Athlete or Princess? This Mom’s Empowering Photo Series Shows Girls Can Be Both

Girls are so much more than just sugar and spice.

By: Amanda Mushro



A conversation with another parent at her daughter’s softball practice got Heather Mitchell thinking about the labels society puts on young girls. It bothered the mom of two daughters so much that she lost sleep at night.

"One of the moms told me (my daughter) was not athletic—that she was a girly girl," Mitchell told TODAY Parents. "I couldn't sleep that night. All I could think was, 'Why does she have to choose?'"

The next day, Mitchell, a professional photographer, shot a photo that illustrated her daughter's ability to do whatever she chooses. The original picture was simple and features her daughter wearing one high heel and one softball cleat. With this image, the Alabama mom wanted to show that her daughter could be “girly” and dress like a princess, and be athletic and play sports. Her message was clear: We’re not accepting anyone’s labels.



"It kept playing over and over in my mind," Mitchell told USA TODAY. "Why does she have to choose? She can be anything she wants. She can be a girly-girl, she can be smart, she can play ball and the next day she can choose to do something different."

The photo soon inspired a series that features young girls in beautiful dresses who are also sporting gear from their favorite games. With softball gloves, bats and basketballs, the girls show how multifaceted they truly are.



"Because you can do it all," Mitchell captioned the photos.

The photos quickly went viral and parents began sharing their own stories about how their daughters won’t allow labels to define them. Mitchell said she was both shocked and overwhelmed by the response online.

"A lot of the little girls that we photographed are just so proud that they can show off both," said Mitchell. "They get to pick a pretty dress from my studio, put on dirty cleats and wear a princess crown."



Mitchell even organized another photoshoot, but this time with a diverse group of girls. One girl featured is undergoing cancer treatment and loves to play softball, while another sport-lover was recently adopted from the foster care system. Of these photos Mitchell says, "I hope that every little girl that sees this series can see that there is no box. Whatever their dreams are, they can achieve them."

Next Up

5 Things You Can Stop Buying Now to Save Money

If you are looking to save up a little extra money each month, then try not buying these 5 items.

Americans Spent Over $39 Billion While Drunk Shopping Last Year

A few glasses of wine could be bad for your wallet.

Christmas Came Early! See Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Engagement Photos

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have released their official engagement portraits on the Kensington Palace Instagram.

Woman Has a Photoshoot with Her Husband and Surprises Him with Life-Changing News

When Chelsie found out she was pregnant, she contacted Kara Quinn Photography, because she had an adorable and brilliant idea

Everything You Need to Create a Romantic Valentine's Date at Home

Staying in but keeping up with the romance this Valentine’s Day Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.

Teachers: Here’s How to Sign Up for the Target Teacher Discount

Hey teachers, here’s another reason to love your Target runs!

How To Capture The Perfect Fall Instagram

Fall is the most Instagrammed season, here is how to perfect your Insta!

This Young Girl with a Rare Disease Helped Make IVs Less Scary for Other Kids

With a hot glue gun and some creativity, this 12-year-old made something to help kids in hospitals.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Just Launched Their Archewell Website

The Royal couple’s new project is finally being revealed to the world.