Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are Wings Only for Girls?

Now that I'm raising a son and daughter, I've become more aware of the gender norms that society imposes on children. But here's one that took me by surprise.

Alice has a Pegasus puppet with pink wings. One of the neighborhood kids (a nearly 4-year-old girl) was over at our house and mentioned how the horse was obviously female.

"Because it's pink," I said.

"No, because it has wings."

"Wings are for girls?"


Apparently wings are in and of themselves a feminine trait. I suppose this is because most fairies depicted in books, television and movies are girls. (Disney in particular is a perpetrator of male-fairy discrimination.)

At what point did men lose the ability to rock a pair of wings without feeling like a chick?

I mean, Pegasus was a dude. Batman also has wings (I wish I had thought of this when conversing with the 4-year-old). And avenging angels are pretty manly.

Maybe it's not too late for men to reclaim the rights to wear wings. But we'll need to start convincing the younger generation.