My friend Anne pointed this out to me. Her daughter, Leah, is Ms. August in the Be A BOLD Girl 2017 calendar and Leah's photo is in the upcoming Be A BOLD Girl book as well. I hadn't thought about it before, but when Anne and I were growing up, "Miss August" meant a naked woman on the cover of (or maybe in the middle of, I'm not sure) a magazine. We've come a long way baby. For you young people, "We've come a long way baby" was a very popular ad slogan from a women's cigarette company waaay back in the day, and one which couldn't legally be aired today. So many things have changed for the better.
Today, we humbly request that you call her Ms. August, thank you very much. And she proudly represents young women and girls who can be and do whatever they choose. She is strong, fierce, compassionate, and independent. She is BOLD.
I'd like to share a little behind-the-scenes on this particular photograph as well. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find a set of turnouts, complete with boots and helmet, to use in the photoshoot. I started by doing a search online, looking for high-end costumes. What a joke. Except it wasn't funny. For girls who are interested in becoming a firefighter and want to dress like one for Halloween, this is some of what they are offered today.
Fishnets. Mini skirts. Lucite-heeled, red, patent-leather-like, thigh high boots. No pants. For a teenage firefighter costume. Really? And that is what I found today. A year and a half ago, when I first did the search, the costumes were even sexier. I am so happy to say that I also found this when I searched today.
This is more like it! A non-gender specific firefighter costume that was previously just meant for boys, but now they have added a great photo with a girl wearing it! So simple and yet... so important. She looks so much happier than the two teens above who are attempting to look sexy as teenage "firefighters" (through no fault of their own, they were just doing what they were told to do). But it is awkward. This young girl, on the other hand, not only looks more like an actual firefighter, she looks like someone who could actually aspire to become a firefighter. And that, my friends, is the whole point. I was unable to find this photo a year and a half ago, and I couldn't find one for a teenage girl, but that means that things are still changing and improving, and also that there is clearly more room for improvement.
Back to my search. I was so disappointed and disturbed after finding only sexualized costumes. I became acutely aware of how important it would be to make our BOLD girl firefighter look realistic. After speaking to my local fire department (they were extremely kind and supportive) my search eventually led me to the College of San Mateo Fire Academy. Keith Marshall, the Program Director, met with me on a Saturday morning. We found the smallest set we could and he graciously loaned them to me, complete with the giant turnout bag to keep everything together, for the photoshoot. Keith was also pretty disappointed by the costumes I showed him that were available for girls. He was happy to help in any way he could to make girls comfortable with the idea that they can in fact choose to become a firefighter in real life, and not just some ridiculous sexy version of one for Halloween. He is hopeful that more and more women will sign up for the Academy and ultimately join the Fire Department. Planting the seeds of possibility early will make such a difference down the road.
This is a funny picture of me squirting Leah in the face with water at the photoshoot to keep the mud that I put on her from drying out! She was such a good sport:)
The BOLD Girl calendar for this year included several more inspiring calendar girls, as well as some adorable babies with a future Madame President, and original artwork by a young artist named Noa that reflects her views against gun violence in this country. Here, Ms. February and Emma Watson remind us that it isn't just ok to be smart, it is the only way to go.
While the calendars are no longer available for this year, you can still order 12x18 posters with the images and quotes. One such poster is Noa's artwork where a donation is made to Everytown For Gun Safety for each poster sold. Each poster is made with high quality poster paper and they are great for classrooms, bedrooms, offices, after school programs, and waiting rooms (so I've been told). Take a look at our website at
(https://www.beaboldgirl.com/shop). If you don't see the one you want on the order page, please send me an email and I'll do my best to get you the poster of your choice. Each of the calendar pages are available as a poster.
A sample poster from the SHOP page of our website:
At Be A BOLD Girl, our pin up girls are empowering and inspiring, just like in real life. We are so proud to do our small part in reaffirming to girls their strength, their worth, and their possibilities.
Coming soon! A Be A BOLD Girl blog post about real-life female firefighters, inspired by none other than our own Ms. August! Watch for it!