Recently, the founder of Girls Who Code, gave an inspiring and vital Ted Talk about raising girls to be brave, not perfect. Of course, Reshma Saujan’s commentary taps into the themes behind Suzanne Heintz’s fifteen year courageous photographic crusade with her mannequin props, husband Chauncey and daughter Mary Margaret. It all began over a decade ago when she first started railing against the picture perfect life but Heintz’s risk taking has taken her beyond being dismissed as crazy in the press and ridiculed in online forums as ‘the mad mannequin lady’. She now has a considerable global, viral following of fans who are relating to her satirical approach.
Back in the 1950s, Lucille Ball took on the entertainment industry, succeeded as a studio executive and definitely found her path through comedy. She famously quipped: “I’m not funny. What I am is brave.” More than 50 years on we are still struggling as women in the media to get equal pay and equal work – not to mention funding for our independent films. (Only 4 % of the top Hollywood feature films in the last 13 years were directed by women.) So we are not surprised Heintz’s work is resonating around the world and we are excited to have this unique opportunity to follow her and the incredible challenges of working with the very unusual comedic tool she has deployed via her mannequin family.
With the Internet fueling her next steps, we find Heintz cleverly encouraging all of us to get past measuring ourselves according to external ideals that we’re shown everyday. And a good way to start is definitely teaching girls to be fearless and not distracted by perfection.