Kathleen Boyd's Essay Submission
Saved by the Berkley: The Inspiration of a Hollywood Starlet, Elizabeth Berkley
Twenty-first century women constantly endure the emotional stress of the raging technological era and distance themselves from the one-on-one social support system connecting them to reality. Many teens growing up in this era endure so much bullying and peer drama that they forget the amazing people they are. One starlet, Elizabeth Berkley (infamously known as Jessie Spano from the television show Saved by the Bell) challenges these teen issues through workshops all over the world. In her workshops, Berkley asks teen girls to submit anonymous questions, ranging from relationship trouble to fashion advice to emotional stress and anxiety, and uses those questions to start an open discussion, inviting them all to comment. After picking up her book, which addresses the same issues from the workshops, I found Berkley inspires me to embrace the woman I am inside and out. She inspires me because she navigated stardom as a young woman with all its critics and pressures and came out on top defeating the negativity with “strength, courage and knowledge,” according to an interview with Aspire magazine. Berkley now builds these traits with the next generation of girls through her non-profit organization, ask-elizabeth.com.
This summer I found I needed strength, courage, and knowledge to finally become the woman I am—now that I am twenty-one. The past few years I have been struggling with depression due to years of emotional abuse from family. The abuse took an emotional toll on me causing me to overeat and lose self-confidence in myself. Finally, I went to talk to someone outside of the emotional abuse circle I lived in and realized that I was worthy of loving myself and being me to my fullest potential. By chance, I came across Berkley’s book at a local bookstore and picked it up to read Berkley’s advice on depression. Surprisingly, I realized I was not the only one in the world dealing with this abuse; so many other girls were too—commenting on the issue alongside Berkley in the book. It is scary to admit you have a problem, but anonymously discussing it with the world empowers young women to take on life’s challenges, even with the support of strangers.
I applaud Berkley for creating a positive online environment for young girls encouraging them to openly discuss life issues with one another. This promotes dialogue between girls around the world, connecting them to someone with the same issue or question to feel empowered and supported by peers.
Berkley inspires me to help beat these issues by taking a stand and starting small. I have been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters for a year and half now mentoring a thirteen year old girl. She comes from a large, unstable family and it is hard for her to have a positive relationship with her parents. Inspired by Berkley to openly discuss issues with my Little, I hope to help one teen girl on her journey to becoming the strong, courageous, knowledgeable woman I have become.