Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Abby Cadabby Costume Dilemma

My son intends to be Abby Cadabby, the pink Sesame Street fairy, for Halloween and I could not be more proud.

Yes, I said my son. He's a boy. He likes trucks, bike riding, digging in the dirt, and pink fairies.

When he first requested to be Abby, I was not surprised. He adores her and her fluffy purple pigtails so much that his birthday cake was - kind of - an homage to her fairy pinkness. Who was I to deny his desire?

Of course, then I started to over-think it.

What if everyone refers to him as a girl? What if peoples' reactions were negative? How many times will I hear, "How does his dad feel about this?"

I do live in a pretty liberal-minded community, but that does not mean everyone is cool with a little boy dressed as a girl. So, I sought opinions.

Reactions were mostly positive -- a few were worried about his dad's reaction. I wasn't. His dad's reaction was always, "Go for it."

So, we did and the piecing together of an Abby Cadabby costume began. As I was cutting strip after strip of tulle, I began to feel pride in my son's choice.

You see, lately I've been reading a few articles on the lack of strong female characters in motion pictures and the lack of womanly representation in Congress. It got me thinking about the backwardness of having little girls idolize male role models while not being comfortable with little boys doing the same towards females. Why is it acceptable for little girls to dress up in stereotypically male roles like soldiers, baseball players, or superheros (granted these are usually highly feminized versions - gah) but not for boys to dress-up in stereotypically female roles?

It is my belief that these stereotypes are wrong no matter which way they are directed. How will society ever fully accept females as equals if we continue to allow our sons to only idolize males? Why shouldn't my son want to grow up to be just like Hillary Clinton, Mia Hamm, or Martha Stewart (excepting the illegal trading and all)? Women are worth idolizing and it shouldn't just be our girls who are doing it.

After all, Halloween is about pretending, make-believe, and trying out a persona. If my son idolizes a strong, opinionated, and intelligent character, who cares if she's also wearing a dress and a set of fairy wings?

Now, here's hoping I haven't made a terrible mistake that will scar him for the rest of his life. I haven't, right?!?


Wendy said...

You are a GREAT mom - no you are GREAT parents! Go for it indeed!

Jessica said...

way to go mama!

Mary said...

Love. it.

Because you're right. The road to changing gender stereotypes can't be a one-way street.

But if it takes you down Sesame can't be anything but for the better.

MorethanMommy said...

A friend of mine told me a few years ago that her middle-school-aged nephew was asked to go home and change after he came to school in a Powerpuff Girl costume (as was one of his similarly dressed friends). But I bet a girl would be allowed to go as Superman or Batman or a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle.

You go, girl! We need to challenge assumptions and stereotypes one Halloween costume at a time.

LostMommyManual said...

I think it's awesome! I had similar feelings last year (in the opposite way) when Zoe wanted to be a Transformer for Halloween. She was a darn good Optimus Prime! This year she will be a ninja. You must post a photo!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

And if not at his age on Halloween, when? EXACTLY! Go LINUS!

Nan Lujan said...

Can't wait to see his costume on Saturday!

Mom said...

Except for photos Linus will not remember that he wanted to be a "female" character. I think he will be left with impressions of the character/personality of AbbyCadabby....and as Martha would say "that's a good thing".

I am wondering though...what impressions your older brother retains from his Halloween character choice "a witch!".

Heidi said...

I just asked your older brother. He has no recollection of why he wanted to be a witch, he just remembers that it got a lot of laughs (which is a win in his book) and that your dad kept insisting he was a "warlock". I think it's safe to say no permanant damage was done as a result.

Go for it Linus!

Andrea said...

I love it. I think he will be adorable!

Convertible Girl said...

You rock, mama. Linus is lucky to have a strong woman role model in you, too :)