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Two Seattle moms are making ‘boy things’ for girls

Two Seattle moms have taken to Kickstarter, hoping you will fund their new line of clothing that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.

No really – there’s nothing like it out there. The shirts feature dinosaurs and rocket ships – and they’re for girls.

“Our daughters inspired us to nurture their budding interest in science, technology, engineering and math and other things typically marketed to boys,” moms Jennifer Muhm and Malorie Catchpole said in their Kickstarter campaign video.

They’re right.

Enter any toy or clothing store and you’ll see a defined line down the middle. One side is pink and the other side is filled with exactly what their daughters want: dinosaurs and astronauts.

I spoke with Muhm, co-founder of the BuddingSTEM clothing line. (“STEM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.)

Muhm’s 5-year-old has been into space exploration since she was a year-and-a-half, but she’s now at an age where she’s acutely aware of what marketers are trying to tell her: there are girl things and there are boy things.

“We were looking through catalogs of children’s costumes that came in the mail and she saw that in those catalogs that astronaut costumes were only worn by boys and she actually said the words to me, ‘I can’t be an astronaut, those costumes are for boys’,” said Muhm.

Muhm was able to convince her daughter otherwise, but she said she knew it was going to be an ongoing struggle.

The solution? Muhm and Catchpole decided they would shake up the gendered marketplace and start their own clothing line.

First up were girls’ shirts and dresses that featured dinosaurs and rocket ships.

“Just through launching BuddingSTEM we’ve heard similar stories from so many other parents about how their little girls are so interested in science or dinosaurs,” said Muhm. “It’s not girl or boy things. It’s kid things and it’s not represented anywhere in the girls’ clothing department,” said Muhm.

Based on the response on Kickstarter, other moms and dads are in the same predicament. They have daughters interested in science, but can only find kittens, hearts and rainbows in their clothing section. The campaign has 250 contributors and more than $18,000 as of Monday morning.

As an aside, I have an idea to get them to their fundraising goal of $45,000.

Last Sunday was International Women’s Day and Microsoft, and CEO Satya Nadella, still bruised from his remarks that women should trust karma to achieve equal pay, released a video that would appeal to young girls who are into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The video featured a few girls talking about coding and tinkering with robots. Then, takes a sharp turn as they talk about being forced out of their interests because they were teased for “doing boy things.” Though, some of them resolved to stick it out despite being the lone girl in their science classes.

In the end, someone behind the camera hands the girls an envelope from Microsoft with encouraging words. It said, in essence, that the company is waiting for them because they are the future of Microsoft.

So, there’s that. It was sweet.

But I was hoping for a more profound statement from Microsoft, on of all days, International Women’s Day.

Something like Nadella stepping into frame and proclaiming, “We’re waiting for you, but until then we pledge to pay women the same as men and here’s how.”

But, you know, I think we can leave this one up to karma.

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