This coming Saturday, October 13th, we are proud to be participating in the Gowanus Girls Indie Design + Food Mart. Run by the women behind Curious Jane, an all-girls after school and summer camp program, Gowanus Girls is based on three things: girls + design + community. If that doesn’t have you hooked already, let us explain more. There will be over 30 talented female entrepreneurs selling their handmade goods, gifts, and treats. Fun for the whole family, there will be craft activities for the kids and plenty of entertainment. Plus, just by attending the event (which is free) you are showing your support for all the great work Curious Jane is doing on a daily basis.
We knew we had to be a part of the market the moment Melisa Coburn told us about Curious Jane. She described the program as empowering girls to be creative, adventurous, and smart. They describe themselves on their website as “a close-knit group passionate about gender-affirming opportunities and creative, project-based learning.” The best way we have been describing it to our friends is “the anti-beauty pageant.”
I have always considered myself a feminist. Although I’ve never marched with a picket sign and I don’t hate all men, my “girl power” is subtle, but strong. In high school I was a student athlete that knew our girl's field hockey team deserved as much attention as the boy’s soccer team. We proved it by winning the first conference title in our school’s history. In college I minored in Women’s Studies and made videos empowering women to be strong and have a voice. In my 20’s, I continued to read about the women who have paved the way for our gender…which began with an Amazon order that included every Gloria Steinem book written. Now I’m in my 30’s and have a little girl of my own. More than ever, I believe women need to stick together, support one another, and stand up for ourselves. Curious Jane teaches this at a very young age. They give girls a chance to build friendships, work together, and be proud of their actions.
A couple months ago I watched the episode of “Our America with Lisa Ling” which featured beauty pageants. To me, it was just... sad. The mother featured wanted to spend time with her daughter. They wanted to have something that was theirs. Her intentions were good, but she was teaching her child that what matters in life is how you look. It was about being “pretty”…hair…makeup…spray tans. The girls wanted to make their mothers proud and they thought the way to do this was to win a competition based on how they looked. After watching this episode I was depressed. Ling did a fantastic journalistic job, as she always does, and gave us an inside look at the family. She remained unbiased, presenting the facts…not making the family feel judged, but raising the questions of why they chose this path for their daughter. As a mother, I felt for this woman. She wanted her daughter to succeed. She wanted her to feel proud. She wanted to bond with her. In the world we live in, with the media casting the light it does on young women, how do you not get caught up in it? My answer now is Curious Jane.
Instead of allowing the images in the media to influence your daughter, you can enroll her in a program that encourages her to be curious, smart, adventurous, and creative. A place where she is asked to use her imagination to invent toys and design magazines. Where she can learn about science through experiments, cooking, and even making fizzy bath soap. She can reach deep down and learn to be brave by stepping outside her comfort zone and trying activities like the flying trapeze. With more organizations like Curious Jane it just might give America an alternative to the beauty pageant.
Until Curious Jane takes over the nation, as we imagine it will, and until our daughter Georgia is old enough to participate in their programs, we have the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy each other for two Saturdays in October. Inspired by these women, we are adding a little more creativity to our booth by giving you the option to customize your own greeting card. We will be conducting demonstrations and we will be there to assist you with the process. Let’s just say glitter may be involved. So…call your girlfriends, gather up your loved ones, and get the kids together. Then head down to The Gowanus Grove for a fun day of shopping and creating.
Gowanus Girls Indie Design + Food Mart
Saturdays – October 13 & 27
12 noon – sundown
Gowanus Grove - 400 Carroll Street, between Bond and Nevins.