11 February 2012

"I'll Smack You Like A Little Girl!"

Gender politics have been in the news lately, from a little boy dressing as Scooby-Doo's Daphne to a Swedish preschool that refers to their students as hens to little Sasha Laxton to a kid standing up to his own father in a GameStop on his little brother's behalf, there's no shortage of challenges to heteronormative biases that most of us would otherwise have thought went the way of witch burnings and segregation.

As someone who grew up with the knowledge that Samus Aran was a woman (before Other M turned her into Bella Swan in power armor), Lady Jaye could crack wise about being a human sacrifice (and kick a few heads in while strung up), Zelda didn't need Link half as bad as she might have insisted, Marion Ravenwood could drink any man under the table, and Karana could manage island life all on her own despite her people's traditions, I like to think I've a fairly liberal view of gender roles, and frankly find the idea of a little boy dressing up as Daphne as funny as it is cute.

I bring all this up because today I overheard something while eating at my local Steak 'n' Shake with my roommate, before going to see Phantom Menace in 3D. Across from our booth, a little boy of maybe five or six was... well, doing what little kids do in public places, running around yelling like he was on fire and grinning ear to ear as only little kids can do when they're testing their parents' limits. When said limit was finally tested to the point of breaking, the boy's mother (emphasis: MOTHER) looked him dead in the eye and said that if he didn't knock it off:

"I'll smack you like a little girl!"

In light of those aforementioned stories and female archetypes from my childhood, I'd like to say to that mother:

"YOU'RE... NOT... HELPING!"

Special Acknowledgement: Thanks to Desi, a very talented artist, for posting about the Sasha Laxton story, and Vanessa Hahn, one of the strongest women I know, for mentioning the Gamestop story.
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