For Halloween of 2013, Jennifer Muhm’s then 4-year-old daughter wanted to dress up as an astronaut. She quickly became discouraged when she noticed that only boys — no girls — were advertised wearing the costume.
“After we showed her lots of photos of female astronauts, she made a great astronaut for Halloween,” Muhm told LittleThings.
Gender stereotypes like these are instilled even before birth: Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. These differences later translate to toys, where girls are often expected to play with dolls and princesses while boys are given trucks and dinosaurs.
This motivated Muhm to start buddingSTEM with her friend Malorie Catchpole, who encountered similar issues with her daughter. The toddler line offers dresses, pants, and tops with prints society has deemed suitable for only the boys.
“We want to redefine these ‘boy things’ — dinosaurs, rockets, trains, and more — as ‘kid things’ that can also be found in the girls section,” Muhm said.
These stereotypes, they said, also dissuade young girls from gaining an interest in STEM – professions of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In fact, women make up less than 25 percent of the STEM workforce, a number that has barely shifted since 2000.
“The images matter,” Muhm explained. “They tell young girls that things like science and engineering aren’t for them.”
Their line, funded via Kickstarter, has raised more than $60,000. Muhm and Catchpole said they’ve also received positive feedback from women, who tell them they wish they could have worn clothes like these when they were toddlers. Some fathers are also in favor of the clothes.
BuddingSTEM “is a start toward encouraging girls’ early interests in topics that typically have been reserved for boys. And it’s part of a growing movement to rethink the messages we are sending young girls,” Muhm said.
See the clothes below, and please SHARE this powerful message with all the mothers you know!