After all the hoo-ha this past week about Miley Cyrus (I don’t care what she wore/did but my Facebook feed was covered in posts about her, and I refuse to link to anything related to her), after talks at my college about the clothes the girls are wearing (this conversation is as old as linen, and again, I don’t see the need to dwell on it), after reading the awesome article about being a woman by Luna Luna leader Lisa Marie Basile (which is here), a final straw was laid on my mind that has me going.
A writer friend who turns old books into purses at Rokki Fashion Handbags, posted this on Facebook:
I reposted it, and had the following conversation (this is just the beginning of it):
Now, I’m all for women being comfortable being whomever they want to be, sexy, modest, shy, loud, whatever. If a woman feels good in short shorts, cool. If she likes stiletto heels, awesome. However, I have issues with little girls being given two options: princess or sexy.
I Googled “tween costumes” and this is what shows up on an image search.
I don’t know about you, but my mom wouldn’t have let me wear any of these when I was 10-17 years old. Maybe the ones with opaque leggings as long as the skirt was only a few inches above my knee. Also, I grew up in Arizona, where it’s hot enough at Halloween to go out half-dressed, but most of the country is either chilly or nearly in the throes of winter. A miniskirt isn’t going to hack it when a cold wind is blowing.
Little girls get longer skirts, like this search for children’s witch costumes:
But is it just me, or don’t those look like variations on princess dresses? Where’s the ugly, mean witch who’s covered in dust and webs?
So what is a cool girl who wants to be kick-ass, different, has no princess vibe, and isn’t into witches, fairies, ladybugs and angels to do? Give up? Go with the 1970s vibe and be a clown? Go as a zombie again?!
NO! Here at It Isn’t Dead Yet, we know that girls can be modest, kick-ass, cool, and not need to be all girly. “But wait,” you want to say, “aren’t all the female kick-ass, cool characters way too sexy for kids? I mean, I’ve seen the ‘new’ Wonder Woman, and hell no, I am NOT letting my daughter dress like that.”
Here’s my proposal. Take your daughter on a tour of vintage comic book heroines. Wonder Woman, Super Girl, Bat Girl, and Miss Masque all were more modest than their modern versions.
A leotard, a cape, skirt (with the length of your choosing), and opaque tights, some fabric paint, and your little girl can be a super hero too. Let her draw the logo to paint onto the chest or photocopy something and trace it on. Cover the skirt in stars, lightning bolts, or skulls. Skirts are also the easiest things in the world to sew, and you can get instructions on many blogs, like Dana Made It, or Etsy which has a blog entry on making a skirt in an hour.
If you think the Wonder Woman corset is too much, use a leotard and paint on or lay-over a corset.
Remember that if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can hand sew the one seam and waistband (no one will see it), leave the hem unfinished as long as you use pinking shears to cut it. Pinking shears are way cheaper than a sewing machine.
Plus, if you and your daughter do some reading, she’ll find these heroes often had the same powers as their male counterparts. They weren’t sub-heroes at all.
I’m writing about Halloween costumes now because, as any crafter knows, a good idea takes time to make. There’s a reason why all the hobby stores start putting out Halloween stuff in July and Christmas stuff, well, now. People start getting their ideas, the supplies early, and get started sewing, painting, and fixing. Don’t wait until the last minute and buying some cheap, crappy plastic costume that your strong, crime-fighting daughter won’t want to wear. Fight on girls!
Kristin’s life is like a small Victorian boarding house of familiar guests. Some may only visit occasionally; some never leave, and all are welcome.