Representation matters and a mom’s recent post of her daughter mesmerized by a model in a wheelchair is nothing short of inspirational. Carolyn Anderson of Leesburg, Virginia, mom to 4-year old Maren Anderson, posted a photograph of her daughter looking at an Ulta Beauty as she was intrigued by a model who, like herself, was in a wheelchair.
According to an interview with Good Morning America Maren has a rare disease caused by a gene mutation which causes early infantile epileptic encephalopathy, spinocerebellar ataxia and pontocerebellar hypoplasia which causes her to have to use a wheelchair.
"On this particular evening, Maren was cruising on the sidewalk in her wheelchair with a confidence we had not seen before," Anderson said. "She was so eager, we could barely get her to stop at crosswalks. Then, she suddenly stopped and focused all her attention on this image of a woman in a wheelchair like hers. It was amazing."
Anderson explained that Maren has been practicing using her new wheelchair for 12 weeks and just became comfortable with the notion of using the wheelchair in public. Of the Ulta ad, Anderson stated “It was mesmerizing to watch her stop, turn, and gaze at this poster. So, thank you.”
This beautiful moment and experience personifies that representation truly does matter, and definitely adds to the conversation for the need for more diverse representations of beauty and difference. The image of someone else in a wheelchair made a great impact on Maren.
Of the experience, Anderson stated, “She got to see herself in this picture, and that planted a see for her to see that there is a place for kids like her in this world. She was included.”
The post on Facebook has inspired and caught the attention of many. The post has gained over 83,000 likes and more than 72,000 shares. Maren’s parents hope that her reaction to the post and its popularity will help to further the conversation about more representation of people with disabilities around the world.
“It is our hope that families who see images like the one at Ulta Beauty will have open and continued dialogue with their children about inclusion.”