Guest post from Terri Birnbaum -co-founder of The RealGirls Revolution
Over the course of six years, and with the immense talent of many artists, and partnerships with some amazing organizations, a collection of illustrated girls became a 50-page coloring book we titled, RealGirls. Our story began when my daughter, Lydia, was eight, she and I were sewing clothes for her Barbies and had trouble making the dresses fit well on their tiny waists.
In frustration, I said, “Why don’t they just make real girls?” And with that, we began our long journey producing a book that celebrates girls’ unique and beautiful differences.
First, I reached out to community groups, student associations, art galleries, and college art programs, to meet with artists who were equally passionate about creating an alternative to the limited, and highly stereotyped, princesses and dolls that saturate our mainstream popular culture. Artists identified things they felt weren’t represented, and created girls that incorporated those qualities, or sketched friends or family members they felt embodied those qualities. They also used the opportunity to invest their artwork with visual messages addressing things that were important to them like, socioeconomic concerns, education, and cultural identity. One artist created a girl with a huge smile, understated clothing, and books in her arms, another created a girl wearing a traditional, culturally-specific scarf. These are just two examples of how artists chose to communicate pride in education and cultural identity. [Read more…]