The idea for MillyMaker started during my sophomore year at Lynchburg College in one of my Honors’ classes. I cannot recall the exact name of the class, but it was something to the extent of Sports in American Society or Culture. You get the point. I wrote a paper about how female athletes were most commonly photographed in three settings: one, swim suits or tiny lingerie; two, in a heterosexual setting i.e. with their husband or boyfriend; or three, in a maternal setting with their children. Very seldom were female athletes pictured in action participating in their sport or wearing their uniform or practice gear. For making their name as a female athlete, it was shocking to discover how frequently women were still being portrayed as sex objects, girlfriends, wives, or mothers. Many female athletes hold these titles, in terms of girlfriend, wife, or mother, but are by no means the roles to be focused on as a female athlete.
Then we move to a few years ago, I was coaching a girls’ basketball skills clinic, and one of the coaches brings in a bag of pink basketballs. I stopped and thought: that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. If we are going to color code everything based off of the traditional blue is for boys and pink is for girls then where are the blue basketballs?! To go one step further have you ever walked into a male practice and seen a predominance of one color present in their apparel or shoes? Oh good, the boys are wearing blue that way we can easily identify them as boys, whew! Why is this how people think for female athletes? Must we all be in pink to make sure everyone still knows we are girls? Is that why you are on/in the field/court/pool etc. to establish the fact that you are a girl?
I had been fed up for years of the constant presence of pinks in female athletic apparel. I always ordered boys/men’s basketball shoes and shorts, because normally my two options in the ladies’ styles were boring, geriatric looking white, or something with a flash of pink, if not, all pink. When did we become so one-dimensional when it comes to women’s color selections? Why are women’s athletic apparel so limited in color preferences, when female athletes are not? These are all questions every female athlete should be asking themselves.
Through my years of competing in AAU basketball, high school, and college basketball I saw my share of girls throw a bow in their hair or primp before game time, and it always pissed me off. Who were they primping for, the other team? Inevitably no, they were primping to maintain the impossible standard that most female athletes are bombarded with in todays’ media; they were primping to fit the idea of constant perfection. Female athletes are so much more than a pretty face, a pretty bow in their hair, or the perfect body. We are tough, strong, athletic, powerful, but those characteristics are seldomly celebrated! And it is time to start! I challenge each of you to do that, the next time you take the field or the court exuberate strength, toughness, power, and do not be concerned with how you look.
The MillyMaker t-shirt line is about redefining what it means to be a female athlete. Lessening the presence of pinks and bows in female athletics, and welcoming a more representative picture of female athletes. The MillyMaker t-shirt line is about promoting strong female athletes, and having that image portrayed in the media. Strong role models for athletes of future generations. Female athletes that are not scared to play sports without makeup. Female athletes that are not scared to be strong or powerful in fear of looking “butch.” Female athletes that are bad a** and know it. Buy a MillyMaker t-shirt and become part of this story. Click on the images below to order and share with your friends before October 2nd! Welcome to a new generation of female athletes, welcome to the beginning of the story.