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  • For the photo shoot, the girls were dressed in frilly dresses and posed with different kinds of sports gear and equipment.
    PHOTO BY HMP Couture Imagery/Facebook

    For the longest time, society has been teaching us rigid concepts of what it means to be a man or to be a woman — men need to be strong and dominant, and woman should be sweet and submissive.

    These gender stereotypes affect the way we see ourselves and even our interests and preferences, among others. For instance, boys are inclined to do physical activities like sports, while girls are more into playing with dolls and dressing up.

    In recent years, more and more parents have been putting effort into raising their kids where they are not restricted by gender stereotypes. One example is a mom named Heather Mitchell, who is from Alabama in the United States. She works as a photographer at the HMP Couture Imagery studio

    Earlier in April 2019, a set of stunning photographs shot by Mitchell made waves on Facebook. These photos feature young girls, including her own daughter, outfitted in frilly dresses while posing with balls and other sports-related gear.

    Mitchell also photographed girls from diverse backgrounds, including a girl adopted from the foster care system.
    PHOTO BY HMP Couture Imagery/Facebook

    In an interview with Popsugar, Mitchell shared the story behind the concept of the photos. It all started with a conversation she had with another mom while watching over her 8-year-old daughter Paislee, who had recently started playing softball and was practicing.

    “One of the moms told me that [Paislee] was not athletic, that she was a girly girl,” Mitchell shared. “I couldn’t sleep that night. All I could think was, ‘Why does she have to choose?’”

    When she woke up the next morning, she immediately told her husband that she needed to take photos of Paislee at the studio. Paislee was clothed in a soft, delicate dress, paired with long socks and soccer shoes, and posed with softballs.

    It didn’t take too long for Mitchell to get the photos she wanted. “I seriously only spent about three minutes shooting because I knew exactly what I wanted.” In the photos, Mitchell said she wanted to show that it is possible for girls to be interested in things that are traditionally considered “girly” or “feminine” and in sports.

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    Mitchell posted the photographs on her personal Facebook. Right away she received “tons of requests” from friends asking her to photograph their daughters in the same style. She opened 16 slots for photo sessions, which sold out within an hour. She then posted 16 more sessions, which also sold out immediately.

    For the sessions that followed, Mitchell also photographed girls from diverse backgrounds: One is currently undergoing cancer treatment, another was adopted from the foster care system, and another was born with a partial arm.


    For Mitchell, the photographs are anchored in a single realization she wants her daughter to learn: she doesn’t have to limit herself because she is a girl, and she can be anything and anyone she wants to be.

    “My parents taught me that I could be anything I wanted growing up. I didn’t realize until I was much older that everyone is not that blessed,” she said. “I hope that every little girl that sees this series can see that there is no box, whatever their dreams are they can achieve!”

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