Funny little Kids power super hero.

Costumes for kids or stereotypes?

“The girls were dressed as princesses, the boys as super heroes!”

One Monday night, I come home from work and my older son, 7 years old, says to me: “Tomorrow it’s “Mardi Gras”, the teacher told us we could come in costume”.  Ouch …

I say “ouch” because we don’t have many costumes at home, and I don’t know why: is it because they do not have many that they almost never disguise themselves, or is it because they do not really like this that we do not buy them costumes…

Anyway… I open the drawer, and I find:

What is hiding inside my drawers? Costumes or stereotypes?
What is hiding inside my drawers? Costumes or stereotypes?
  • A black cape and hat, vestiges of a  Zorro costume (3 years-old size)
  • A duck costume I handmade for the school show last year, but as he destroyed the mask with the beak, the yellow tunic does not look like anything anymore…
  • A pink tutu (2 years old size)
  • A Spider-man costume

As an aside: the pink tutu and the Spider-man costume were Nadia‘s gifts for my children (yes, by the other contributor to this blog …)! Because Nadia  values   the enjoyment of children more than her personal beliefs… But since this blog, we give our children less stereotyped gifts … It’s now a matter of ethics!

Feminist friend, hang on to your hat!

It’s no surprise that my son chose the Spiderman costume! As did five other boys in his class.

And the others ? “The girls were dresses as princesses, and the boys were super heroes!” There were also two girls dressed as witches: Halloween expands the range of possibilities when it comes to dressing up..

Tuesday night, I asked him, “So, what game did you play with your classmates? “

Feminist friend, hang on to your hat! “The witches attacked princesses, the princesses ran away to escape them, and we, the super heroes, we  had to build up traps to catch the witches.”

What a great scenario! I think we should do a movie! Oh no, too bad, after a quick search on IMDb, it has already been done.

Well, this makes me cringe!  Aside from the two witches, the girls had a passive role. They just had to run as much as their long dresses allowed them to… The strategy was for the boys  to develop traps and to be strong and courageous.

Costumes = stereotypes?

Why is it a pity? Because these caricatured roles shape their representations of the world. Of course, this is only a game, but unfortunately this game is not isolated. It reproduces the same injunctions as those that swarm in most media, toys or clothing: “Be beautiful and shut up” or “be strong and do not cry.” Seeing this, I tell myself that, yes, mass marketing conditioning works well.

This is all the more bitter as, in theory, Carnival allows for a day, the transgression of social codes. But here, no transgression, just a reproduction, a copy-paste of our society’s worst cliches.

I do not know about you, but when I was a child, I don’t remember having a princess dress (although I think I would have loved to have one). I used to play with the bridesmaid dresses I had worn for weddings, and for Carnival, I remember dressing as Harlequin, as a detective like Sherlock Holmes,  or as a “Sans Culottes” revolutionary with Phrygian cap in ’89 for the French Revolution celebrations.

I see in the statistics I just lost the ones below 25  years old and non-French readers, but stay with us … this topic may concern your siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, neighbors’ son or girl !

What can we do ? We have to set  realistic expectations. Thinking that you can ask your daughter to remove her beautiful princess gown and dress up as American football player is like living in cloud-cuckoo land… especially if that’s the Frozen’s gown!

  •  Why not a physician costume? For girls (Not nurse, thanks!), and boys as you always need someone to take care of the injured witches who fall into the traps…
  • We can also think about careers that can make any child dream as an astronaut, fireman, magician or lion tamer.
The little blue monster costume… It’s cute but it is unlikely that your child accepts it if she/he is in elementary school…
  • Animals. Rather for kids under 6 years old, older children seem to consider such costume shamefull… You just need to make sure that you avoid the stereotyped “cute animal for girls” vs “ferocious animal for boys”




  • The costumes can also be mixed: A princess with a superhero mask or a sword (or a frying pan for Rapunzel), a super hero costume with a crown, or a pirate with a tutu (I know a little boy who is very proud of his princess – pirate costume).

    At Nadia’s home, there are stereotyped costumes, but there is more than that … The advantage of opposite-sex siblings is that they can easily mix costumes. Each of them alone will choose costumes or accessories typical of his/her own sex. However once they are together, they share and begin to want the same thing as the other one … Thus, by dint of seeing her brother as a  superhero, the girl wants to have her own super heroine costume; and conversely the boy would want a sparkling crown and a scepter or fairy wings.
  • And superheroes? Yes ! Because this type of costume makes you feel strong and powerful, it should not be reserved for boys. The girls can have it too! As a bonus, kids can become fans of Spider-man or Star War characters, even if they have never seen the movies although I can not explain why this is…

So for badass super-heroines, we have :

Scarlett Johansson is Black Widow, a super badass heroine.
  • Rey, the heroine of Star Wars VII from Disney
  • Black Widow, Marvel heroine, also Disney
  • On the website , I found a Bat-Girl Hello Kitty costume and a Hello Kitty / Wonder Woman. These combinations seem a bit strange, but they can be a start for a little girl reluctant to wear other things beside pretty princesses dresses … But if the pink kitten is “NO WAY” for you there are other Bat-Girl or Wonder Woman costumes for children on Amazon.

A short notee:  this post is not sponsored, the costumes presented here are just the result of my research on the internet.

Finally, I have less than one year to collect all kinds of costumes and accessories  to offer a real choice to my children, especially as my younger daughter will be in Pre-Kindergarten next year.

If you have ideas, please leave them in the comments! And also, what kind of costumes did you have as a child before the burst of heavily marketed l licenses like Disney or Marvel?


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