Ad Shows What Happens When We Stop Telling Girls to Be Pretty, and Start Inspiring Their Minds
byKaitlin StanfordJun 26, 2014
A powerful ad released by Verizon and Makers leaves us with one big question this week: What would happen if we stopped always telling our girls to be pretty and polite, and instead encouraged them to get a little messy, to run with the boys and to explore a little more?
The ad is part of a larger conversation that's been swirling around in the last year, about why it is we don't see more women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. According to the National Science Foundation, 66 percent of 4th grade girls say they're interested in math and science, but only 18 percent actually graduate college with engineering degrees.
So where does this all come from?
Some say it's about the encouragement we're giving (or not giving) our girls in school. But in Verizon's latest commercial, they focus on the social cues we're sending our girls at home, too. The ad tracks the adventurous childhood of a girl named Sammy, who starts off as a curious toddler and grows up to be an even more curious teenager. But while she's busy trying to explore the world around her, she's also constantly hearing the same things over and over from her parents: "Let your brother do that" ... "That's my pretty girl" ... and the classic "Don't get your dress dirty."
While these all may sound like harmless, everyday phrases, should we maybe pause to think about the message they're really sending our girls? After all, who's to say a beautiful girl is one who never gets her dress dirty? Maybe the "prettiest girl" is the one donning ripped overalls, exploring in the woods and making some kind of crazy science project in the garage. Maybe she's got a little dirt under her fingernails and her hair is wild and unkempt. And maybe, just maybe, we could shift our thinking and realize that there is beauty in brilliance, too.