Friday, February 14, 2014

Batgirl

For the 100th day of school at my daughter's pre-school, students were supposed to come as their favorite superhero or princess. My daughter is the batgirl on the left. My daughter's teacher is the superwoman on the right.

My whole theory on parenting against the grain is to try and create space for my children, for all children, to make choices rather than being pressured to conform to defaults. This feels like winning.


The key here is that we didn't say, "be a superhero," but say, "You can be anything you want to be ... including a superhero." She can read and saw the word princess, but said, "I want to be batgirl!" And so it was.

4 comments:

emobullshittery said...

Adorable :)

I think girls can absolutely be princesses if they want to (and boys too!) but it should never be assumed that they should be.

I felt a similar way when I doing themed facepainting for kids. We gave them a selection to choose from. Most of the girls wanted to be the prettier more feminine ones - flowers, butterflies, ladybirds. One girl wanted the spider web pattern. She then played, crouching, jumping and doing forward rolls - being Spider Man (or spider girl!).

I had no problem with the other girls picking the pretty choices, but I was absolutely rooting for Spider Girl.

David Perry said...

Right. So my deeper question is how to parent against the grain. I operate under the assumption that society is pushing my daughter towards princess. If I just give her the neutral, "Pick whatever you like," it's not actually neutral. Hence, I push the other way - but I try to do it gently.

emobullshittery said...

It's kind of a difficult one - and I'm not a parent so you're far more qualified there!
But I suppose the problem comes in that kids are like sponges - they'll pick up society pushing them but...also be sensitive to the expectations of their parents as well.

I guess the thing is to instil in them the importance of questioning and independent choice and thinking. Incidentally, I found this (you've probably seen it) and it reminded me of my own childhood:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/24/pink-stuff-little-girl_n_1169044.html

(I was outraged as a kid that the Argos catalogue had a 'toys for girls' category that contained none of the toys I wanted. I still am, if I'm honest. NEVER FORGET.)

emobullshittery said...

It's kind of a difficult one - and I'm not a parent so you're far more qualified there!
But I suppose the problem comes in that kids are like sponges - they'll pick up society pushing them but...also be sensitive to the expectations of their parents as well.

I guess the thing is to instil in them the importance of questioning and independent choice and thinking. Incidentally, I found this (you've probably seen it) and it reminded me of my own childhood:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/24/pink-stuff-little-girl_n_1169044.html

(I was outraged as a kid that the Argos catalogue had a 'toys for girls' category that contained none of the toys I wanted. I still am, if I'm honest. NEVER FORGET.)