Gone are the days where the doctor, the pilot, and the astronaut all contain the prefix of ‘Mr’. Even Disney have altered their stereotypical blockbuster movies where the female lead is no longer a damsel in distress, but a crime-fighting, independent and successful woman (see Zootropolis). So why is it okay for young girls to live up to old-fashioned and outdated female stereotypes?
We are living in a revolutionary age that constantly strives to challenge the gender bias that has been prevalent since the beginning of time. Women and men around the world are fighting together for total gender equality; forcing everyone to rethink stereotypical ideologies of what a man or woman should be, should do, or should look like.
When I was a little girl I asked my mother what she wanted to be. She had grand notions of becoming a teacher; and that’s what they were, notions. In reality, she knew that she could never reach her dream because, like most women of her generation, she was living in a man’s world. The backlash of this male -chauvinistic era continues to filter into today’s society where, more often than not, the girl chooses to be the damsel in distress, while the boys go to fight the deadly dragon.
Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo are two LA-based creative entrepreneurs, who are also co-founders of children’s media group Timbuktu Labs, are challenging us to rethink typical societal stereotypes. In their most recent venture, the pair produced a wonderfully simple (but an extremely effective) method of teaching young girls that it’s okay to dream big and reach for your goals.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a collection of 100 clever bedtime stories telling tales of past and present real-life female heroes, including that of Serena Williams and Freda Kahlo. In an attempt to raise funds for their venture, the duo placed their product on Kickstarter (a popular website for crowdfunding), and the project has since become the most pledged book in history on the site. To date, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls has raised an astounding $675,614; even though their initial goal was $40,000. The surge in donations means that Ravioli and Cavallo can continue their fight for gender equality and break social moulds, and have pledged to start a Female Leadership Programme in Rwanda in 2017.
Airing their views on their Kickstarter page, Favilli and Cavallo expressed that their drive for this project derived from constantly being surrounded by false stereotypical models of what women ‘ought’ to be:
“that 95% of the books and TV shows we grew up with lacked girls in prominent positions. We’re both in our early 30s, we’re female entrepreneurs, and we know first-hand how hard it is to succeed, to be considered, to be given a chance”, they said.
You can help Favilli and Cavallo to continue their fight against gender bias by ordering your copy here.
This week the topic of female stereotypes was further highlighted by this viral video produced by The MullenLowe Group, which urges the wider community to redraw and rethink how we see the gender balance. The video depicts a class of young children who are asked to draw a fireman, a surgeon, and a pilot. They were also asked to name their pictures; with each child naturally giving their characters male names. Afterwards, their teacher introduces the class to a fireman, a surgeon, and a pilot. Their reaction speaks for itself.