October 27, 2015
Halloween is coming, and it’s got me thinking.
I’d like to conduct a thought experiment. Will you play along for a minute?
Imagine that there is a new superhero in popular culture that is all the rage.
Imagine this superhero is male and wears a spandex suit of green and a shimmering cape of gold.
Imagine this superhero has the power to turn anything he touches to ice and can shoot cold out of his hands and harm those around him.
Imagine that in the first installment of the story, this superhero doesn’t actually do much superhero-ing, but instead is driven out of his home for being a mutant and has to hide his power.
Imagine that by the end of this first installment, he learns how to manage his power and is lovingly reintegrated back into his world.
How would we feel about tens of thousands of girls across the country dressing up as this superhero for Halloween? Do you think someone would come up with the idea of taking pot shots every time a girl dressed as this superhero came trick-or-treating? Or do you think we would admire all these girls embracing being a powerful figure and pretend to freeze in our tracks as soon as they held out their little hands to freeze us to the spot?
You can stop imagining now.
Can someone explain to me the difference between this superhero and the infamous Queen Elsa of Frozen besides gender and a spandex suit?
Last year and again this year there has been some amount of eye-rolling and bemoaning the popularity of Elsa and the number of girls who want to dress as her for Halloween. And while I understand (and even participated in some of) it, I’ve begun to wonder why no one bemoans the number of boys dressed as Superman or Spiderman.
Girls across the country fell in love with Elsa because she’s powerful. She has ice powers! She can freeze people! She can build an ice castle with her hands while singing an amazing solo! And she does all of it while wearing a gorgeous dress. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.