Things to Read (for Kids) - Marvel's Squirrel Girl
Lately the girls (especially P) have read a lot of Marvel comic books. While they love the action, the girls both complain that the female superheroes are somewhat lacking. Or as P phrased it, "all Marvel comics are a little bit sexist."
So I was pretty excited after I read a Washington Post article on Marvel's newest creation - Squirrel Girl (yes, go ahead and laugh, but don't forget that Antman was one of last summer's biggest blockbusters).
So what makes Squirrel Girl different from other superheros? “Her first instinct is to beat someone up but she always ends up making friends with them. It’s: ‘Maybe we can talk. Can I help?’ She looks for empathy and compromise more than solving problems with her fists. This is kind of revolutionary in superhero comics. Look at Batman and Superman, punching each other all the time for no good reason. Squirrel Girl is inclined to have a conversation first.”
Further, unlike most female superheros, squirrel girl doesn't look like a supermodel or a Barbie doll. How cool is that?
So what did F and P think of "The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power"? It's complicated:
P - I like that she's a girl and that the story is good, but I find it annoying that she's both a girl and the only superhero who always tries to work out problems, while all the boys have battles and use their superpowers.
F - But that's what makes Squirrel Girl so cool, she doesn't care about fighting, she gets people to work together. To be better.
P - I know and I get that. But why is it always girls that have to make people work together? Why can't boys do that too? I'm sick of everyone saying how great girls are but then acting like all girls are capable of is being nice and making other people nice.
F - But that's what is so awesome about girls.
P - But that should be what's so awesome about everybody. if the girls are going to be nice so should the boys. I'd like to read a comic about a boy who solves problems without fighting and in the same book I'd like a girl who can fight. And win.
At this point I broke in to explain that this 3rd grade/4th grade debate summarizes a lot of key problems/issues for feminism (or at least in my mind it does). And that I have no answers.
But I'm so f**ing glad we're having the conversation. So kudos to Squirrel Girl, keep "kick[ing] butts and eat[ing] nuts." Hopefully a Squirrel Boy will join you soon.
[Random note - The photo above was totally unposed (though I was trying to take a photo of F reading Squirrel Girl), only when I downloaded it did I realize how crazy appropriate T's fighting superhero shirt was for this post. As I always say, "the best moments are the real moments".