Free To Be… You And Me was a project spanning multiple media (including a book, record album, and TV special) from the early 1970s. The main message of Free To Be is gender equality among children and their parents. Developed by actress Marlo Thomas and feminist publication Ms. magazine, Free To Be was a reaction to rigid sex roles and cultural values of the 1950s and 1960s. Free To Be was the first children’s media project of its kind to actively confront sexual and racial stereotypes.
In this interview with Judy Chicago, the artist discusses a book she wrote with art historian Frances Borzello about the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Chicago describes the project as an effort to assert Kahlo's place in an otherwise "male centered" art history. She describes a systematic erasure of female painters from the "mainstream narrative" art history such that only 3-5% of the works in permanent museum collections were executed by female artists and only 2.5% of solo publications concern female artists. While reviewing the existing literature on Kahlo, Chicago was aggravated to find that many authors interpreted Kahlo's paintings as reactions to events in her relationship with her husband Diego Rivera. To counter this view of female artists as always "re-active," Chicago and Borzello set out to consider the full body of Kahlo's work outside of conventional art historical concerns. By addressing Kahlo as an artist with agency and self-direction, Chicago reveals aspects of art and art-making that are generally kept invisible.
These boys and girls children’s pajamas were sold at Target in 2014. Both have the superhero Superman’s emblem on the chest, but one is black with grey and white stripes and has the words “Future Man of Steel” printed in bold black lettering, whereas the other is light pink with grey stripes and has the message, “I Only Date Heroes” printed in glittery silver lettering.
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is featured in a 2014 women-focused Under Armour ad campaign series called “I Will What I Want.” Gisele’s athleticism and focus are demonstrated through the commercial, which shows her kickboxing and sparring with a punching bag while comments and criticisms about her flash up on the walls around her.
This 2103 advertisement is for GoldieBlox, a toy company that makes engineering toys for girls with the mission of getting girls building. The company was founded by Debbie Sterling, a Stanford University trained mechanical engineer who wanted to “disrupt the pink aisle” and provide girls with more options for toys beyond dolls and princesses. The ad shows three girls watching a stereotypically girly and pink television advertisement with unimpressed looks of boredom and inability to relate on their faces. The background music changes as the girls grab tool belts, hardhats, and safety goggles, and are then shown participating in a complex Rube Goldberg “Princess Machine,” where a series of deliberately engineered chain reactions turn objects from the inside and outside of the house into a fun, complex contraption used to ultimately change the channel from the stereotypical tv commercial at the beginning of the ad. The new commercial the girls see shows Goldie the cartoon character from GoldieBlox who is a kid inventor that loves to build, and advertises the company’s engineering toys with the tagline, “toys for future engineers.” The video ends with the three girls in the living room where they started, wearing the tool belt, hardhat, and safety goggles and standing with arms crossed and expectant looks on their faces.