primary school / hidden curriculum

(37 Posts)
madwomanacrosstheroad Wed 27-Feb-13 12:52:09

My daughter is seven and has just brought a note home that they are all to dress up as a super heroe in a couple of days. I have vague memories of wonder woman years or rather decades ago. There is cat woman (more sex symbol than super heroe) ... but as far as i remember thats about it. I have tried to convince her that pippi longstocking falls into the category but she is not having it. She has not been at the school long, before that i had after long discussions about the hidden curriculum with my dh insisted on single sex schools for the girls.
I am getting the impression that things are moving backward. Do i really have to send her into school dressed as a male superheroe and give her the message that women are just not good enough? I am absolutely furious.
Has anyone any ideas?

msrisotto Wed 27-Feb-13 12:53:17

Is She Ra even around any more?

msrisotto Wed 27-Feb-13 12:53:29

Power puff girls?

What does your daughter want to do? Can she think of any super-heroes (male or female) that she would like to dress up as?

madwomanacrosstheroad Wed 27-Feb-13 13:01:59

Yes but none of them have been round recently. So dd will not recognize them as super heroes. Just remembered supergirl, but again she is thrre in relation to a male and pretty old.

wonkylegs Wed 27-Feb-13 13:03:04

There are female superheroes
Your daughter might not be as familiar with them but what about the Incredibles - Elastigirl & her daughter Violet.
Or check out here
www.superherodb.com/characters.php?gender=female

madwomanacrosstheroad Wed 27-Feb-13 13:03:28

She looked at me and said her and her friends will probably just go in in their school uniform. I am pissed off that they cant think about something a bit more inclusive.

ChunkyPickle Wed 27-Feb-13 13:06:51

There's a fair few female X-Men, or the invisible girl in the fantastic 4 which were recent films/cartoons

The iconic ones do tend to be male though, with the females there for looking at and being rescued..

whistleahappytune Wed 27-Feb-13 13:08:09

Xena Warrior Princess
Buffy Vampire Slayer

Incredible role models. I only wish I'd grown up with them, rather than watched as an adult.

However, I'm not sure you need to worry about the dearth of female superheroes. Girls just co-opt the hero they love and I'm not sure that they actually "read" it as gendered (if you know what I mean). Growing up, for me it was Robin Hood or D'artagnan (anything with a sword - please no penis envy jokes). It never occurred to me that these characters were off-limits because they were male, and it never occurred to me to want to play Maid Marion (boring!).

Littlefish Wed 27-Feb-13 13:08:33

Make up your own superhero. Is there anything in the letter from school that says it has to be a published/televised one?

piprabbit Wed 27-Feb-13 13:16:43

Ask to imagine what pwers she would have if she was a superhero. What would be her superhero name? Can she design a costume which you could help her to make in RL that she could wear on the day.

I think it would be fab if your DD rolled into school saying "I am Madam Mumsnet - behold my awesome pants of judgement" (or whatever she comes up with).

Bue Wed 27-Feb-13 13:21:04

Extensive list here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_superheroines

Must admit this is not a theme that would have remotely interested me as a girl, but there isn't really a dearth of female options if you look for them. I can't think of many obvious male ones either! (And if she wants to go as one of the standard male ones surely that's fine?)

TerrariaMum Wed 27-Feb-13 16:01:53

There is actually a new superhero comic featuring a female protagonist and it is free online. here though I think it is more for you than your primary school DD.

domesticslattern Wed 27-Feb-13 16:11:46

They had this at my DD's school. I was a bit hmm too TBH.
Girls went as:
cats
wonderwoman
spider girl (web painted on cheek)
costumes of male super heros borrowed off brothers
random made-up super hero with cape round neck (my DD) as suddenly realised needed to dress up 15 minutes before school started. (oops)
A fair few to be honest just wore random dressing up outfits like princesses etc.

madwomanacrosstheroad Wed 27-Feb-13 18:00:27

Have since got to the bottom of this. Appaerantly the charity sustrans had developed a superhero challenge round the time of the olympics. They are planning to roll that out over the coming months. The school are involved in the bike to school programme and decided to do this dressing up day as a fund riser. The idea isgood and could be developed into something great with the kids. In reality they got a not home on the tuesday afternoon to dress up as their favourite super hero the following thursday (just over 36 hrs notice). This is not enough time to properly develop os create her own super power or hero figure or get her properly interested in a female super heroe. We were at her friends earlier to borrow spiderman outfit but she then refused to take it. In her mind she is quite fixated on the usual commercial famous super heroes. It seems according to her and some other mums that a good few girls have decided not to dress up at all. It seems that a potentially good idea has been just thrown in there at the last minute. I will however make sure we look at female superheroes and at what her favourite superpowers would be because i am sure the issue will come round again. She has the option to dress up or not but is quite adamant she does not want to.

FrameyMcFrame Wed 27-Feb-13 21:16:58

I think you should write to the school saying what you have just said in that post. It's good for them to get feedback from parents.

