Photo by  Meghan Arnold

Photo by Meghan Arnold

Ryan Murphy

The Young Blood & The Uber Feminist

Career: Founded the Broughton Young Feminists

When she's not at school: She's schooling those around her in feminism, cooking, or coloring in her Ruth Bader Ginsberg coloring book.

What's awesome about Ryan?: Ryan's wisdom is well beyond her years. She's smart, driven, and very opinionated about all things feminism. She is action-oriented and will go on to change the world (I have no doubt about it).

How to get involved: Follow Broughton Young Feminists on social media or share your expertise at a club meeting. 

Photo by  Meghan Arnold

Photo by Meghan Arnold

Teenagers everywhere have a strong role model in Ryan Murphy, founder of Broughton High School’s Young Feminists Club. A 17-year-old rising senior at Broughton, Ryan is nothing short of well-spoken, opinionated, and impressive.

After realizing the serious necessity for a young feminists club at Broughton and recognizing Broughton’s support of clubs, Ryan gathered up a few of her ‘besties’ and began the club. Though anticipating pushback from the club, Ryan knew that her biggest strength was “starting with a foundation of being totally sure of ourselves and sure of what our message was,” a message that should speak to every female entrepreneur.

Ryan’s confidence had huge payoffs -- the Young Feminists became the most populated independent club at Broughton, and their first meeting space was hardly big enough to hold everyone. And Ryan isn’t all talk, either: the Broughton Young feminists organize breakfasts for soup kitchens, volunteer for Planned Parenthood and politicians, partner with Meredith College, and work with WISER and UNICEF.

Ryan values differing opinions, playing the devil’s advocate, and sharing perspectives with club members through speakers. Ryan also recognizes the value of male participation, as nearly ¼ of the club is male, an impressive feat for anything feminist and speaks to Ryan’s commitment to the cause. She says that Broughton’s traditional Southern roots and focus on traditional masculinity create some “unspoken discomfort” around the subject of feminism, but she feels great support from the principal and most of her teachers, who  solicit her opinions on many matters. As a result, Ryan was the representative for her school at the Superintendent’s Leadership Council.

Listening to Ryan speak about herd mentalities, deindividualization, and cultural relativism made me forget that I was talking to a high-schooler. She says that feminists need to stop "just talking" and encourage a deep understanding of these issues. While Ryan intends to pursue a degree in Psychology and get her culinary arts degree, she plans to devote her personal life to feminism. She's been changed by seeing how her club has banded together and made substantive change, and that she is convinced that things can be done. Female entrepreneurs? Take a lesson from Ryan’s dedication to action and change and her ability to be outspoken, opinionated, well-versed, and articulate.