It's been two years since I did this project. I've shared it multiple times, because I'm so proud of it and what it stands for. I thought it was time to write about it.
I've told this story before, but for those who haven't read it, or who have forgotten where it started, I'll tell it again.
Once upon a time in the land of Walmart, there were two magazines. They were aimed at the younger crowd, maybe those in their very early teens. One was called "For Boys" and one was called "For Girls." On the cover of the magazine aimed at males were questions of what they would be when they grew up. Who they would be. Doctor? Lawyer? Astronomer? There was, if I remember correctly, a photo of something like a chemistry set, or a microscope. I don't exactly remember what it was, as it's been two years, but when I looked beside it at the magazine that was aimed at females, I was immediately appalled. Disgusted.
On the cover of this magazine, there was no mention of a future. No mention of a career or anything educational. Instead were things like, "How to Get Him to Notice You", "Hair Secrets" and how to dress. The photo was of a blonde, smiling young girl.
My daughter was five at the time. I thought, is this what we're aiming for? Is this what we tell young girls is important? The fact that these magazines were even titled as they were, outright telling these young kids that THIS magazine is for girls, and THIS magazine is for boys, was bad enough,both for girls AND boys.
All our lives, we as females are told that yes, these are things that are supposed to be important to us. Clothes. Hair. Makeup. Body type. Weight. These expectations don't go away as we age. Is it wrong to care about your makeup and hair and appearance? No. Should it be what defines us? No.
The wheels started turning, because standing beside me was a little girl who I knew could be so much more than what the world told her she should be. I wanted her to know that she could choose her path based on what she wanted to do, what she wanted to be. I wanted her to know that she did not need to stand inside the box that the world told her she should stand inside.
We have a long way to go, but I like to think that the world is moving forward. In today's world, women are proving themselves to not only be capable of going out and doing a job, but doing a job that is often thought of as a male profession, and doing it well. From the stories that the women in these photos have told me, they've had to work hard to get where they are. They've had to fight stereotypes all the way from those who thought that they weren't capable of doing a "man's" job, and prove themselves just because they are women.
For now, all we can hope for is that we can raise a good human who knows that her gender should not be a factor when deciding what she wants to do with her life. It certainly should not be considered a limitation. We've told her many times that she can be whatever she wants to be when she grows up.
At seven years old, all she really cares about is puppies, dragons and unicorns. She gravitates towards things that are pink, sparkly and glittery, though when it comes to clothing, she dislikes anything she considers "fancy". She catches frogs in the pond, wrestles with her dad, and thinks poop is hilarious. She knows that toys are not for girls or boys; they are for anyone who wants to play with them.
We think she'll be just fine.