

Compared to the rest of the highly commercialised, sexualised, glossily packaged crap coming at young girls? Bindi is golden.

And now, aged 15,  she’s gone and done something else fabulous: made some challenging, insightful, interesting statements about poverty and over-population. Controversial? Yes.  But what a refreshing change from the kind of controversial Miley Cyrus trades in by taking off her clothes and humping the floor.

In an interview with the Sunday Mail, 14-year-old wildlife advocate Bindi Irwin has voiced her opinions on the need for better birth control options for young women in third world countries, to prevent overpopulation. She said:

Bindi with her mother, Terri, on her birthday. Pic from Bindi’s Twitter account

”As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to want to tackle bigger issues facing the world today

“So, starting to discuss issues that people might not want to talk about, such as not consuming wildlife or human over-population – issues that people tend to push aside and don’t focus on.

”They seem to be like the elephant in the room that everyone keeps avoiding and we can’t make positive change unless we talk about these issues.

”Girls as young as me or even younger are having kids and that doesn’t seen right to me.

”I think that’s really sad and we certainly need to start putting our heads together and thinking of ways to solve this.

”So educating our kids, giving them that freedom of choice and available help.

”There’s such a thing as seven-year-implants, so if you had a girl that was 11 years old and gave her the seven-year implant she wouldn’t be able to have kids until she was 18.

”So things like that maybe, might be able to contribute to solving the problem.

”I think there’s lots of ways to look at it and family planning is so important and I feel bad for those who don’t have access to it and it’s certainly something that’s close to my heart and something I think we need to start thinking about.”

Bindi Irwin
Bindi Irwin is a passionate wildlife advocate. Image from Bindi’s Twitter account.
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How delightful, refreshing and NECCESSARY to have a teenage girl speaking so thoughtfully and intelligently about an issue like this.

Too often, teenagers are dismissed as brainless narcissists interested in nothing beyond their next selfie.

For someone like Bindi to be engaging in a complex debate like the one she’s dived into (and you can wait for the outrage to start in 3,2,1….) is exciting and gives me great hope.

And actually? Her idea is excellent. It shows an incredibly mature grasp of the fact that 200 million women around the world have no access to family planning, no ability to make choices around their fertility and no way to avoid the extreme poverty and often death involved in having children young and frequently.

So Bravo Bindi, bring on your brand of ecological feminism. Personally, I’d like to hear more of it.

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