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After Being Slammed Online for Outfit, Boy With Down Syndrome Wins Major Ad Campaign


Kat Abianac, one of our Mighty contributors, was hit with online criticism last year after posting a photo of her 3-year-old son Parker wearing a floral onesieĀ fromĀ AustralianĀ brand, Bonds. Commenters in one Facebook group were quick to make harsh remarks about a boy wearing a “feminine” outfit, so much so that the page’s administrator had toĀ ban people from the group.

This year Abianic, from Queensland, Australia, submitted a photo of Parker wearing the same onesieĀ to theĀ Bonds Baby Search 2016Ā — heĀ beat out thousands of other kids to win theĀ People’s Choice award for toddlers. Parker now has a 12-month modeling contract with the brand, the Courier Mail reported.

 

Typical. The only hat he’s ever kept on his head and it’s a stunning shade of lilac. Real men wear PINK!#notafloralonesie#pinkcamouflage

Posted by Parker’s Place onĀ Monday, June 29, 2015

Congratulations PARKER! The WINNER of the recent bonds baby comp.Your going to go a long way buddy! photograph by Angelico Jarvis Photography

Posted by Angelico Jarvis Photography onĀ Wednesday, March 23, 2016

 

After the initial criticism, Abianac wrote a powerfulĀ response. In it, she said:

I know this may seem like I’mĀ making a mountain from a molehill. But believe me, when I read comments criticizing a 2-year-old’s outfit, I felt the need to press the issue, while celebrating floral prints in all their glory.

My son has Down syndrome. I bet the comment writers didn’t notice that because his face was covered by a glorious lavender felt hat. He is going to grow up jumping hurdles of outdated stereotypes. This issue is a mere drop in the bucket of assumptions I already fight every day and try to raise awareness about. I truly don’t care if he grows up and decides he likes pink Ralph Lauren shirts, or pajamas in a startling shade of fuchsia. Or even those floral shirts all the husbands are wearing.

We’re all aware little boys were once traditionally dressed in red and pink, and girls in blue. Now, that switched around is the social ā€œnorm.ā€ God forbid you break the rules. Gender stereotyping is real. It limits choices in the most superficial and ridiculous way. I don’t even know how to put it simpler: Dress your kid in whatever the hell you and they want to wear. And then goĀ put them on Facebook.Ā 

“Down syndrome doesn’t mean he should not be included in the competition and it also shouldn’t be ignored,” she told the Brisbane Times, after Parker won the contest.Ā “It is very much a victim culture.Ā I have been told that if I put my son out there on the internet it is natural that he is going to get bullied and I don’t think that is appropriate in any way.”

Abianac saidĀ she hopesĀ Bonds’ decision to includeĀ her son in theirĀ advertising campaign will help educate people. ā€œI decided I would enter to show them,ā€ she told the Courier Mail, of the shot taken by photographer Angelico Jarvis. ā€œThere is a lot of hate out there for children with Down syndrome, there’s always people out there who are willing to throw in their unwanted and unwarranted two cents worth.ā€

For more, visit Abianac’s blog, Parker Myles, and stop by her Facebook page, Parker’s Place.


Have you seen the first film with a national release to star a person with Down syndrome? Check out the film ā€œWhere Hope Growsā€ today!

Available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes.