Q&A: Erin May Kelly's ‘Little Girls Don't Stay Little Forever’

Q&A: Erin May Kelly's ‘Little Girls Don't Stay Little Forever’

Erin May Kelly’s beautiful poem ‘Little Girls Don’t Stay Little Forever’ went viral in June. To listen to the poem prior to reading our Q&A, click here. A transcript of the poem is also provided below for those of you who would rather read it.

We spoke to Erin about her subject matters and inspirations and she said she has always had a strong focus on women’s issues.

From personal experience, stories from friends and just paying attention to the world, it is clear there is still so much we have to fight for. The world is changing, and movements such as "Me Too" have given so many people a voice they desperately needed. Of course, we need to stand in solidarity with others- racism, homophobia and transphobia are things I have never dealt with personally. But that just means I need to pay even more attention to those who have, listen to what they have to say, and help fight in any way I can for them. I write about abuse, sexism in the media and the undeniable strength of women. I try to approach difficult subjects with understanding and respect. You need to write bravely to make a change, and that is what I encourage all writers to do.

Little Girls Don’t Stay Little Forever has gone viral, reaching over 12 million people. What is one thing you would urge viewers to take away from it? 

I want people to watch it and understand that giving strength to women does not mean hating men. The majority of negative comments on the video have been accusing me of not caring about the struggles males face, which is not true at all. We need to stand together. Fighting for one cause does not mean dismissing all others. I want any girl or woman watching to feel empowered, strong and capable. We still live in a patriarchal society, but it is changing slowly. Because of us. I want people to watch my video and be encouraged to keep fighting for change.

What more can we expect from you in the future? 

On October 11th I am releasing a book! A brand new collection of poetry, with a theme of strength, magic and resilience running throughout. The way I am selling it is a bit different. There will be some books available for free, to anyone who cannot afford it. Although I need to make money as an artist, I understand that everyone goes through tough times. And I want anyone who enjoys my writing to be able to read my book. Full book release details will be on my Facebook page soon!

You can find Erin on Facebook here.

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Little girls don’t stay little forever

Why would they want to?

When we live in a world that has been taught to hate everything to do with teenage girls 

We hate the books they read and the bands they like 

Is there anything the world makes fun of more than one Direction and Twilight? 

We call them ditzy and bitchy 

And when teenage boys are cruel to them 

We say “boys will be boys” 

“He’s only mean to you because he likes you” 

But little girls don’t stay little forever 

 

They turn into something furious and ugly 

They turn into something with sharp edges 

And a rage that has been built on years of being told that they are delicate and easy to break 

I watched on the news the story of a 15-year-old girl 

Naked and starving 

Swimming across a 150-acre lake 

She climbed out of that lake 

Dripping and skinny and she kept running until she was safe

You see the two men who had kept her in a cupboard for 29 days had left her alone

Because after 29 days in a cupboard 

A little girl would not be able to escape 

But little girls don’t stay little forever 

 

They turn into superhuman athletes 

That can outswim evil even whilst bleeding and broken and half dead

I watched on the news the story of a 17-year old girl 

With a shaved head on national TV

unflinchingly starting a battle cry

days after watching her friends die 

Without stuttering or shaking she stood in front of her country

You see, little girls don’t’ stay little forever 

 

They turn into young politicians who do not give respect to men in suits who haven’t earned it 

I watched on the news, Kyle Stephens 

Now a grown woman

Stand inches away from the man who abused her and 300 other little girls 

And she said 

“Little girls don’t stay little forever” 

 

They turn into strong women who return to destroy your world

And I hope every little girl knows that she is capable of destruction 

That for every big thing that will try and hurt her 

She can outswim it 

That for every law that will try and oppress her 

She can fight it 

That she can stand inches away from the thing that tried to kill her 

And show it how enormously it failed 

I hope she knows that the moment she was born 

She was given a list of things that she cannot do 

Because she is small and breakable and female 

And I hope she reads about all those women 

who shoved that list into their mouths 

chewed it up, and spat it out 

Because they did not owe shit to the world 

that thought so little of teenage girls 

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