Thursday, 16 October 2014

Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King!

Samhain. All Hallows Eve. Hallowe'en.  My favourite holiday of the year is nigh! Out come the candy (and the three extra pounds I get from scarfing it) and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Out come the paper ghosts, ghouls and mummies; the pumpkins, jack o lanterns, and cobwebs. And out comes the costume-angst, for all except Panda.

Panda is an odd one. Usually by January 1st,, she knows what she is going to be the next year. She'll be Queen Elsa from Frozen this time, and I gotta say, I'm kind of relieved. I know it is unusual celebrate that your child wants to be one more blue Disney princess in a sea of blue Disney princesses instead of say, Malala. But I see it as a turning point for her. Since she has been old enough to choose her own costumes, she has been Spiderman, Iron Man, and Captain America. Yay, girl power, claiming male spaces, right? Nope. Maybe... a young girl's confidence that sex and gender are irrelevant? Not at all.

See, her daycare group from babyhood to age five was predominantly boys. Active, energetic, sometimes aggressive boys, with the occasional girl in a corner with a tea set and a dolly for some variety. And since Panda is decidedly not of the tea set persuasion, her best friends were always boys. We have consciously not gender stereotyped in our home, but of course the world (and other parents) are always ready and willing to jump in fill the gap for us. Around the age of four , she started to separate colours along gender lines, then toys, then everything else. Nothing about girls was cool enough for her. Princesses were 'too kissy', and pink was totally out of the question - any attempt to explain that colours were for everyone was met with an incredulous stare and "Papa doesn't wear pink." (Technically true, but her papa won't wear any colour out of the neutral range. Ever.) She had a Transformers party for her fifth birthday. At five and a half she decided that men got all the cool jobs, and was heartbroken and sobbing that she couldn't be a boy when she grew up. Cue long rambling explanation of the why girls are awesome, the history of feminism and the struggle for equality. No go. Eventually I gave up and offered her a hug and a cookie instead.

The start of kindergarten and new (girl) friends ameliorated things somewhat, especially on the fashion front - although she got points from the boys for being the only Iron Man at Halloween whose chest plate thingy actually lit up (thanks, S!) Frozen did more, because here was a girl that Panda could really get behind, someone who could do cool magicky stuff and still look great in glitter.

So, I really, really never thought I'd say this, and believe me I am well aware of Disney's flaws, but in this one case, I gotta say- hat's off to you, Walt, for letting my little girl finally revel in her double xs. I hope it'll stick, and maybe her 2015 will start with the announcement that next year she's going as Amelia Earhart, or Ada Lovelace. But until then, I'll be the lady unabashedly belting out 'Let it Go' in the car on her morning commute. And yeah, I know you all can see me, and no, I don't care.

p.s. So....did Queen Elsa single-handedly put all those ice-miners out of business with power over ice and snow? I figure that pretty much the only people rich enough in those days to afford ice were the nobility, and she could easily take care of them with a sweep of her hand. 

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