Both Viola Davis and Michelle Obama have been in the spotlight lately, but for the most part, dark-skinned women are underrepresented in pop culture. We have plenty of hugely popular black singers and actresses — Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Halle Berry — but more often they are the light shades of tan. And the truth is, children form opinions out skin color — and how it relates to their own self-worth — at a very early age. Sheri Crawley and her husband Corey hope to have an impact, which is why they started Pretty Brown Girls. The organization sells T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Pretty Brown Girl" but also aims to build confidence and leadership skills.
As the Star-Tribune reports, a 2008 University of Wisconsin-Madison study of 98 black adolescent girls found that ethnic identity and perception of skin tone often predicted self-esteem. Time and time again, we have seen doll experiments, in which children ans young as 5 call a white doll "nice," and a black doll "bad." (Learn more about doll experiments here and here.) The Crawleys hope that they can combat the messages little girls receive. Though they're using the