Princess, schmincess — a few very cool role models for a little girl

In art, beauty, behavior, blogging, children, Crime, domestic life, education, family, life, love, parenting, photography, women, work on May 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Loved this!

So my amazing daughter, Emma,  turned 5 last month, and I had been searching everywhere for new-creative inspiration for her 5yr pictures. I noticed quite a pattern of so many young girls dressing up as beautiful Disney Princesses, no matter where I looked 95% of the “ideas” were the “How to’s” of  how to dress your little girl like a Disney Princess…
It started me thinking about all the REAL women for my daughter to know about and look up too, REAL women who without ever meeting Emma have changed her life for the better. My daughter wasn’t born into royalty, but she was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President if she wants and that’s what REALLY matters. I wanted her to know the value of these amazing women who had gone against everything so she can now have everything. We chose 5 women (five amazing and strong women), as it was her 5th birthday but there are thousands of unbelievable women (and girls) who have beat the odds and fought (and still fight) for their equal rights all over the world…… let’s set aside the Barbie Dolls and the Disney Princesses for just a moment, and let’s show our girls the REAL women they can be.

The black and white photos of Emma, dressed and posed as Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller and Jane Goodall are charming, lovely and thought-provoking — taken by her mother, Austin, TX-based photographer Jaime Moore.

English: Helen Keller. Français : Helen Keller.

English: Helen Keller. Français : Helen Keller. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t have a daughter or even nieces to hang out with, but smart, powerful, high-achieving role models are huge for young girls, especially in cultures that tend to value women primarily or exclusively for being thin/pretty/docile/mothers.

It’s not easy to be a smart, ferociously determined young woman, and find a welcoming place in a larger world that is sharp-elbowed enough as it is.

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing up, some of the women in my field of journalism who inspired me included contemporary photographers Susan Meiselas, Deborah Turbeville, and Jill Krementz (who I got to meet and shadow for a day, {also Kurt Vonnegut’s wife}) and other successful women journalists, from Molly Ivins and Nelly Bly and Margaret Bourke-White to war correspondents Marguerite Higgins and Martha Gellhorn, (also one of Hemingway’s wives).

Have you ever heard of Washington Post photographer Carol Guzy?

She has (so far!) won four Pulitzer Prizes:

As a young girl, Carol Guzy always wanted to be an artist. But as she was coming of age in a working-class family in Bethlehem, Pa., such an ambition seemed impossible. “Everyone I knew said, ‘Oh, if you’re an artist, you’ll starve,'” she recalls. “You have to do something really practical.'” So Guzy chose to go to nursing school. Halfway through she realized she would not, could not, be a nurse. “I was scared to death I was going to kill someone by making some stupid mistake,” she laughs. So while she was trying to figure out what to do with her life, a friend gave her a camera and she took a photography course. Her fascination with photography led to an internship and then a job at the Miami Herald. In 1988 she moved to The Post. Her photographs have won three Pulitzer Prizes and three Photographer of the Year awards in the National Press Photographers’ annual contest.

A long list of cool, brave women led the way so that I could do the work I enjoy. I admire the hell out of them and am grateful to them for speaking up and out and taking risks, both physical and professional.

Signature of Susan B Anthony

Signature of Susan B Anthony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you have a role model growing up?

Who — and how did that affect you?

  1. This was an awesome & inspiring post!

  2. One year I dressed up as Georgia O’Keeffe — she was my fav! I think, most of all I was inspired by Mary Chapin Carpenter. I loved how empowering her music was. Also my mother, who originally got a degree in Education (her father gave her a list of practical/acceptable majors) and now has created her own knitwear design company. Thanks for such an inspirational post!

  3. JK Rowling was the author who got me into writing, so I guess I have her to credit. Of course, it wasn’t until I read Anne Rice and Stephen King that I realized how much I enjoy horror.

  4. A great post. Also, it was nice to see Molly Ivins — a personal favorite of mine who fought her own demons and soldiered on. Smart and very, very funny.

  5. My mother. My grandmother. A few teachers here and there. Georgia O’Keefe.

    If I were bent toward the divine, I would think Molly Ivins was on loan from Heaven.

  6. Virginia Woolf. Possibly not the best idea I’ve ever had😉

  7. i did not have a role model and had to find my own way, which makes me understand how important it is to have one in your life. wonderful post )

  8. My role model has always been my mom. She was (and still is) a very strong, smart and powerful woman. Despite that she was a young mom (she had me as a teenager) and had very little formal education (she didn’t finish high school — opting instead to take the GED at age 16), I remember that she was never intimidated by anyone. She believed in herself, she stood up for what she believed in, and she always found a way where others only saw a dead end. She taught me that with hard work, perseverance, and a healthy dose of reality, you can achieve what others view as unachievable. And that’s stuck with me for life.

    Loved this post — so inspirational!

  9. Ladies, loathe though I am to intrude on your PyjamaParty… I nominate “the [then] most dangerous woman in America”… for your consideration.

    [Ms. Malled may well note some interesting historical parallels viz. TransplantedCanucks and stoicism.]

  10. Reblogged this on Family Matters and commented:
    I’ve seen these photos in a few places now, and I think they are wonderful. My favourite is the Amelia Earhart photo. Which is yours?

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