Tired of stereotypical girls' clothes, these women did something about it — then banded together.

You might remember this photo that went viral back in April:


Original photo by Jason Y. Evans, shared with permission in this Upworthy post.

It was being sold in New York University's campus bookstore. The boys' equivalent to the girls' "I hate my thighs" baby onesie was "I'm super." (I mean, really?! That's some pretty pointed messaging.) After the photo went viral, it was pulled from the shelves with an apology for the oversight.

Or maybe this one that went viral in 2013:



It was a T-shirt for girls that Children's Place was selling. There was no equivalent in the boys' section. After it was brought to the retailer's attention that it was pretty demeaning, they also pulled it from their store shelves. (Why it was printed in the first place remains a mystery.)

These are just a few incidents of extremely stereotypical girls' clothing. But it happens often enough, and a lot of girls' clothing is biased without being blatantly offensive.

Enter: a bunch of moms who were over it.

Done with it. They believe girls are — gasp — intelligent and capable and should be able to wear clothes that reflect their personalities without having to shop in the boys' section.

Even better, they want to give us clothing options to purchase for our girls that are done right, not just examples of what's gone wrong.

These moms have individually launched small businesses that create girls' clothing that allows girls to express who they are, whatever that may be.

And now, 10 of these small businesses have banded together to start a movement: #ClothesWithoutLimits.

"Over the past few years, multiple stories about kids clothing have gone viral," Rebecca Melsky, co-founder of Princess Awesome told me. "But they tend to focus on the negative. We wanted to let parents know there are more positive, more inclusive options out there for their children. We thought our voices would be louder together than they are alone."

Dress like a girl? Heck yeah!

"The awesome thing about working as a group is that it's shown all of us — and our customers — how many different ways there are to 'dress like a girl,'" Courtney Hartman, founder of Jessy & Jack and Free to Be Kids, shared with me.

The 10 companies that make up #ClothesWithoutILimits. Photo by #ClothesWithoutLimits, used with permission.

Through the campaign, these women are hoping to not only bring attention to the negative impact that clothing with stereotypical messaging can have on girls, but more importantly, to show the positive impact that positive clothing can have.

The messages sure run counter to the ones that many mainstream retailers have offered — and they're exactly what our girls need.

This T-shirt, for example, is a nice (and totally opposite) option for girls who aren't so keen on acting like they're only good at shopping, dancing, and music — but not math, as with the Children's Place shirt:

T-shirt by Free to Be Kids. Photo provided by #ClothesWithoutLimits, used with permission.

'Cause here's the thing: Messaging is important. And when our girls are indirectly being told from every angle, including their clothing, that they're incapable of certain things, it starts to wear on them.

Malorie Catchpole of buddingSTEM explains, "When girls don't see dinosaurs, space, and other science themes on their clothing, it tells them that things like science and engineering aren't for them."

Not sure messaging matters? Think again!

A study shared by the New York Times, for example, found that many elementary school teachers have unconscious biases about girls' math abilities as compared to boys' — and it affects how they interact with them:

"The researchers concluded that in math and science, the teachers overestimated the boys' abilities and underestimated the girls', and that this had long-term effects on students' attitudes toward the subjects."

This isn't to place blame on teachers — we all have biases we don't realize about a variety of things. Instead, it's to point out those biases and create change. Because the study also "highlights how powerful a little encouragement can be for children," as the NYT notes.

And that's why clothing matters, too — clothing that lets girls express their interest in robots or dinosaurs or other science subjects, like this one:

T-shirt by Jessy & Jack. Photo provided by #ClothesWithoutLimits, used with permission.

And this one:

T-shirt by Jill and Jack Kids. Photo provided by #ClothesWithoutLimits, used with permission.

Clothing that reminds girls they can be into anything they find interesting, like this:

T-shirt by Princess Free Zone. Photo provided by #ClothesWithoutLimits, used with permission.

Clothing that reminds girls they can actually be anything they want, like this:

T-shirt by Handsome in Pink. Photo provided by #ClothesWithoutLimits, used with permission.

And clothing that lets girls express many parts of themselves, like this atomic shells dress — because nobody said clothing that's empowering to girls can't also be in a style that's "traditionally" for girls:

Dress by Princess Awesome. Photo provided by #ClothesWithoutLimits, used with permission.

And there's another message here — one that's less apparent but equally important: the strength of women banding together to empower our girls.

Many of these businesses seem to be in competition with one another, selling empowering girls' clothing. But that didn't stop the women from these 10 companies from joining forces and using their voices, which are louder and stronger as a collective, to get the message out there that clothes for girls shouldn't have limits.

Photo provided by #ClothesWithoutLimits, used with permission.

"This is an amazing group of like-minded women who care deeply about breaking down the gender stereotypes in kids' clothing today," buddingSTEM Co-Founder Jennifer Muhm told me.

"This is an amazing group of like-minded women who care deeply about breaking down the gender stereotypes in kids' clothing today."

"We want all kids to be able to find clothes that fit who they are and what they like, but we're small businesses who can't possibly offer every single option on our own. ... There is definitely room for more than one option for girls who prefer blue, outer space, or dinosaurs. We just want parents to know those options exist, so they can find the one that's right for their child."

"We are ten brands, but behind those brands are more than ten women, and we are all strong leaders and really passionate about what we're doing," added Gina Dobson, founder of Sunrise Girl.

We have to be really mindful of making sure everyone's voice is heard and everyone is happy. The great thing is that our relationships with each other developed organically as we discovered each other's brands, and we have a lot of mutual respect."

"Working with a big group has its challenges but we know we are stronger as a group, and that working together we can have more of a positive impact."

"If one person or company isn't happy with something, or we can't easily arrive at consensus, we pause, get on a group phone call and talk it out until everyone is satisfied with the solution. Working with a big group has its challenges but we know we are stronger as a group, and that working together we can have more of a positive impact."

How's that for the kind of message we want our girls to receive? We're stronger together and we can work alongside one another and be successful. We're in this together.

That's a message, in addition to awesome clothing, that we can all get behind.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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