I went to my daughter's preschool's Halloween concert this morning; and, based on scientific research done while observing one, single, solitary class of four-year-olds, I can tell you definitively -- Ariel is out. Wonder Woman is in.
Last year, in three-year-old preschool, my daughter was one of only two girls who didn't dress up as a princess. (She was Rainbow Dash. The other girl was...I don't remember. A witch? Your mom?)
This year there were three princesses: Two Annas and one Cinderella. Auf Widersehen, Elsa. You are OUT. (Probably because everyone already went as you last year, and to repeat a costume would be so gauche.)
Rounding out the rest of the girls there was a Spider-Girl, Wonder Woman, fairy (I think), butterfly, Rainbow Dash, Olaf, Supergirl, Olivia the pig, a red ninja, and a hot dog.
(On the boys' side it was mostly superheroes -- lots of Spider-Men in the wake of Marvel taking over the character, which probably hurts Andrew Greenfield's feelings -- a ninja turtle, a Luke Skywalker, two Ghostbusters, another Olaf, and a partridge in a pear tree. Not really.)
What I like about this development for the girls is that they're four-years-old and are already figuring out that they don't want to be put into boxes. They can dress up however they damn well please. Yes, they can be princesses and it's fine if they want to be, but it's not the only option. If my daughter had wanted to put on her Elsa dress or her Sleeping Beauty one or whatever, I wouldn't have stopped her. In fact I would've secretly cheered, because we already own those things (full disclosure, I did try to gently nudge her toward her new Star Wars Rey costume). But I still would've delighted in seeing the variety of costumes at the front of the room.
Halloween is just one day of the year, but it's one which so often reinforces the idea that girls and women are only worthwhile if they're pretty or sexy. We don't leave that kind of thinking on the doorstep with the rotting pumpkins on November 1. That nonsense follows us all year long.
The fact that these young girls are figuring out now that they can dress up however they want, that they can be whoever and whatever they want, is terrific and it makes me excited to see what kinds of awesome women they will grow up to be.
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