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Showing Young Girls Their Strength Through A Camera Lens

Courtesy of Kate T. Parker / Workman Publishing
A photo from the book, "Strong is the New Pretty."

Courtesy of Kate T. Parker / Workman Publishing.
The cover of "Strong is the New Pretty."
Showing Young Girls Their Strength Through A Camera Lens
Showing Young Girls Their Strength Through A Camera Lens GUEST:Kate Parker, photographer, "Strong is the New Pretty"

Many parents of girls often see their children change from natural relaxed kids to kids obsessed with their books other weights. It is when girls begin to feel the pressure to be what society thinks of as pretty but a new book of photographs demonstrates that there is a vast number of ways to be pretty including being funny, feisty, focused, and strong. Photographer Kate Parker began by taking candid photos of her daughters engaged in sports and everyday activities and then she expanded her view taking pictures of many girls working, studying, moving strong and beautiful lives. The book that developed is called strong is a pretty the celebration of girls being themselves. I am joined by the author Kate Parker. Welcome. Thank you for having me. Can you describe the image on the cover of your book? It is really a resting photo of a young girl. That is one of my daughters. It is my oldest daughter and she was getting ready for her first triathlon and went to the race expo and was completely intimidated and did not want to do it. She did not think she could do it anymore. I knew she could she was ready she had done the training so I told her to come downstairs to the studio and I said show me your toughest race. I flipped my camera around and showed her how I saw her. Then she can finally see herself as a girl who looked like she could do a triathlon and she went out the next day and nailed it. We do not often see girls or young women with such a bold determined look. Why not? I do not know. I think that was part of my goal with this is that I coach girls, I have girls I played soccer and I coached my daughter's soccer and I saw this boldness and I saw this confident and I saw this sense of I am also in these girls that I was not seen in the media and I was not seen it reflected back to my girls so that started me wanted to show girls that this is beautiful who you are is the format for the media tells you is beautiful. The kids -- pictures are not all about sports you talked about the different ways you saw girls been strong in these photographs. This project started really strong with -- small with me and my girls and their friends. When I had a chance to create a book and make a larger really wanted to focus on the diversity and strength and the diversity in girls and that strength can show itself in so many different ways and it is not just girls a play sports. Can be musicians and girls overcoming cancer or a pilot or a valedictorian it is in so many different ways. I think many parents are saddened when they begin to see their daughters become consumed by media images of what is beautiful. What do you think that those two girls spirits? I think it breaks them and you see it. You see this change start around 1112 or 13 when puberty happens and they're worth comes from a be what boys think of them but what my goal is to do was to try to get them this little oasis this little part of truth of what is actually beautiful and to remember the thing about themselves that makes them different and makes them not like their friends that is the best part of you. I wanted to celebrate it. Is a photographer the way I did that was with photographs. Do you think the pressure on girls to could -- to conform to standards of Venus is even more powerful today. It is called strong is the new pretty. That is not new but the pressure is new for girls there is Instagram and Photoshop everything I think we as adults understand that not a lot of that is true and it's not honest and it's not real but I don't know that kids do. I think there's a lot of pressure that we did not feel as kids that are girls do now. I think that anywhere that we can be honest and truthful in imagery and with celebration of duty is really important. So this tries to counteract that tidal wave of false images that girls see. It's like this one tiny sliver of truth in the media out there. In the past we have been told as a society that girls are not as naturally adventurous or curious or not as naturally wild as boys. Are girls how to different standards of behavior even today. Girls are still expected to be quiet and complacent and to be smiling and to be easy. Girls are not like that. Some girls are but some girls are not. It is really recognizing who your child is and through your girl or your son is and just celebrating them for that and not asking anybody to be different from who they are. It is unfair to ask our children I have a bunch but one of my favorite images is a picture of a girl saluting in front of this giant bargain and she's our ROTC and her court said many broke dreaming of her hero to save them but I grew up dreaming of having someone else I just think it is kind of this rising tide of girls thinking I'm a princess and somebody will come save me. That fact that at 18 she knew that she had herself to rely on was a pretty impressive to me. What messages and -- is there for boys. It is aimed at girls because I have girls that it is really there for boys. The message is really to celebrate yourself for who you are. Like I said the part of you that is different and the part of you that is unique is the best part of the. Do not push it down be embarrassed but work at and figure out what that is and pursue that is really the message. Along those lines of who this book is for you said you also hope this book reminds women how they felt when they were young girls. I think we all forget that and we all need reminding of that message that we are powerful and strong and we are beautiful just as we are. You have been out touring the country promoting this book. What kind of reaction have you been getting It's been amazing. A lot of the girls that I knew were already getting the message at home. Baby when they are not hearing this at home or seen it or hearing it in their community it is really meaningful to me. One girl at one of my events raised her hand and said I have that voice inside me but I never really listened to it before but now I'm going to listen to it. It's just been wonderful. It is great to her solicitor you are great as you are and ticketed to hurt has been great to hear. I've been speaking with Kate Parker who is the author of strong is the new pretty a celebration of girls be themselves. You can see a few of the stories from the book on trends -- KPBS.org. Thank you so much for having me.

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"Strong is the New Pretty" is a book of photographs that celebrate the strength girls have when they are true to themselves.

In the photos girls are shown participating in sports, playing music, creating art and having fun.

Kate Parker is the photographer behind the book. She said that in creating this collection of photos she wanted to show the diversity in the ways girls can show their strength and the diversity among girls themselves.

The book aims to challenge the media's portrayal of beauty. It demonstrates that there's a vast number of different ways to be pretty, including being funny, feisty, focused and strong.

"I played soccer and I coach my daughter's soccer and I saw this boldness, and I saw this confidence, and I saw this sense of 'I'm awesome' in these girls that I wasn't seeing in the media and I wasn't seeing it reflected back to my girls. So that's what sort of started me wanting to show girls that this is beautiful, who you are is beautiful, not who the media tells you is beautiful," Parker said.

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Parker joined Midday Edition Tuesday to talk about how this book aims to challenge the standard of beauty.

Courtesy of Kate T. Parker / Workman Publishing
A photo from the book, "Strong is the New Pretty."
Courtesy of Kate T. Parker / Workman Publishing
A photo from the book, "Strong is the New Pretty."
Courtesy of Kate T. Parker / Workman Publishing
A photo from the book, "Strong is the New Pretty."
Courtesy of Kate T. Parker / Workman Publishing
A photo from the book, "Strong is the New Pretty."