This morning while I was perusing my first read through of social media for the day, Empire’s Comics Vault in Sacramento posted an event that peaked my interest. After immediately accepting the invitation, I read more about Leanna and her love for superheros that has been frowned upon due to societal gender expectations. As much as I would love to pick this girl up, hug her to no end and tell her that all of those people deserve to be crushed by She-Hulk herself, I contributed to the social media craze that has already picked up 1.7k Facebook attendees and thousands of tweets that are currently bombarding the internet as we speak.
This trend of limiting children to their gendered toys and interests is so old and so tired. We are one of the most developed nations in the world, yet we are so concerned about gendered stereotypes and defining what is right and what is expected for children. When we’re young we don’t understand things like societal expectations, so when someone takes away a little girls Batmobile her first reaction and my reaction and apparently everyone’s reaction who is wearing a superhero shirt today is, “Why?!”
Simple answer: “Because it’s for boys.”
I will do this again. Why is it for boys? What makes super powered human beings who fight crime and seek justice specifically tailored for young boys?
Because superheros fit the societal ideal of masculinity. There’s power, strength, drive, gumption, and righteousness in being a super hero. These are the messages we want to give to our boys. That they need to be strong and powerful and to do what is right. But if we look over on the other side of the toy aisle, what do we see for girls?
Lots of pink and lots of clothes. Doll sets that provide hair salons, kitchen sets, and spas. So what is society telling us they want our girls to be?
I’ll let you figure out that one for yourself.
So, Leanna and family if you’re reading this: wear your superhero shirts. Wear them loud, wear them proud and tell anyone who tells you otherwise that you love superheroes as much and if not more than they do. Question them, question the world, and question society. You keep doing what you love and as Kevin G. so eloquently stated, “Don’t let the haters stop you from doing yo thang.”