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Cosmo, comics, and body image

Updated on June 20, 2017

Cosmo, comics, and body image

We went to Visioncon over the weekend. It’s your standard comic book/sci fi convention. Lots of guests, local authors, vendors, and cosplayers. Cosplay is dressing up in costume as a character.

We saw plenty of Dr. Who, an 8 foot Chewbaca, Black Widow, steam punk, and one very cute Spiderman girl. There was also a girl about Hayhay’s and the Bunny’s ages wearing a star wars storm troopers uniform shirt and a bottle of glitter. The bunny went as Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory. Hayhay went as Princess Luna from My Little Pony. It was these girls that made me think about confidence, body image, and being a geek and gamer girl.

There’s a lot of talk about fashion magazines and television, adding to poor body image in girls. I get it, I do. Having done the modeling thing when I was younger, I know how unrealistic the expectations are. You’re expected to be 5’10”, 115 pounds, and have 38 DD breasts. Yeah, not healthy at all.

But that’s what society says you’re supposed to be and look like if you’re a girl. And the covers of those magazines tell you exactly what you’re supposed to concerned about. How to keep a man, how to look sexy for your man, how to get a man, what moves turn your man on, what you do that turns your man off, well, you get the point.

So what if you’re not that girl. What if doing your nails, what Bieber is doing, or how you should wear your hair to get him to propose really isn’t your thing. You’re more the video games and comic books kind of gal. You’ve always been described as a tomboy, one of the boys. And even though you’re not about prom dresses you do look for someone you can relate to in your world.

Good luck with that. Have you walked into a comic book store or video game shop lately? I’m all about strong, powerful women, but does their power have to be stored in their breasts? I think the real power is the strength of the spandex in their costumes not to pop off and blind someone or the heels they run and kick butt in.

It’s hard as a geek and a gamer mom trying to navigate the body image road. I love Wonder Woman and Jean Gray, Buffy and Lara Croft. But for my two girls they have a difficult time seeing themselves in those roles. Even the most popular and strongest of the female superheroes are ridiculously proportioned and drawn in some of the most ridiculous poses I have only seen in posters of strip clubs.

How do I explain that you can be powerful and strong and useful and not just be eye candy? How do I explain that you are beautiful without your blogs coming around the corner before you do? The answer is quite simple. Make it your own.

The Bunny chose to wear a long sleeved shirt with her Thor T shirt over it. Hayhay wore leggings, a future and a black sequined shirt. Both were representing characters without actually dressing as those characters. The little Spiderman girl had a blue tutu over the costume. The little storm trooper shirt girl said the glitter was so she could make it all hers.

These girls did an amazing job showing up as themselves, even though they were wearing costumes. In an environment where so many adults were trying to be someone else, these girls were nothing but themselves. I was proud of my daughters. I still am. It’s not easy to stand out when everything and everyone is telling you to be the same as everyone else.

If you have daughters, girly girls or tomboys, let them be themselves. Let them imagine; let them pretend. The answer to my questions was really in front of me all the time. Despite my worry, I’m raising strong girls with the courage to be amazing. They’re a lot smarter than society and I give them credit for. And I admit that.

Trust your kids to teach you a lesson every now and then. You’d be surprised what you can learn.

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