I know 2016 has been a rough year and it’s best not to pin my hopes too high, but I feel that you are likely the one to put a flea in people’s ears on my behalf. There are just two things I want for Christmas, they’ve been burning in my heart for so long, so I’m sitting down to write you in what may sound like a very old song.
Please let there be television shows with three female characters that anyone would want to pretend to be. Let them all be good guys or good gals as I tell my toddler. Let them all do courageous, heroic, story changing things, let them all have a shining moment that doesn’t rely on their looks and isn’t about being rescued by the boys.
Isn’t it time? I made the mistake of having two girls and now when my children play pretend in the car to keep themselves entertained I can no longer be Princess Leia.
I have always been Princess Leia, all of my life, because I played with boys, and what we know about the 80’s is that there is only room for one token female and one token black boy or Asian boy (heavens forbid these roles should ever overlap), because while all the boys had one character flaw to get over, black, Asian and girl were there’s.
Clearly girls of color had other things to do that day and were thus not pictured. Likely they were staying indoors, doing whatever girls do, when they’re not named Chris, or Sam or Joey, more on that in a minute.
Now when I ride in the car I am the Wookie or Han but since I don’t like to hit on my children, that get’s too weird for me also they don’t get sarcasm yet.
There favorite joke right now is, handing you a Lego tire “You look tired….Get it! Get it?” They do not appreciate when their father and I say on the ninth go round of this joke. “Tired? No I don’t get it.” then we look at each other over their heads and say “Tired of this joke, ha, ha, ha.” This is what goes for inter-generational humor in my house.
The Diva of ‘Eva, my eldest, who is six, is Leia as is her birth rite as first born girl to get the cool one. Sometimes she’s Amadala, and graciously lets me play Leia. I do not have the heart to tell her that these two strong women never make it into one movie together where they’re kicking ass across the stars as mother and daughter, because when one heroine is born, another must die… because there can be only one.
The Woad Warrior, the toddler, the baby tiger, who is a whirlwind of energy but lacking in a feminine sense of self, beyond liking shoes, is baby Rei. She would like to be the Wookie which is mostly growling, but pretty soon her siblings sort her out, and we are off in the car with Amadala, Leia and baby Rei (which is not in this case BBQ sauce). We are a family of three females, so it’s very hard to play anything. Oh you’ll say, you dear old elf, that there are lots of games we could play why: Dora In The City, or Lego Girls or My Little Pony, but here’s the rub. We have a five seater car.
My husband and my son like to go with us when we travel to the grocery store, or dance class, or soccer games and there is only one token male in female shows.
Well shouldn’t that be fair? Santa, you’d ask if you were full of white privilege, which I know you’re not, because I’ve seen pictures of you at the Mall of America and you’re black there, I can only assume you appear how you like.
It is not fair and here’s why – boys get adventure shows, girls get Strawberry Shortcake. Love her to pieces, cannot get enough of her smelly hair, but she’s not saving any star systems or trekking out to Mount Doom with inappropriate jewelry. And what about the boys, like my son Prince Charming, who do watch the show? This week I cried as my mom’s list was full of stories of woe about son’s who love these shows being told they’re losing their male card if they continue to watch or play them. I’d love to ask for boys to still be boys, for men to still be men if they have compassion for women and share their world. It would mean a lot to me, but that’s for another year.
“People ask me sometimes, when — when do you think it will it be enough? When will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is when there are nine.”
Does that shock you Santa? I know it doesn’t shock Mrs. Claus, but it did shock me. Nine, isn’t that a lot to ask? Where’s the balance? You see I’ve been raised to want less and expect less and be thankful for it.
So this Christmas Santa could you please, oh pretty please, put three well developed female heroes in every adventure show, and remind the people who make Chuck and Paw Patrol and Blaze & The Monster Machines that the boys who watch these shows are often really girls. But why stop there, how about grown up shows too?
As for that other thing Santa, this isn’t really a gift you can give me, but I would give up every snow day and every gift filled stocking too if writers male and female would stop naming gutsy, spunky, heroines with boy’s names. I’m looking at you Rei. Must all women assume diminutive boys names, the Charlies and Joradan’s and Alex’s of the world to be heroes, to be brave, and adventurous and bold?
Think of what the world would be like if we thought: Megan and Anne and Cassandra were bad ass heroes too? Don’t even get me started about Sorcha and Phaidra?
It’s no surprise that my children’s world are full of Addie’s and Madison’s because middle class families want their daughters to have successful work names – not Tiffany or Stephany or Shaniqua but strong, dare I say it, male names that suggest these future women have no soft curves, would never cry at work, and can wear the mantle of “bitch” if necessary without running to HR.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if everyone just started naming their heroes Tiffany and Stephany and Shaniqua? Can you imagine how the future generations might think when they waited to interview Shaniqua? She’s got to be fantastic.
Anyway I know you and your reindeer have a lot to do, I’m telling my children Vixen and Blitzen are girls, but you better believe Dancer and Cupid are staying boys, because boys dance and boys love too, but if next year you wanted to name a few reindeer Holly, Carole and Noelle that would mean a lot.
As ever, I love you Santa and I still believe.