We are in a major superhero phase right now. A couple of months ago, my daughter grabbed a Lego Superhero book off the paper-book character book shelves and brought it to me to check out. The book involves a race between Superman and the Flash, which (spoiler alert) ends in a tie. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we’ve read that book over a 100 times. Somehow it’s flimsy paperback pages are still intact.
The story line inspired my kids’ play, as all good kid books do. The Costco gods smiled upon us and provided some cute WonderWoman and SuperMan jammies for each of them.
Our superhero luck quickly ran out though, during yesterday’s trip to Stride Rite. In exchange for taking ridiculous amounts of my money every 2 months, I count on Stride Rite to tell me how big my kids’ feet are and to provide the perfect shoe for them to play in. We ran in the store (no double stroller…I was feeling brave) and D went straight for the boy section’s section of superhero shoes.
A immediately sensed the problem. Her choices consisted of pink, pink and more pink – with no superheros to be found. Throwing herself into her patented double tantrum hop, A yelled and demanded the Spiderman shoes. I froze. I scanned my brain for all the information learned during Women’s Studies classes and reading feminist literature and blogs. Should I let her have the Spiderman shoes? Would she be made fun of? Is this really what she wanted? What would Dr. H say?
Thinking quickly on my feet, I decided that it was silly to get her the same shoes as her brother and that I needed a different option. I quickly grabbed the My Little Pony shoes and began to sell them to her as Super Pony shoes. I encouraged her to run around the store as fast as a pony with them on. Thankfully, she bought it.
I’m not sure that I did the right thing though. Maybe I should have screwed the gender norms and encouraged her to choose the shoes that made her feel the most powerful. I find myself in these quandarys quite frequently as a boy/girl twin mom. I want the best opportunities for the both of them…but very often those are not the same opportunities. This will continue throughout their childhood as their own unique personalities are shaped through a never-ending series of choices.
I was able to save the day yesterday with some Super Pony shoes, but what will happen if she wants to play football? Wants to join a male dominated club or profession? I need to be able to say yes to my daughter’s dreams to become the person she is entitled to be – irrespective of any b.s. gender norms. So, Stride Rite – get your act together and the rest of the world get ready. A new type of superhero is coming through.