When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Now, think about if you ever saw someone who looked like you in that role? Chances are, you did. Which brings me to this week’s topic: representation.
As a white woman, I do not have to worry about this for myself as much as my friends of color. However, it has been shown that people are more likely to set and reach goals if they identify with others who have achieved those same things. For example, a young black girl is more likely to aspire to and then achieve a goal of making an impact through politics if she sees Michelle Obamas and Condoleeza Rices just as often as George Bushes and Joe Bidens. The fictional world’s level of representation is even worse. Think of all of the times you have seen a scientist portrayed in a movie or TV show. Now, how many of those scientists were Hispanic women? It goes both ways, too. How many times have we seen an Asian man play the love interest in a movie? I surely cannot think of one.All this to say, the significant parts of the world we live in are not primarily white, nor predominantly male. However, based on many representative portrayals of it- you wouldn’t know otherwise. So, if we want an inclusive future that gives all children the opportunity to set and achieve lofty goals- we need to start showing them that they can. You can do this with the young women in your life through A Mighty Girl.
A Mighty Girl is a world-changing company that brings EMPOWERING books, activities, and toys to girls and women of all ages. They specifically sell books that teach girls the power of the mind and confidence. Their Facebook page personally inspires me, too, with stories of strong women in history- of all races and backgrounds. So, this week’s suggestion to change the world is two-fold
- Pay attention to who and how is being represented in the media you consume, and adjust that consumption if it doesn’t fit your values
- Empower the girls in your life, either through the tools available at Mighty Girl, or a simple encouragement that girls are just as good at math as boys are.
P.S. If you, like me, are bothered at the overly sexual Halloween costumes at Party City that are supposedly intended for young girls, Mighty Girl also has a collection of Halloween costumes that are age-appropriate.