Girl Power is back in the media and perhaps it never left. Most recently we have seen GoldieBlox, a girls toy company making toys that challenge logic and spatial reasoning, bolstering confidence. And a slough of pro-female empowerment messages coming out from media outlets as topics such as bullying and rape culture have been circulating.
One organization that is hoping to contribute to the changes in cultural tides is Silver Heart Apparel, created by father, Michael D. Jones, in an attempt to change the messaging surrounding female apparel. When he set out to create shirts for his daughter’s volleyball team he encountered the damaging messaging that is frequently found in female clothing. Phrases like “eat less”, “allergic to algebra”, and “best subject is: shopping”.
Silver Heart Apparel is currently pursuing a kickstarter campaign and is currently at $700 with 6 backers. There are 22 more days in the campaign and the ultimate goal is $2,500. There are many different levels of giving, but for $25 you can choose a shirt for yourself or your child (shirts are available in unisex). The shirts loudly exclaim “iCan”, “I’m Possible”, and many other designs that assert the importance of self-confidence.
Why this story is so personal to me is because I have made my career in partnering with local non-profits. During the early stages of my career I taught after-school classes teaching a class to elementary-aged girls with strong themes of girl empowerment. In this class we worked on running skills as a way to gain confidence and endurance. After working with the girls for a term, it became clear to me that positive messaging changes everything. Grades change, attitude changes, and young women begin working towards goals. These shirts are great because they flip the message on its head. Our young girls are more than “pretty” or “princesses” – they’re the leaders and innovators of tomorrow. From their clothes to what we as parents, teachers, and friends tell them – it all counts.
In the New Year I am hoping to join Girls on the Run Metro Portland as an assistant or a coach to continue this important work in the community. Our Community Blogger, Anne Milligan, and Kelly Barten, admin – have both been extensively committed to developing the GOTR program in the Portland Metro area.
Mr. Jones puts it into better words than I could on his website,
“The mission of Silver Heart Apparel is to empower girls with infinite possibility and to educate the public of their potential. Every purchase of Silver Heart Apparel does more than support the girls around you, it also supports community efforts to empower girls around the world. A portion of each purchase will go to support local and global charities with an interest in the welfare of girls. By empowering all girls, we open up worlds of possibility for everyone.”