Before starting this article, I was clear on my angle, which was: it’s okay to want companionship, especially as a young woman. That is until I went online and just typed: What do girls want? The first thing that popped up was “10 things girls really want from guys”, and from there it gets worse. It was all things that girls supposedly do to get what they want from boys.

It was all about what ropes girls should jump if they want to get the guy they want; myself included wanted to do backflips jumping those ropes to get my dream partner (sigh). But maybe we should ask girls what they really want before we write 1000-and-more worded articles telling them what we think they want, right?

We shouldn’t be reduced to that. Even if that is what girls want, they should dictate the narrative. So, I just had to ask girls the burning question: What do you want?

Siphokuhle Nxayiphi, 18

I want to be able to walk the streets at any time of the day or night and not fear that I might be killed, stalked, or raped. I want to wear what I want wherever I am going without being worried about uncomfortable stares. I guess as a girl I just want freedom to truly be.

Monique Jordaan, 20
I am feminine, I have always been, but it feels unpopular to be so ‘normal’ especially in my generation. As a girl I want to be as feminine as I want to be. I simply want to be a girl that likes flowers, boys, wants to get married and have kids one day; that’s all.

Nadia, 20
Girls want careers; but they also want love. I don’t think there is something distinct that I can say for sure that all girls want; we are different, with different wants and needs. But I think we all want successful stress-free lives in a society free of sexism, patriarchy, gender inequality and misogyny. It sounds like things that are simple to gain, but we’ve learned from our mothers, who have been girls, that things don’t go that way.


Tell us: What do you think girls want?

Check out what young people have to say about being youth in 2022 here