June 18, 2017
My six-year-old daughter tells people that when she grows up, she wants to be a superhero. She has asked us when her powers will kick in. Her favorite superhero is Supergirl.
Years ago, she grilled my husband and me about who our favorite superheroes were (Batman and Wonder Woman, respectively). When she saw that a Wonder Woman movie was coming out, she was very excited…for me. (She had no intention of watching it herself. “Too scary!” she says to anything with more dramatic tension than your average episode of Dinosaur Train.)
Fast forward to a trip to the mall, where in Hot Topic, while looking for a subtle themed top to wear to the theater, I ran across a sundress with a pattern that looked like Wonder Woman’s costume from the movie. What could it hurt to try it on? So I herded my kids into the dressing room, and slipped the dress over my head.
It fit perfectly, its polyester trompe l’oeil armor defining my waist and swishing around my thighs. I knew instantly that I was not walking out of that store with a simple tank top. I had transformed into an Amazon. I even felt taller.
“Mommy,” my daughter proclaimed. “You have to get that. You look just like Wonder Woman.” She was so right.
At the check out, she waggled her eyebrows and let the clerk know my secret identity. “My mommy is Diana, just like Wonder Woman.”
That night, we practiced our best Lynda Carter twirls. Over the next few days, she encouraged me to wear it to a local strawberry festival and her school fair. I got a ton of compliments. And, most importantly, I felt fierce.
Dressed as Wonder Woman, I held my shoulders back and my chin up. My stride lengthened. I got up early and got an hour of work in before my family woke, then strode into my daughter’s bedroom to help her get ready for school like I’d just conquered the world. I stood up for myself more at work, though they couldn’t see my clothes on the other side of that computer screen. I love clothes and costuming, and even I was surprised to see what a difference a Wonder Woman print dress made in my outlook on life.
As a modern feminist, a mother to daughters, and an early adopter of Princess Awesome fashion, I’m well-read on the topic of the messages we send to our girls with the clothes we dress them in, but what I hadn’t considered was what message had I been sending to myself. There’s nothing wrong with an old pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt, as long as you feel good wearing it. Me, I felt good dressed as Wonder Woman, if only for a little while.
Maybe clothes really do make the woman.