Friday, October 31, 2008

Superheros and Princesses

Yesterday morning when I dropped E and Z off at daycare, complete with now-finished butterfly wings, I went inside to find two boys dressed as Batman and one as a "Little Ninja." They were running around making air kicks and punches to go with their personas (one got in trouble for hitting, pushing and knocking other kids down in the five minutes I was there). At least three or four girls dressed as princesses. The four-year-olds were getting ready to go outside (they had had their party the previous day) and the girls among them were gathering around to admire E and Z's wings. When Z put on his fuzzy purple antennae, one girl said, "Those are for girls." "Why?" I asked. "Those are for girls," she repeated. "Well he's a boy and he's wearing them, so they must be for boys too," I responded. My little, futile bit of rebellion against rigid gender roles (probably about as effective as my Kashi Tasty Little Crackers are against the doughnuts the other parents brought). I was relieved to see another boy arrive in a green frog costume and another in something red and fuzzy, like a dragon or monster.

I went straight to a meeting, where around the table sat 18 men and three women. I rarely find myself in meetings this unbalanced (I also rarely work with industry, which I'm sure would be equally Y-chromosome-dominated). These were mostly energy people and lobbyists. I kept envisioning them as a bunch of Cromagnons squatting around a fire, wearing colorful, phallic neck ornaments, planning the next Woolly Mammoth hunt. When one man said he'd finished his comments at 1:30 that morning, I felt really happy that I'd been up until almost that late making butterfly wings for my kids, and NOT working on comments on the rule we were discussing.

So, questions:

A. Do those superhero and princess costumes on three year olds have anything to do with the six-to-one male to female ratio in my meeting?

B. Am I traitor to feminism to get more satisfaction out of making things for my children than anything I do for actual monetary compensation?


  1. If you're a traitor, you're in good company. Not that I made the F1 a costume this year as I have in other years. No, Halloween was an inconvenient road bump in the election season to me this year. Call me All Hallows Humbug. Or maybe nearly pathologically desperate to end the reign of Republicans.

    This month's Atlantic Monthly has an article that makes for mighty interesting reading about chemically determined gender representation. That's not the article's focus. The topic is transgendered children. Nevertheless, the assessment and treatment of these kids sheds some surprising--to those of us steeped in Our Bodies Ourselves-esque feminism--light on our aptitudes and habits.
    Though I'm no domestic goddess, the palpable way my life expanded into itself after I had a baby challenges many of the "both genders are exactly the same" tripe.

    Also, the backlash against mothers in some family courts as part of the push for "fathers rights" sickens me all out of proportion.

  2. All I know is that your butterflies may be hanging out with my pixie and sprite at some point in the future. Can't say how their Halloween costume choices may affect who they are as men, but I'd like to believe they will be enlightened men who happily label themselves as feminists. Frankly, I AM glad that we got away with another year of handmade costumes that include no tv characters or superheroes.

  3. I sure like the kids more than working. Not that i don't want my girls to do some ass-kicking in this world, but the wage economy sucks.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...