How Parker landed 2 modelling contracts


Parker Myles is a toddler much like any other. He’s cheeky, funny, and small. He also likes to choose his outfits, and take his shoes off every chance he gets.

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But unlike most toddlers, he has a Facebook page. It’s called Parker’s Place, where I share his images and show people what a typical day in his life is like. He has Down syndrome. We also share all the latest news and images about Down syndrome from around the world.

One day last month, I shared an image of him wearing a Bonds Wondersuit in a Facebook group. The print was called Island Native. Just a fun, Hawaiian print.

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The backlash was immediate, fierce, and very sad for me to watch as a parent. Multiple women popped up (in a not very nice way) to tell me my son shouldn’t be put in girls’ clothing as he would be bullied. Umm.. isn’t what you’re doing, ladies? They inferred charming things about my parenting. They came out to support each others’ comments and repel anyone who dared express some common sense.  Oops- apparently there was TOO MUCH PINK IN THE FLORAL PRINT.

The group admin blocked them from ever returning, but the damage was done. My son would now probably grow up thinking he was a lady. I went back to check if there was a disclaimer on the outfit- For Use By Girls Only. Will Turn Penises Into Lipsticks. Nope- it was still called Island Native.

I couldn’t let it go. My son already has Down syndrome (which these women couldn’t have known from the picture I shared.) He will likely be pigeonholed many times in the future into characteristics he doesn’t possess. But being too girly? Is this seriously a thing? I have bigger things to worry about. I just let him choose what he likes best (if we have time), and dress him in the morning.

I spend so much time advocating for special needs, I forgot about all the other battles we face as parents to ‘fit in’.  I still need to make sure he receives the basics afforded him by our society. Just like every other non-‘special needs’ parent may need to at some point in their child’s life, before our kids all build the skills to ‘advocate’ for themselves. One of those basic privileges is to raise him in a world where people know picking on a toddler is Not Cool. It IS basic, right? I thought so. He doesn’t even talk yet! Parker’s life choices mainly consist of which book to read, and which outfit to choose. He likes to control that, and fair enough.

JPEG_ALL_1So I contacted a business I found on Instagram, and explained my story. I told them I wanted to show the world that stereotyping happens on a micro-level daily, in everyone’s communities and lives. Why is this still a thing?? Why can my daughter wear a black shirt that says ‘SECURITY’ with a pair of skinny jeans and everyone says awwww, but if my son threw on a Tinkerbell outfit and went in public, people would lose their minds? (To be honest he wouldn’t be caught dead as a Fairy, his heart belongs to Lachy the Purple Wiggle. Owns all the books.)

 

Parker was then booked by TWO gender-neutral clothing companies to appear in their campaigns and advertising. Aventyr Kids based in the US, and Freestyle Threads based in Australia. His photo shoots are next week.

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He’ll rock it I’m sure, just like he rocks his extra chromosome. Please come and show us some support! Leave a message in comments, or share this on your favorite social media network or page.

Show the world your kids, regardless of age or gender, can rock whatever they feel like.

And let’s show the world SO CAN MINE. 

 

 


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About Kat Abianac

Kat is a writer and a passionate advocate for inclusion in the media and advertising. She has two children, one with Down syndrome. Use the 'contact us' tab on this site to request her media kit or to get in touch. You may republish content from www.parkermyles.com on your own site, provided a pingback is made to her original article and she is fully credited as author.

4 Responses to “How Parker landed 2 modelling contracts”

  1. My son loves hot pink and when he showed his interest in a friends daughters winter puff coat they gave it to him. He proudly wore it to kinder and the boys immediately bullied him because it was pink. He has the teacher was brilliant and asked the boys what was wrong with pink? They said it was a girl colour. She ask them “who says?” It stumped them. She asked them their favourite colours and then explained that my son’s favourite colour is pink and like them likes to wear his favourite colour. I think they learnt a valuable lesson that day. I know I did because I hesitated sending him in it because he has autism he has enough trouble sociolinguistic as it is but I learnt that that should not stop. Him and me from doing what he wants because if he didn’t have autism I wouldn’t have thought twice about doing it. Kids don’t have a lot of control. They can choose to eat and in some cases that is it, so I choose to let him wear his favourite hit pink coat.

    • Terrific! I wouldn’t be caught dead in hot pink, I’m a lilac girl, but Parker rocks it with his brown hair. Totally relate! Kat

  2. You GO Mama Bear!

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