There’s been discussion recently about a photographer who, according to the articles, is teaching her daughters Strong is The New Pretty.
As the story goes, Kate Parker was prepping for a gallery show when she realized all her strongest images were of her daughters.
Her daughters simply being themselves. Brave, dirty, confident, messy, strong.
Thanks to having a mom who encouraged them in sports and what used to be seen as boy-type play (hello grit, determination & mud puddles) these photos perfectly captured the message Kate wanted to send:
They (and in turn we as exhibition viewer) should value personal character and strength over any societally-established beauty norms.
I was never a girly girl.
One of the first times I wore a bikini was on stage, technically called a posing suit, and had nothing to do with pretty or sexy.
I came in last. I didn’t care.
The first time I read about Kate’s exhibit I found myself nodding in agreement.
I loved her shared story about harnessing the power of her photographs to remind one of her daughters of (my words here) past successes.
I smiled as she described using one of the pictures to help her daughter recognize the confidence she already possessed.
Pretending to be strong gave her the confidence to say, wait a minute, I really am that way.
I loved this sentiment.
Here we do it with words (Remember when we did ____? You rocked that! I know you can do the same thing now!) but it’s the same approach.
I remind my girl she’s unstoppable and I know that to be true because Ive seen her in action before.
That’s where Kate and I parted ways.
I read and reread the articles about her exhibit (she clarifies she intends us to meet our girls as they are and isn’t denigrating pink lovers) and still got snagged by the word pretty.
For me strong just is.
the strongest, most resilient girl I know.
The power of her exhibit diminished in my eyes by the addition of the phrase “…is the new pretty.” No matter how Kate qualified or explained it away I finished each article with the sense of:
Be strong not pretty. Being pretty isn’t being strong. Pick one.
Why do we need to qualify the phrase with anything?
Why is it not enough to title the exhibit: Strength? Or The Power of Girls?
If, as Kate’s supporters have said, the exhibit showcases what it means to be a girl–why not drop the P-Word?
Why not simply show various ways girls display strength?
she loves how pretty the photo is since her tee matches her trampoline.
To me strong is not the new skinny.
Strong is not the next SEXY.
Strong is definitely not the new pretty.
Strong and pretty can go hand in manicured hand.
For me just the word strong is enough.
- Did you read about the exhibit? Did you have any of my same reactions?