This weekend I had the chance to emcee the American Girl Doll fashion show with the lovely Miss Shelby County, CaDana Campbell.
I thought this weekend would just be a fun, light, appearance that wouldn't really leave much of an impression on myself or those attending.
Man, was I wrong!
While I thought this Saturday's festivities would be all about the outfits, adorable models, and dolls, I learned a lot more about what the American girl brand stands for.
According to the company's website, their mission statement says: “American Girl’s mission is to celebrate girls. We embrace who they are today and look forward to who they will become tomorrow”. This mission statement by the American Girl company directly influences every American Girls’ story and journey.
If girls are taught to break barriers at 9 and 10 and are taught to look up women who have broken down gender stereo types in the past, then we will be looking towards a generation of young women that seek to achieve gender equality and know of nothing other than to strive towards the goal of female empowerment and building up their fellow woman.
While many brands and companies talk about inspiring young girls to achieve their dreams, there often isn't a lot of "doing" outside of the conversation. Yes, sparking a conversation is necessary for change , but so is action upon that conversation. One of my favorite quotes says "I don't believe what you say, I believe what you do." I think this quote is really applicable to brands who claim to change gender roles.
This weekend was definitely eye opening. There IS a company putting products into girls' hands that remind them day to day, they can be anything they want, because the women who have come before them have dreamed big and dared to try and sometimes fail. The American Girl brand is teaching young girls to look to history for inspiration and role models, and less to pop culture and TV characters.
I was shocked when reading my script to see that the conversation of equality was brought up and even Title IX was mentioned. I realized this is something little girls need to start hearing at a young age. If girls are taught to break barriers at 9 or 10 and are taught to look up to women who have broken down gender stereo types in the past, then we will be looking toward a generation of young women that seek to achieve gender equality and know of nothing other than to strive towards the goal of female empowerment and building up their fellow woman.
Adding to the positivism of Saturday night's festivities, I had the pleasure of spending the evening with my co-host, Miss Shelby County. I've known CaDana for a couple of years and have had the pleasure of getting to know her better this year. It was such a treasure to be able to spend the evening with such a positive, uplifting young woman and to know that she IS a role model these little girls can look up to. After the show, CaDana and I signed autographs and took pictures, and I couldn't stop smiling. After all the girls that wanted their picture with me made their way out of the ballroom, I stepped behind the curtains to grab my things before saying my goodbyes and heading out. I peaked out to see CaDana still smiling, laughing, and loving on a few little girls that had lingered a little longer to spend time with the princess that they admired so much. One little girl proudly announced that she was Little Miss Shelby County and she had come up to me several times during the show and backstage asking where the REAL Miss Shelby County was. Her eyes lit up when she finally got to see the role model she'd been waiting so long to meet. I mentioned all of that just to say it makes me so proud to see these girls taking their job of being a titleholder so seriously. It makes me so proud to know that in June, there will be 35 other role models standing by my side. Not just pageant queens, but women who are inspiring younger generations to achieve their dreams and are giving these girls someone to look up to and to imitate.
It was such a joy Saturday night to see girls being inspired by a company that wants to motivate young women, and it was a pleasure to be a part of an event that radiated such a positive atmosphere.
To wrap all this up, I'll leave you with one last quote that sums up my main point of this post.
Here's to strong women,