Strong is the New Pretty

slide_416696_5295546_freeThis morning I woke up to an email with the subject line “inspiring,” sent from one of my best friends in Chicago. (It’s Kayla, my Chicago road trip buddy from this post a few months back). Well, of course that immediately sounded like something I muuust start my day with, so I opened it right away.  It took me to a Huffington Post article about a photographer named Kate Parker who is showcasing some truly beautiful and authentic photographs of little girls – two of which are her own daughters. So why was this newsworthy? Because these images showcase an accurate depiction of what little girls are and not what society broadcasts in ad campaigns, and that’s something you don’t see everyday. The article begins with, “Messy. Loud. Athletic. Joyous. Fearless.”  I’m beginning to think we can learn a lot from these photos!

slide_416696_5295650_free slide_416696_5295534_freeWe hear time and time again, you can learn just as much from your kids as they can learn from you. This is one of those instances where the freedom and confidence of young girls is incredibly inspiring and radiating from these images – and Parker captures it so perfectly.

This photo series celebrates girls in a raw and natural way, and it definitely hits home. When I think back to my childhood, I can see myself in all of these images…dirt and sweat were my friends, chlorine stained hair was the norm and I could have cared less if I looked “okay” in a photo. Then life carries on and adolescence takes a serious toll mentally (wasn’t middle school just the worst?), and somewhere along the way you have to regain your confidence and really work to find those little bits of “messy, loud, athletic, joyous, fearless” that are leftover. I’m not messy anymore (I now prefer painted nails to dirt under my nails), I’m only loud in the comfort of my own home and with people who know me best, I’m athletic when I have the time (being an adult is hard work!), joy comes in waves, and “fearless” is now something I aspire to be.

Isn’t that how it goes?

I love these images because of what they stand for. As little girls, we are fearless, and these images speak volumes about celebrating natural beauty and individuality without regard for judgement. I only wish we could instill those values in young girls for longer. It’s time to try.

Now, take a second look at Parker’s images. Do you feel how powerful they are? I certainly do.

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