Don't Conform, Transform
On my Facebook page, one of the members of the community asked for recommendation for non-sexualized female superheroes. If you’re familiar with comic or even movie versions of female superheroes, you are probably aware of the ways that they are incredibly sexualized. Even my childhood favorite, Wonder Woman, is dressed in an outfit that would realistically prohibit any real crime fighting! I mean, let’s be realistic, a bustier and high-heeled boots are not ideal for chasing bad guys and hand to hand combat.
We came up with some great super heroes so far, including Mrs. Incredible/ElastiGirl, Violet Incredible, and Kim Possible all from Disney. My favorite that was mentioned was Word Girl. Do you know her? Word Girl is a fifth grade girl who fights crime with her super strength and super vocabulary! Word Girl is relatable for young girls because she’s an elementary aged girl herself, and her costume says “super hero” not “super sexy.” PBS also has “Super Why” which features Princess Pea and Red, who are super hero girls. Another great girl super hero is Super Tool Lula. Lula isn’t in a television series like the others I mentioned, but in books, which provides parents with another way to expose their kids to strong female models. I love the way all three of these heroes are young girls who kids can relate to.
Another reader recommended brining in historical figures to share with kids, such as Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride, and Billy Jean King. Something that I never would’ve thought of that a reader suggested was sharing some of the stories of female Catholic saints with your kids. Many of these women stood up for what they believed in and suffered greatly for it, so the stories might be best for older children. Joan of Arc was one tough cookie who lead men in battle as a teenager. Then there are the women scientists and inventors such as Marie Curie and Hedy Lamarr and activists like Rosa Parks.
Do you have suggestions for female super heroes that aren’t sexed up? Girls and boys benefit from seeing women and girls as powerful people who stand up for their beliefs. Kids of both sexes need to see women and girls depicted as valuable for something other than just their looks and ability to attract others. I’d love to hear your thoughts!