My mom always told me that one of the worst things you can do to a child is to tell them that they cannot achieve something, putting limits in their minds on what they can do or accomplish. For example, when I was in the third grade, I did a book report on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and I decided that I wanted to be a Justice just like her. Even at the ripe old age of 9, I knew that's what I wanted to do. Most people laughed at me. Seriously, what are the odds of a little girl from Orlando, FL, growing up and being appointed to the most prestigious seat in our country's legal system? Two people that were not laughing; however, were my parents. They supported me 100% and said that I could absolutely become a Supreme Court Justice if I worked hard enough. Obviously, 21 years later and after falling in love with acting, I have now chosen a different career path, but I have since asked my mom why she always supported my lofty ambitions? Simply put, she said that a child believes what you tell them. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, but if you tell a child that they cannot do something or they cannot achieve something, they will believe you. A child's potential can be squashed with just a few simple words.
Recently, J.C. Penny and
To me, it's sad because all wrapped up in a fashionable, pink sparkly package, girls are being told to rely on their looks and that it's okay not
to excel in school. The shirts are pretty and the stores dictate what's in style, so if Forever 21 says it's okay to be “Allergic to Algebra” girls are going to believe it and use that as an excuse. Trust me, algebra was not my favorite subject. In fact, it gave me my first ever B one semester. I was given the opportunity to take algebra a year early. So in 8th grade, I was bussed to the high school in the morning to take algebra with the high school kids and then I was bussed back to middle school for a full day of classes. My days were long and it was a tough year. Algebra did not come easy to me, and I had to study all the time to get a good grade in the class. Even though it was hard, my parents and teachers told me that I was smart enough to handle the class, and I was expected to do well. I was never given an excuse to believe anything else. Many people do not see the problem with this shirt. After all, how many people go on to use algebra in their everyday life? I've most certainly forgotten most of it. However, that's not the point. I learned so much more from algebra than just numbers and problem solving. Making it through that whole experience gave me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of discipline, and a new found confidence in myself that, at the awkward age of 14, one is constantly searching to find.
With all of the new technology, I feel like kids are becoming smarter and smarter these days. Heck, my 6 year old niece can use an i-phone better than I can. Girls, especially, have so many more opportunities to exceed today than in the past. So many doors have been opened for girls, whereas before they were closed with a sign hanging that said, “For Boys Only.” It's amazing see women run for President of the United States, serve as Secretary of State, and hold high positions in both the public and private sector! These women achieved greatness through education and hard work. So why do we continue to send messages to our girls that it's okay not to excel in school and that being pretty is more important that being smart? Let's start making Smart Shirts for Smart Girls! I truly believe that my mom is right, that a child will believe what you tell them. So let's tell our girls that being Smart is Sexy and Brains are Beautiful because an educated girl is a powerful girl… and that's the message we want them to believe!