By Michele Yulo
Awhile ago, I wrote a post that asked "Where are the astronaut makeovers for little girls?" I was specifically asking the question in response to a Disney princess makeover I had seen on television that featured a little girl getting the surprise of her life when a makeover specialist showed up at her house to transform her into her favorite Disney princess.
As my daughter (who has never wanted to be a princess) and I watched, I wondered how many girls might actually be open to a different makeover if we introduced them to other options starting early on. I say that because, by the time kids are two, they begin to understand their gendered place in the world from what they have absorbed up until that point. For instance, research shows that girls and boys are not born thinking that pink is for girls and blue for boys, but once they hit the age of two they accept that as normal. It is then that girls begin choosing pink while boys categorically reject it.
After I posted my article, someone asked me "what would an astronaut makeover entail?" Well, let's imagine for a second what that might look like:
A "makeover specialist" surprises a young girl at her home and says, "Are you ready for your astronaut makeover?" The little girl couldn't be more excited and says, "Yes!" She is whisked off to her makeover where she meets...an actual astronaut! She is then helped into a spacesuit. Perhaps there is a special room where she "moon walks" (not the Michael Jackson kind) and a simulated rocket that she walks into and finds herself suddenly weightless. She is shown the inside of the spacecraft and how everything works. Maybe she has a video conversation with someone from NASA.
I believe the possibilities are endless.
I discovered that NASA has an app in which you can see yourself in a spacesuit. So here's what my daughter looks like. How cool is that?
It can be done. We can offer girls more than princess, can't we? We've actually been on the moon, so it shoudn't be that hard! A lot of us say, "girls can do anything they want," but we need to show them we believe what we say. And then they will believe it too.