Raising A Fangirl In A Fanboy World
When my daughter was small, Iâ€™d dress her in camouflage cargo shorts and tank tops. Then, sheâ€™d walk around in a tutu, waving her fairy wand. When she wanted a baby doll, she insisted it was the boy Baby Alive with its anatomically correct infant penis. She would play with her miniature Disney princess figures endlessly. Sheâ€™s made friends with both boys and girls; opting to have co-ed birthday parties far past when the other kids seem to have given them up. Now, she cuts and sews her own fashion creations and then wears basketball shorts and t-shirts. She skateboards along our porch and beelines it to the heels when weâ€™re near a shoe department. But the thing is, for how much sheâ€™s liked and all the things she likes, my daughter is practically invisible as a girl. Why? Because sheâ€™s a fangirl living in a fanboy world.
Hereâ€™s what I mean: When we walk into a store, like we recently did to shop for clothing, my daughterâ€™s t-shirt options were a Grumpy Cat v-neck and a soft cotton pastel tee with, â€œNot everyone whoâ€™s lost needs to be foundâ€ curly-cued across the front. My own fangirl heart just about shriveled up and died; and Iâ€™m not even going to mention the sizes of these shirts because thatâ€™s for a different day. Â Then, like weâ€™ve been doing since she was little, my daughter and I made our way to the boys section where, of course, the pop culture gods reigned down and made it glisten with the coolest t-shirts, ever.
There was nothing â€œdeepâ€ in this section. The store got right to the point: superheroes, a vintage Nintendo game controller, Minecraft, Harry Potter, Masters of the Universe, minions, Jurassic Park. Basically, if you loved a movie or TV show released within the past twenty-five to thirty years, it had a t-shirt in the boys section.
I was pissed. Iâ€™ve been battling this conundrum for more than a decade with my daughter. I donâ€™t mean girls t-shirts that say inappropriate and stupid things like â€œMath is hard.â€ What I mean is an acknowledgement that girls like t-shirts beyond floral prints and cats. Yes, we have two cats, and my daughter sleeps next to one every night, but câ€™mon! Sheâ€™s a cool girl, reward her. Let her walk into a store and not make her feel like thereâ€™s something wrong with her because she has to, in a way, be a gender traitor. Boys donâ€™t corner the market on liking cool shit, but youâ€™d never know that if you werenâ€™t a fangirl yourself. Â And, as any fan knows, you wear your fandom front-and-center; thatâ€™s why this is a big deal.