In Search of Wonder WomanAugust 05, 2013
I recognize that I’m too old to ask for a birthday cake topper. Yet, a week before my birthday I felt confident and super strong. I had just celebrated my one-year anniversary working for AAUW, and I was proud of what I had achieved.
I was spending my birthday in my California hometown for the first time in years, and my mom offered to buy me a birthday cake. I asked if she could keep an eye out for a Wonder Woman cake topper. My mom searched every store she visited during the course of a week with no luck. My sister and I looked at a few stores while we were out but could only find pink, feathery crowns. On the day of my birthday, my husband slipped out of the house early in search of a cake topper. After visiting several stores, he came back with a Wonder Woman cup.
The cake was delicious — even without a topper — and my number one priority was to be surrounded by my family. A topper didn’t take away from me being my own kind of superheroine this past year. However, the whole situation made me think about what it must be like for parents of young girls who also want a Wonder Woman birthday party. In our search, we couldn’t help but notice the high availability of so many male superhero products. The option for young girls? Don’t be a superheroine; be a princess.
Where are the superheroines? How many recent movies have focused on the stories of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and other male superheroes? Actresses are left with smaller roles that revolve around the male lead(s). In the few times that women have been portrayed as heroes, they are often oversexualized. I don’t think that I’m asking for much when I ask for more strong female leads in this overabundance of superhero movies.
Until we see greater representation of superheroines, young women and girls will be out of luck finding something in stores or on screen. In the meantime, we need to show girls how they can be their own superheroes.