Majora Carter. Janine Benyus. Maggie Aderin-Pocock. Ever heard of them?
Probably not. But besides embodying change and breaking down gender barriers, these women all have one thing in common: they’ve been featured as role models by PinkStinks, a British organization that provides young girls with alternatives to media messages.
By promoting real role models, Ema and Abi Moore–the sisters and founders of PinkStinks–encourage girls to feel good about themselves without needing to being rich, famous, beautiful, and fake. To the Moore siblings, the culture of “pink” is more than the color: it is a message that puts girls in boxes and limits them from reaching their full potential.
As for the role models they pick, women like Carter, Benyus and Aderin-Pocock move beyond the “pink” message.
Carter is an environmentalist who founded the Sustainable South Bronx Organization, Benyus is a science writer and president of the Biomimicry Institute, while Dr. Aderin-Pocock has a doctorate in mechanical engineering and makes handheld mine detectors and optical systems for the James Webb Space Telescope. Slightly more inspiring than the female role models the celebrity-obsessed world typically glorifies, right?
PinkStinks not only lauds women like this, but critiques the messages aimed at girls on a daily basis. For example, the organization analyzed a message on a Scrabble game box for girls that was colored in pink and displayed the game tiles spelling the word “fashion.” To revolt against the stereotypical images like this, PinkStinks also has an “Approved” section on their website, which applauds products that are not gender-biased.
And it doesn’t stop there. Aware of unethical advertising strategies aimed at young girls, PinkStinks actively campaigns against alarming commercial messages in the U.K. A recent one was against the Sainsbury Company’s sexist dress-up clothing for children which labeled doctors and pilots as boys’ items, and princesses, beauticians and 1950s nurses as girls‘. Thanks to PinkStinks, the company responded and changed their approach to dress-up clothing!
In addition to the campaign, PinkStinks also maintains a blog and a “Name and Shame” section to keep its U.K. audience aware of many of the outrageous commercial tactics that they are surrounded by.
While the Moore sisters are busy countering the culture of pink, their online store enables us to keep the revolution public. T-shirts titled “Future Role Model” and “I am no princess” can be found on their site.
It looks like the women behind the U.K.’s PinkStinks are making some major, global changes.