Guest Post: It’s Either Princess, Trainee Stripper, or ‘Boy’ Clothing for Little Girls

AJ Roberts is a fellow dad who’s frustrated about the limited options retailers offer for his soon to be born daughter. Unlike me, he’s also been a father for over two decades and has no interest in geek culture. This is a nice reminder (for me at least) that seeking greater retail choices for our girls isn’t all about superhero capes and lightsabers.

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I’m about to start my second go at a family 21 years after I first did it and later this year my partner and I will have a daughter. When my first daughter was born 17 years ago I was practically a child myself and missed so much of it due to trying to build a career.

Back then I let my (now ex-) wife do all the girly mum and daughter stuff and while she was never a full blown princess fantasist, our daughter still fell into lots of stereotypes over how she was dressed, the toys she had, and the activities she did. Thankfully, genetics kicked in and she railed against being forced to go to ballet and being given pink stuff for her birthday whilst her brother got to play drums and got robots for his. Mercifully, other than the One Direction fixation and a brief flirtation with wanting to be a hairdresser, she has become pretty badass and a strong modern young woman.

Anyway, like so many people in my situation I have vowed not to miss out on so much this time round. I didn’t want to hand over all the pre-birth goodie buying to my partner or let her mother dictate anything. I wanted to be involved in buying clothes and early toys and decorating and all those things new parents do. And when my partner returns to work I will be gleefully taking on the role of a stay at home dad (well, at least part time anyway).

Welcome to the pink aisle

Holy crap, is it possible to buy anything for a baby daughter that isn’t pink and frilly? It turns out that I can only find solace in the section of the shop that they send people to that don’t know the gender of their child yet, so that they can buy white stuff for their infant until they have the chance to return to the retail apartheid regime and buy either blue or pink items after the poor kid is born. I then glance around the rest of the shop… it gets worse.

Apparently the clothes my daughter can look forward to wearing in the first 6 years of her life will be limited to either princess or trainee stripper wear. Our only alternative seems to be giving up and going to the boys section, which would seem to defeat the whole point of being pissed off with the current status quo. I bought a pair of black baby leggings the other day with little cow skulls on them (the sort of skulls you’d see on a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt) and was seriously affronted, although not surprised, when asked if they were for my son or was I buying them as a gift.

Girls love pink

I’ve questioned this to a number of people and I keep getting told “that’s what little girls like”. But how on earth can “little girls” give an opinion when their only choices are nylon Frozen dresses and pink Barbie cars?

Now, I’m not a “geek” – in either the original sense of the term, nor it’s more self-deprecating modern version. While I do love Star Wars, I do so because it is an awesome western set in space rather than a sci-fi film. I have little interest in comics other than old copies of the Beano, I haven’t had a favourite superhero since I was ten (a tie between Hulk and Superman). I have absolutely zero interest in Dr Who, and find no humour in The Big Bang Theory. So this is not a case of me looking to justify dressing his daughter up as Batman, but a dad that is wanting their daughter to have more options than being a princess.

Of course I want her to have things in common with me and would love her to be into art, music, literature or (dare I dream…) cricket. But I want her to at least be given that choice.

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Please follow AJ on Twitter (@ajrobertswriter), and Facebook. His first novel, 42 Days is out soon.

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Wonder Woman’s Movie Outfit – Latest Images

While a gloomy image of Gal Gadot in her actual movie costume was posted last year, the colours were so muted it was difficult to have an idea of what it might actually look like in the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (although this being Zack Snyder, that might be exactly how it looks!).

Some images of promo/production artwork have been surfacing in recent weeks (thanks to Latino Review’s “El Mayimbe,” aka Umberto Gonzalez), that give us an idea how the outfit might look if not almost totally desaturated of colour and presented in sepia.

What do you think?


 

 

 

 

I’m still worried this Wonder Woman outfit could come across like a ‘sexy’ Halloween costume instead of a super-warrior’s garb.
 
Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, Batman v Superman, Wonder woman Halloween, Fancy dress, dress up, Wonder woman movie,

 
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (where Gal Gadot makes her debut as Wonder Woman) will be released in 2016.

‘Black Angel’, the Film That WASN’T The Empire Strikes Back

This short film – which has just been uploaded to You Tube – represents one of the most traumatic experiences of my childhood (up there with the time I was run over by a lorry).

