It’s that time again: Fall. October. And most importantly, Halloween! This year, I found myself reflecting on my costume preferences throughout the years – going way back to when I was just a tiny thing, running around and kicking shins.
There was a theme to my costumes. I’ll list them, and you guess what that theme might be…
- Ninja Turtle (Preferably Michelangelo, but I’d take whatever was left at the store…)
- The Karate Kid
- A regular ninja
- Baseball player
- A crest toothpaste tube
Okay, admittedly that last one was an obvious budget costume on the part of my parents, who must have gotten it as a freebie from the dentist.
Did you guess the theme?
They were all boy costumes. And, if you hadn’t noticed yet, let’s remove all doubt – I’m actually a girl.
All my life, anytime I’ve dressed up – be it for a school production or project , or Halloween – I have always been drawn to emulate a male figure. I never gave this much thought – that’s just where my interests were. After all, boys seemed to get all the COOL stuff – all the super powers and crime fighting. Not to mention their costumes were way more comfortable, and, well, modest. Miniskirts, or, you know, basically just underwear, have never been my thing – looking at you, Wonder Woman.
The fact that girls need cooler role-models with more comfortable outfits is another post altogether, but you get the idea (Thank you Ron Moore for making Starbuck a chick – it’s the one Cosplay I don’t have to gender bend).
Anyhow, luckily for me, my parents did not object or tell me what I wanted was wrong for my gender. They even let me sport a little boy’s haircut for a long time – resulting in much confusion regarding public bathrooms and general pronoun usage.
It wasn’t my folks so much as other people who eventually made me realize I wasn’t doing the normal thing. And so while I never acquiesced to dresses or dressing up in ‘girl’ costumes, I did decide to grow my hair out and make more of an effort to be ‘normal’.
[We interrupt this post for a very important Public Service Announcement: Please generally refrain from making unsolicited comments on kid’s costume preferences or appearances. Especially including, but not limited to, “There is no such thing as spider-girl.” or “Little boys shouldn’t want to be princesses.” You could be kicking off a complex that may later require therapy.]
Normal turned out to be terrible. I wasn’t happy – not truly happy – with myself. What was so bad about wanting to be a Ninja Turtle, or Han Solo?
I realize now – absolutely nothing! And while we’ve seem to have made HUGE strides in gender equality, we still have a long way to go when it comes to general perception and the way we reinforce gender roles. Recently I was at Target and was pretty miffed that I had to walk all the way to the boy’s section to find literally all of the Star Wars toys. God forbid something not-pink find its way into the ‘girls’ section. Don’t even get me started on the nerdy clothing options!
I digress. My whole point here is that gender-bending Halloween costumes should be 100% acceptable for kids (and adults – hell those are some of the most fun costumes at Con). The most important thing we could possibly teach the youth of today is that it’s OKAY TO BE YOU. We could skip so much soul-searching later and life. And probably avoid a lot of divorces and other crisis’s due to someone realizing who they really are is not who they pretended to be in order to be appealing to some group of people that actually don’t matter.
Those closest to me understand what a huge lady and brain crush I have on Felicia Day. In her recent book, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” really drives the whole ‘be who you are and do what makes you happy’ message home. I think that book is so relatable – to nerds in general (let’s be real) – because we’ve all been through phases in our lives where we do not pursue our passions because it’s not generally valued by the majority.
The people who do break through and embrace their ‘weird’, so to speak, tend to be the ones who go on to do great, incredible things.
And THAT is why it’s so important to let kids be themselves – everyday, but especially on Halloween when they’re allowed to project what they really want to be when they grow up. Screw firefighting – I want to be Batman!
Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. You can visit her website at www.somenerdgirl.com and look up her works of fiction on Amazon.