My son is 10. He's on a flag football team, plays on the township basketball team... and is a member of a competitive breakdancing team.
He loves all three of these things equally and has never given much thought to his desire to pursue them all—pretty amazing, considering the era of gender bias and online bullying we currently live in.
He's still young, though, and whether or not he will feel the same way once he hits middle school remains to be seen. But he may just have a fighting chance thanks to a new photo series designed to crush gender stereotypes and empower young boys to be anything.
Called #ABoyCanToo, the series was created by photographer and mom of three Kirsten McGoey, and it features portraits of boys ages 4 to 16 pursuing activities that society tends to attribute to girls.
You know, like acting...
And figure skating.
There's a boy who likes to wear hair accessories.
One who loves Cinderella.
And a little five-year-old who loves to play with dolls.
Because they can.
"I knew I had to shed light on these amazing boys who in the face of strong societal gender norms are embracing a strong sense of self worth, self confidence and providing inspiration for other #aboycantoo boys all over the world," McGoey explains on her website, adding that she first started the series as a love story of sorts for her middle son.
"[He] has inspired us with a love of rainbows, his constant twirls and whirls evolving into a love of dancing, singing and the stage," she wrote. "As parents we try to provide all of our three boys a place to choose the adventure they feel matches their own interests. So alongside soccer practices we also attend dance open houses; soccer balls litter the back yard and we host dance parties in the living room."
AH-mazing! And exactly how it always should be, right?
So far, McGoey has photographed 17 boys, and she says her biggest takeaway has been the realization that it was only by engaging in these activities that these kids finally felt whole.
"The common thread was 'I am [dancing/skating/reading/acting/baking/etc] because it gave me a place in the world where I was good at something'," she explained to Huffington Post. "In some cases it was the first time they were applauded, recognized, and felt valued."
Now this amazing mama is hoping to change all that with photographs that not only inspire other kids to pursue their true passions, but ones that actually change our collective perception of gender norms.
Pretty sure #KirstenCanToo.
Check out more of her amazing images on her website.