October 1st was Wear Your Superheroes Day. I just found out about this event randomly through a Facebook post and cannot be more excited behind how it came to be and what the event’s is about.
I am a huge fan of comic books and superhero stories, particularly stories involving strong female characters. The new Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel books are some of the best writing in comic form I have seen in ages.
Taken from the event’s website:
Leanna is a five-year-old girl who loves superheroes. When she wears her superhero clothes to kindergarten, though, the boys tell her that superheroes are “for boys.” She has even started to wear her jacket all day to keep from being hassled about it. (For the record, princesses aren’t “for girls,” either.)
Her seven-year-old sister Adalina has declared Wednesday, October 1, to be Wear Your Superheroes Day. Boys and girls of all ages who believe superheroes are for EVERYONE should wear their superhero stuff on Wednesday and post a picture with the hashtag, WearYourSuperheroes Solidarity!
First of all, let’s give an awesome shout out to that parenting. There are two things I loved about that statement; that princesses are not just for girls and that her seven-year-old sister is a budding little feminist. The tide seems to be turning toward gender neutral toys and accessories — I saw some clothes for little girls the other day that were comic and sci-fi inspired. I shouldn’t have to be shocked that those things exist.
I know there has been some push back against gender-inclusive toys including LEGO’s horrible line directed at little girls. When I was a kid, LEGO just had different sets that weren’t specifically for boys or girls, they were just there for building. LEGO seems to think that little girls would not want giant robots or spaceships or properties based on Marvel, DC, and Star Wars. I am amazed every time I go in a toy section and see how segregated it is. People who make their living on toy marketing are kind of evil. Because The Hunger Games was a novel that featured a female protagonist, it didn’t get action figures, it got Barbies. I bet they could have sold a bunch of action figures if they would have tried. As brutal as it is, could you imagine a full jungle play set from Catching Fire? It would have been awesome.
What does it say about the boys in Leanna’s class that they are already enforcing gender norms? That scares me a whole lot because I know what men enforcing gender norms is like and it is not pretty. As a female geek and gamer, the last few months have been a trying time. The attacks on Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian have been harrowing to watch. I only got cursory blowback on Twitter from male geeks who didn’t like me tweeting in support. The hate that those women endured was some of the sickest things I have ever witnessed.
Since transition, I have experienced misogyny in my interactions with geek/nerd culture. Before, I could walk into a comic shop or a video game store and feel like the employees would talk to me or actively try to engage me. Since, I have noticed that going into comic stores, I have to somehow prove that I am worthy of being in the store. I have to be on tip top shape of knowledge about comics to be included in the boys’ club. I feel this weird veil comes over the store when I walk in. Thankfully, my current comic shop has not really felt that way. I went into a video game store with a cisgender heterosexual male friend of mine to look at video games. I was genuinely interested in purchasing a game for my computer but the sales associate automatically started talking to my friend first about games and ignored me. It came off that the associate thought I was said friend’s girlfriend and was just putting up with him going to the store. Needless to say, I did not buy the game I was looking at.
Sexism is alive and well and for this we need to do brave little things like these two girls. Wear Your Superheroes Day’s mission is awesome and inclusive and feminist. Deadpool isn’t just for dudes. Wonder Woman isn’t just for women; they were created for everyone. I hope we can make this day a continuing event. I am rocking my Star Lord key chain at work tonight as it’s the closest thing I can do at work.