When she couldn't find any gender cliche-free tees for her son, this mom decided to create her own
Mom Courtney Hartman was having a hard time finding t-shirts with positive messages for her son Declan who loved butterflies, dancing, and the color purple, so she decided to create her own. In July 2015 she whipped up her first stereotype-busting design—a tee emblazoned with the words "Mr. Nice Guy"—and her company Free to Be Kids was born.
Yes, there are dads who are into tools. And grills. And lawnmowers. But there are other sides of dad that we should celebrate on Father's Day! Like...dads are nice. Seems simple, right? But dads don't always get credit in the nice, kind, and loving department! Luckily, we've got grownup sizes to remind your own Mr. Nice Guy how much you love him. --- Rocco (@chermogenes) wears Mr. Nice Guy in black and white raglan. #freetobekids #mrniceguy
A post shared by Free To Be Kids (@freetobekids) on Jun 6, 2017 at 5:09am PDT
Way to go, mama! Not only does Hartman's clothing line kick gender cliches to the curb, but her t-shirts are also refreshingly free of negativity and snark. "We offer children the messages that big retailers don't," Hartman explains on her company's website. "For every 'I'm Too Cute To Do Homework' shirt that tells our girls to focus on beauty over brains, we hit back with 'Smart Girls Club.' For every 'Troublemaker' or 'Eat My Dust' shirt that portrays our sons as rowdy and insensitive, we design a 'Mr. Nice Guy' or 'Love Is My Superpower.' We believe passionately that both boys and girls deserve to see, hear, and wear better messages."
Love and kindness, folks - those are the powers that make us all into superheroes! --- Zoey (@aliciareeves) wears Super Kind in pink short sleeve, and Blake (@whatblakewore) wears Love Is My Superpower in red/heather grey baseball tee. #freetobekids #superkind #loveismysuperpower
A post shared by Free To Be Kids (@freetobekids) on Jul 25, 2017 at 6:03pm PDT
She's so right. Because while we tend to hear a lot about addressing gender cliches in girls' clothing, we don't necessarily hear the same thing when it comes to empowering boys.
“Most parents understand these days that it’s important not to limit girls based on their gender,” Hartman told Parents.com. “We know we should encourage their interests in STEM, and give them options beyond pink princess-y clothes. That’s generally accepted. But the conversation about boys has barely begun. Boys have rich emotional lives, the capacity to be loving and sensitive, and interests that go far beyond being ‘Daddy’s First Draft Pick.’ Their clothes should really reflect that. And right now, at least in mainstream stores, they just don’t. It’s all ‘Troublemaker’, ‘Ladies Man’, and ‘I Run This’. And that’s not fair to the boys, or good for them.”
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Mad props to Hartman for trying to flip the script on these negative messages, one woke fashion statement at a time.
Me feminist. You feminist. Together, we make better world. --- Drew (@ayanasmama) wears Feminist Like Beyonce (also available in just plain "Feminist") in black and white raglan. #freetobekids #feministlikebeyonce
A post shared by Free To Be Kids (@freetobekids) on Jun 16, 2017 at 5:43pm PDT