Growing up in the 70s, the stereotypical mom was June Cleaver. Donned in dress heels, pearls and apron, this suburban mom’s domestic quest was the kitchen! My being reared in the quiet and small town of Statesboro, Georgia, the Cleaver persona was paramount.
But not so in the Martin home.
My mother, Faye Sanders Martin, was a pioneer woman in the field of law. Rather than being tethered to a stove, mother was a strong and successful attorney producing an income that would be envied by most men of that day. Ten to twelve working hours designed her days. For 22 years, she encouraged and paved the way for countless other female law students to follow in her footsteps, (including my successful sisterJanna Martin).
In November 1978, Faye Sanders Martin was recognized for her brilliance and dedication to the legal profession. She was appointed as the first woman Superior Court Judge by a Governor in the State of Georgia. I was 16 years old.
I remember as if it were yesterday standing by her side as she was sworn in by Georgia’s Governor Busbee. My fearless mom, a Superior Court Judge in Georgia! This image — this portrait of a strong, independent, go-getter, smart woman – set and sustained the illustration for Janna and me as to how to conduct ourselves in future personal and professional roles.
But today, for most girls, this is neither that illustration nor reality. Now, unfortunately they are caught up in the superficial cosmetic web while viewing stock photo images of scantily-clothed women holding power tools or sitting behind a receptionist’s desk.
Enter Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, who wants to challenge these female stereotypes with LeanIn.org. (Applause, applause). She has partnered with Getty Images to try to change the way women are portrayed by creating a 3,000 plus collection of images of women and girls who are the real deal– self-assured, confident and empowered.
I choose to follow in my Mama’s footsteps and promote the image of “real women.” How about you?