Ah, the eternal question: Should you wear your princess dress with your softball cleats?
Princess culture is at war with girl power no more, at least according to a viral photo series from photographer and Oklahoma mother Betsy Gregory, who captured images of her daughter’s softball team at the end of their season wearing their Elsa dresses and their muddy athletic cleats.
This is what modern girlhood looks like.
“Little girls that are in beautiful sparkly dresses are OK to look a little tough and look a little mean,” Betsy told The Oklahoman. I’ve heard words like ‘fierce’ thrown out. It’s OK to be strong and empowered.”
It’s good for girls to be strong and empowered. And it’s fun to be four-years-old, and absolutely adorable.
In the newspaper interview, Betsy shared that she and her friends started the team for four and five-year-old daughters because they wanted their tap-dancing, music-playing, theatre-loving children to also experience the joy of team sports. The group of mostly moms convinced their daughters to join team ‘Freeze,’ creating a fun, non-competitive environment for the young girls to learn the game. According to Betsy, the season has been a blast.
While more girls than ever before are involved in youth sports, there also remain cultural barriers that keep them out.
On average, ESPN reported in 2013, girls start team sports a year later than most boys, and are less likely to continue their involvement as she grows older. But while girls still generally lag behind boys in their involvement in sports, these figures represent a huge shift from just one or two generations ago, when few girls were involved in athletics.
“Sports pays dividends” for girls, The New York Times reported in 2010, noting that “a large body of research shows that sports are associated with all sorts of benefits, like lower teenage pregnancy rates, better grades and higher self-esteem.” You go, girls.
Now where’s our tiara?