The playground was awash with Captain America’s, Incredible Hulk and cuddly teddy bears. Everywhere I looked boys were charging about saving the world. The girls though were in an array of Pudsey colours and many wearing onesies reminiscent of a overgrown yellow teddy. Soft, squidgy and strokable. This is because female superheroes are lacking in supermarkets.
A letter had been brought home from school inviting the children to dress as superheros or in Pudsey colours. Initially the trustworthy Elsa dress was coming out for it’s 1000th wear. But at the 11th hour Erin decided she wanted to be a superhero. That is when my problems started. If you google female superheros marvel you will be directed to a database of women with impressive credentials however most of those credentials are about their physical appearance. The costumes are tight fitting and revealing, hardly the image I want my almost six year old wearing. Children in Need is such a worthwhile cause but I don’t like the dress as a superhero theme.
I decided to head to the supermarkets to get an outfit for her, after all it was the 11th hour. In the aisle there were plenty of options for the boys and for the girls, princess upon princess dress all offering the happy ever after ending. There was not one girls superhero outfit. As the fancy dress aisle had failed me I took a look in the clothes section. It was just as bleak but I realised that now my choices were limited and it was now a case of make do. I grabbed a black cardigan (a colour Erin doesn’t really wear as I prefer children to look like children in bright colours) and realised the dressing up box at home would be raided.
My girl is going as CatWoman
My girl is going as CatWoman but not in some Lycra clad outfit. She has ears, leggings and a bit of liquid eye-liner masquerading as whiskers. She raced after the boys in the playground.
The serious point though is what is this telling our girls? Are we suggesting that they cannot be superheros? Do they need to be secondary to the real hero which is male? I work really hard to tell my children they can be whatever they want. We encourage them to challenge the status quo and be ambitious. I am trying to produce strong independent girls. I throw myself into campaigns that support girls and woman, campaigns like no likes needed and yet sometimes I just despair.
There is still a gender pay gap and still we are sending our girls into school with the notion that boys are super heros. The girls were dressed as teddies or in bright colours somehow it didn’t have quite the same impact in raising them up.
How does your children’s school support Children In Need? Do you question where are the female superheroes in supermarkets?