FIRST THOUGHT: Empowering Girls to Wear What They Want
When we’re first born, a nurse wraps us up in a white receiving blanket with blue and pink stripes. How cool is it that whether you’re Kelly Clarkson or Kenny from Kentucky—a girl or a boy—the same blanket from the same company keeps you warm if you live in North America. We all start off on the same foot, or rather, swaddle. There’s no reason our differences, like our class or race or gender, ought to define us when we all enter the world in the exact same way, but they still do.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 65 Percent
We’re dressed in gendered clothing when we’re as young as zero months old (like, as in barely on this earth). When looking at clothes for boys and girls, you might be surprised that sexism of gendered clothing goes past stereotypical T-shirt sayings. If you hold up girls’ and boys’ shorts, for instance, chances are you’ll find a difference in length. Many parents have found that girls’ shorts are 65 percent shorter than boys’, even when the shorts are as little as a size 6!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Sharon Choksi, Founder of Girls Will Be
If you’re a mother and have thought you must be crazy to think girls’ clothing is a bit smaller and shorter than boys’, you’re not. Sharon Choksi is one mom who’s taken notice, and she’s over it, y’all. She did a little research to validate her suspicions by collecting the clothes of boys and girls in the same age and size group from 10 of the biggest retailers.
What Sharon discovered when she got out her measuring tape was that girls’ sleeves and shorts were shorter and their shirts were thinner than the boys’. Critics might say, “Well, little Johnny is bigger than Joanne.” But if you remember, girls start puberty earlier and are often taller than boys until the age of 9.
With that in mind, Sharon started Girls Will Be, inspired by her daughter and niece, who wanted to wear clothes that didn’t scream “pretty princess.” When Sharon began her Girls Will Be journey, she’d been a stay-at-home mom for six years. But by combining her mommy-ing experience, master’s degree and marketing expertise learned at Dell, Sharon created a praiseworthy solution for those little girls.
Sharon began Girls Will Be by launching more than a dozen T-shirt designs for girls with empowering messages and words like “bold,” “daring” and “fearless.” Then Sharon noticed that whole shorty-shorts trend and created a Kickstarter fund to change the game by creating styles of shorts for girls who didn’t like the standard short or skinny fit. Girls Will Be shorts are roomier than traditional girls’ shorts, but not as baggy as boys’. Hitting just above the knee, they come in an assortment of colors and with—get this—pockets! Oftentimes even we adult women don’t get that.
Parents responded eagerly to Sharon’s idea. In fact, when the Kickstarter fund launched in 2014, it was the No. 1 most funded childrenswear project on the site. Sharon’s empowering goals for Girls Will Be include breaking gender stereotypes, offering a fresh, necessary take on the future of young girls’ clothing.
QUITE THE QUOTE
As our fearless and creative Woman to Watch, Sharon Choksi, said:
“If you believe in something, you go and make it happen.”