When I was a child I lived within the worlds of books. Enraptured by the stories of Enid Blyton, Lady Bug and Disney, I would escape daily on imaginary adventures – pseudo realities where my dreams were realized and the person I knew resided inside was brave enough not to hide. Books soothed me. In their alternate realities I was able to come alive. I was able to be anyone I desired and create any contraption I envisioned. Most of all, I was able to explore and fail without the overbearing weight of an idealistic society judging me or stereotyping me. Books were my way out. They were my access to peace of mind – something, which even at a very young age had eluded me.
Curious with illustrating my imaginings, I began sketching and creating real life models. Using building blocks, toys and household items, I began re-enacting the stories of my books, using my dolls as actors in my very own closed-audience, homemade plays.
As I grew older, and the habit of “playing with dolls” was deemed passé for my age; and as I transferred to a catholic secondary school that prided itself on grooming “ladies,” my exposure to construction, and consequently my fascination for it, began to wane. In its place, my other avenue of illustrating my imaginings flourished. On every school book, on every napkin, on tables and chairs, on walls and on clothes I branded my imaginings through sketches. My goal was simple, illustrate my world.
It’s been 25 plus years since I began imagining and sketching; and though my fascination with books isn’t as obscene as it was back then, my love of illustrating my thoughts have remained just as strong. Today, however, I’ve gone even further than just sketching. Today, my desire to create and to illustrate the world I envision, allows me to create something more than drawings. It allows me to create change. Through my writings, my campaigns, my designs, and my interactions, I offer my vision and effort to all those fighting to revolutionize our world. My hobby, turned habit, turned profession (somewhat) trained me to communicate my thoughts through press, but even more so, to dream without limits; to try despite a fear of failure; and to refute socially imposed boundaries.
It’s because of these experiences that I find myself seduced by the movement of GoldieBlox and the work of Debbie Sterling. If you haven’t heard of GoldieBlox, you’re just a couple lines away from absolutely loving it.
GoldieBlox is a toy company that combines reading with construction. I know, it sounds pretty normal right? Trust me it isn’t. What’s unique and powerful about GoldieBlox is its story and its mission. GoldieBlox is dedicated toward developing the spatial, math and science skills of young girls in the hopes of getting them interested in engineering. Its signature toy is built around the story of Goldie, a young female inventor, and her group of friends, who go on adventures and solve problems by building simple machines. As girls read along, they are encouraged to build along with Goldie by using the tools in their tool kit.
What’s instrumental about GoldieBlox is that it builds upon the fact that childhood hobbies often transition into lifelong careers and interests – something I know all too well about. Moreover, It encourages girls to do more than play dress up. It develops their desire to create and to occupy roles that as females, we are typically underrepresented in. As an engineer, GoldieBlox’s founder Debbie Sterling remembers being one of 181 female engineers graduating from a Stanford University class of 881 graduates. The disparity in gender distribution and the realization that our world was being predominantly shaped by males, motivated the young engineer to do something about it.
After devouring her entire life savings, carrying out research and building prototypes, Sterling is finally able to share her dream toy with the world. Through her own frustrations with the one-sided world she experienced, Sterling is now helping shape a future of true equality, where little girls could grow up to be just about anything their imaginings conceive. As a child of imaginings, as a supporter of all things atypical, I look forward to seeing the pink stained department store aisles flooded with Goldie and little girls clamoring to their parents to purchase their next adventure.
Sterling’s decision to do something worthwhile about her situation is exactly the sort of healthy, disruptive responses that are stamping out ideals and challenging limiting societal stereotypes. It is actions such as these that are forcing us to evolve as a people and to truly be the change we want to see.
- GoldieBlox Makes Engineering a Girl Thing! (blogs.ptc.com)
- GoldieBlox and the Three Builds (makezine.com)
- How One Young Entrepreneur’s Quest to Encourage Women Engineers Led Her to GoldieBlox (newspodge.wordpress.com)
- Can a Toy Spark Interest in Engineering for Girls? (blogs.kqed.org)
- How One Young Entrepreneur’s Quest to Encourage Women Engineers Led Her to GoldieBlox (entrepreneur.com)
- Kickstarter: Lessons We’ve Learned (goldiebloxblog.wordpress.com)
- GOLDIES….”regular” aspirations! (tammrasigler.wordpress.com)