Trekkie Wed 27-Feb-13 21:19:47

DD1 has a supergirl outfit

The film was donkeys years ago but all children are familiar enough with the red white n blue and S symbol to get it

Female superhero = nightmare if you put it in amazon 90% of the costumes are "sexy" and the rest are just crap.

DD2 is teenage mutant ninja turtle which is happily a unisex outfit grin although I guess the turtles were all actually male

Trekkie Wed 27-Feb-13 21:22:00

What about princess leia? She could wield a light sabre no probs.

Costume not v difficult and star wars big amongst primary schoolers this age IME

UniS Wed 27-Feb-13 21:26:52

Superheros
It's all about the cape.
Get cape, wear cape , ride bike very fast, feel like your flying.

madwomanacrosstheroad Wed 27-Feb-13 21:50:28

Was speaking to school earlier, thats how i found out what was happening. Got the feeling i was not the only one unimpressed. Discussed with another mother that it seems some of the girls have decided amongst themselves that they dont want to take part which i feel is fair enough.
I did suggest to the school they might want to do a dressing up day round a ballet theme next - surely there are many fantastic ballet roles for males.......
Teacher did agree that there sometimes seems to be a bit of a focus on the needs of keeping the boys on board...

LynetteScavo Wed 27-Feb-13 22:04:13

DD would love this. She would be thrilled to dress up as superman/spiderman/batman - the fact that they are all men doesn't bother her at all.

Now way would she go dressed as a ballet dancer! grin

Personally I would dress as Lava Girl smile

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 27-Feb-13 22:20:49

Dd loves superheroes - her current craze is Young Justice League. She likes to visit specialist comic shops. I'm sure there are loads if female superheroes in young justice.

exoticfruits Wed 27-Feb-13 22:22:48

I would just ask DD what she wants to go as-I'm sure she has ideas.

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:28:10

The Incredibles have 2 female super heroes. X-Men has a number of them. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Showing my age, She-ra. Thundercats has a female cat hero. Xena, the Warrior Princess. Supergirl - 1980s though grin. Cat woman. Wonder Woman (my fav).

There are loads of female superheroes. Check out wiki.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_superheroines#section_2

Not sure how to make links on my phone.

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:29:22

Lisa Simpson as Clobber Girl.

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:31:36

Matilda from the Roald Dahl story - the eyes!!! grin

Sadly most female superheroes wear costumes I wouldn't feel comfortable seeing my DDs dressed up in. Apparently you can't be a superhero without skin-tight lycra.

Though to be fair, many male superhero costumes are the same...

Primary schools are under a huge amount of pressure to focus on the needs of boys, motivating boys, improving boys' performance ... It's all about statistics and SAT's levels.

Girls tend to achieve at a higher level academically at this age - huge generalisation, I know - and can therefore safely be ignored.

I have a daughter and am sad that her need to see herself as an independent, powerful and intrinsically interesting person are no-one's priority. She will be partnered with the boys with challenging behaviour and encouraged to volunteer to tidy the book case and wash the paint pots.

TiffIsKool Wed 27-Feb-13 22:55:56

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson's character in Avengers)

Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba Fantastic Four)

Cat Woman (Anne Hathaway Batman)

Storm (Halle Berry X Men)

OP - You are seeing a feminism issue when there isn't one.

madwomanacrosstheroad Wed 27-Feb-13 22:56:34

I did ask her and she is the one who did feel most superheroes were male or male orientated (she used different terms). Sheis going through a very pink and frilly phase at the moment at which i may cringe but i will not give her the message that what she regards as "female" is in any way less desirable than things seen as traditionally male or unisex. We are introducing less conformist role models (at the moment pippi longstocking is a big hit) and we focus on the suffragettes in mary poppins. There are female superheroes and i have found out today that there are many more than i was aware of. However they are not on the everyday radar of most seven year olds in the sane way as your standard batman, superman and spiderman. It is an area we could work on if we wanted. However the dressing up day is tomorrow with very little notice and the majority of the boys seem to have at least one outfit at home that is instantly recognisable. I am actually quite proud of the girls who decided before the notes went home that they were just going to go in in their school uniforms. It is a way of showing opposition. I was initially trying to cobble a costume together or send her in in my friends sons spiderman costume.

sashh Thu 28-Feb-13 02:32:33

Go in uniform with a sign, "I'm super, I don't need to dress up to be a hero".

grin

Sausageeggbacon Thu 28-Feb-13 09:36:33

Ms Marvel from the cartoon version of the Avengers (an Avenger mad son) she was powerful enough to knock Iron Man around.

Sausageeggbacon Thu 28-Feb-13 12:40:28

Mad you may be interest in this piece

madwomanacrosstheroad Thu 28-Feb-13 12:54:41

When i left her to school this morning (wewere early so i only saw a few kids before leaving her to breakfast club), it seemed only boys were dressed up. All the girls i saw were in school uniform!

UniS Fri 01-Mar-13 19:44:25

OP - You would like my DS- he wants to go to school dressed as the female spy dog LARA. Thankfully I have nearly a weeks notice.

Mandytm Fri 01-Mar-13 20:08:47

What about Princess Merida from the film Brave?

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