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When they are handed dolls or told princess stories, girls are made to believe that they can just be damsels in distress waiting for their hero to rescue them. And this idea is so limiting!
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash
I never understood the meaning of superheroes until the day I gave birth. Although my father was a doctor, he was just dad to me and the full capacity of his degree never dawned upon me. I knew that people from far off places came all the way to be treated by my father. Some even said just having a glance and a conversation with my father in itself made people feel better. He was a super hero albeit an unsung one.
But while lying on the delivery table as I faintly observed the expertise of my gynaecologist who made my difficult delivery feel like a piece of cake, the nurses who in spite of being in tremendous pressure calmly helped with the delivery smoothing all the creases that might have come in the process and the neonatologist, who stood by my side to take care of the new born, made me fully understand what superheroes are exactly like. The fact that the gynaecologist, the nurses and the neonatologist all were women, makes my heart swell with pride to belong to this tribe. My gynaecologist always wore a bright red lipstick. The neonatologist who was a Serbian woman always had a dash of blue eyeliner in her eyes adding that feminine soft streak to one of the most strenuous jobs in the world.
Superheroes are real. And they are mostly people calmly just doing what they are good at. I came out of my delivery experience feeling empowered by the understanding what being a woman exactly meant.
Last week I was invited to a themed birthday party. The superheroes consisted mostly of men, superman, Spiderman, etc. The little girls who attended the party were given princess costumes that they can wear while being rescued by the superheroes. The highlight was applying make up.
While I understand the innocence of the theme, I wonder, does not these little details make little girls give away their power? To the question who could you be, girls are provided the answer that they can be damsels in distress waiting for their hero to rescue them. And this idea is so limiting.
My daughter who soaked in all the theme and literally enjoyed applying kiddie make up and being a princess but something in my heart strongly urged me to barge on in her and explain that she can also be a superhero.
While coming back from the party my daughter elated after the whole experience, asked me, but why can’t girls be superheroes?
‘Who says you can’t?’ I asked.
‘But the superhero costume were only for the boys not for me.’
It broke my heart to a million pieces just like it does every time she asks me a question that tugs at my heart.
‘Do you remember Dr. Brankica?’ We often spoke of the delivery experience to her and so she knew the name of all the doctors who helped her when she was a baby.
‘Yes, the one with the blue eye liner?’
‘Yes, that one.’
‘You know how many babies she had helped and let out in the world?’ Countless. And do you know how much joy her work brought to the world?
‘So what does that make her?’ I asked.
‘A superhero’, she shrieked as a little bit of reality entered her perturbed mind.
‘That superhero is called a neonatologist, just like Clark kent is called a superman; and you can be one too and still apply make up while you are at it.’
‘Did Dr. Brankica wear make up when she held me as a baby?’ My daughter asked, the wonder of make up still fresh in her mind.
‘Of course she did,’ I replied.
While I was relieved we had that conversation, I wonder how many little girls buy into the idea of being rescued by men and then miss out on who they can be.
I still remember, the day when we brought out daughter home, Dr. Brankica had said, it feels so good when little babies come and go home healthy. The joy in her eyes and the joy that she found in her work is something that can only be felt in the passionate vibe that exuded from her at that moment.
Ever heard of loving fiercely and letting go? That day as she handed my daughter back to me, I felt what it is like to love like that.
Superheroes are unsung. They do not wear a cape, nor do they fly in the air. They are grounded human beings, who are passionate, compassionate and who just does their job well. And yes, superheroes are also women, who sometimes wear a blue eye liner or a red lipstick, just to keep that feminine side of theirs vibrating bright.
Do not limit girls to just princess themed birthday parties. Let them know the real superheroes, what they do and how each child have the potential to be exactly one.
A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple by nature. Love to read, create paintings and cook. Have impossible dreams. At the moment, engaged in making those dreams read more...
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