Picture this. It’s 1980. You’re 9 years old. You’ve been Star Wars obsessed since 1977 when the original film came out. They’ve made a sequel after a long wait (3 years was an eternity at that age), and you are delirious with excitement. Your older brother takes you to to the cinema to see it. After the endless trailers and Pearl & Dean adverts, the lights finally dim, the curtains open, and at last the film begins. Only… hang on, this isn’t the Empire Strikes Back. What the hell is this? Black Angel?!

I turn to my brother and say something akin to “wtf?”, he answers: “Oh no. We’re in the wrong cinema.”

Me: “Then let’s go to the right cinema! The one showing The Empire Strikes Back!”

Him: “We can’t, it’s already started. We’ve missed the beginning.”

Me: “I don’t care. I want to see it!”

Him: “Don’t worry, we’ll go an see it another day. Let’s watch this instead.”

I’m sure this back-and-forth continued, but as it did I started crying, and I continued crying. A lot. Instead of The Empire Strikes Back, I was watching whatever the hell this dark, low budget, ponderous, weird British medieval drama was.

I sat there and watched it all, sobbing away at how unfair this all was, lamenting that next door there was a cinema full of people watching The Empire Strikes Back – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK! – while I wasn’t.

After Black Angel ended, we didn’t leave the cinema. My brother said let’s wait. So we did. AND THEN, the lights went down again, the curtain opened, and… well, it may have been a dark time for the rebellion, but it was a moment of utter joy for me.

So Black Angel was simply a film (which in memory was a whole feature, but I now discover was only 25 mins) shown before the main feature, something they used to think was a good idea. It was was only shown with The Empire Strikes Back in the UK, and perhaps Australia and New Zealand.

It may have been only 25 mins, but my brother let me cry all the way through Black Angel just to fuck with me.

And I’ve never forgotten it…

(Thanks for taking me though.)

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When You Grow Up, I Want You To Be a Voter

6997132774_8fa975c208_oThis morning I walked my daughter to her nursery as I normally do on Thursdays, but we took a bit of a diversion. In fact we walked in the opposite direction. I wanted her to come with me as I voted.

She’s 3, and she usually picks up far more than I imagine she can, so I tend to talk to her about everything. I explained why we vote, talked through the process of voting as I did it, from picking up my ballot paper, marking it, and posting them (district and borough councils too) in to the appropriate boxes.

‘When You Grow Up, I Want You To Be a Voter’

You see, there are many things I want my daughter to be when she grows up – happy, confident, strong, passionate, free. But this morning, more than ever, I also want her to be a voter.

I despair when I read of people who can’t be bothered to vote. If you don’t vote and feel that politicians don’t care about you and your needs, you’re the reason why. Elected politicians are self interested in this way. They have to be. Their existence as MPs or councillors depends on getting more votes than the competition. If you don’t vote, why should they be interested in your needs? They don’t need to woo you  to vote for them. Far better to focus on the wishes of those who do, such as pensioners, and racists.

Here are some common reasons not to vote, and why they are no good reason at all:

What I believe isn’t represented:

Then spoil your ballot paper. In fact this goes for all the points below. Seriously, that means something. It demonstrates that you are someone who will vote if engaged with. All votes are counted, recorded and announced for each constituency – and that includes all spoiled ballot papers. If the 34% of registered voters who don’t vote, all bothered to go to a polling station and spoil their papers, it would be announcing to the political class that there are 16 million people just itching to vote for someone. All they need is to be listened to.

My vote won’t make a difference:

Yes it does. Even if you’re in a safe seat, and you’re not someone who supports the incumbent party, your vote adds to the statistics. The reason why Green issues have become something mainstream parties take onboard is because of the large amount of people who have voted for the Green Party in recent elections.

Parties/Candidates are all the same:

They’re not. If you believe that, then you have not taken the short amount of time needed to differentiate them.

I’m just not interested in politics:

You’re living in complete denial. Politics effects everything you do, from what you watch on TV to how much you pay for your weekly shop. You can march, campaign, use as many hashtags as you want. Real change eventually requires politicians to legislate.

As this is a parenting blog, I’ll round up with this. If you’re a stay at home parent and want more tax breaks, parental leave equality, etc., only elected politicians can change this. If you can’t buy your first family home, only elected politicians create and control the legislation that can enable this. If you want the best education possible for your child, only elected politicians can achieve this.

Voting is about engaging with something bigger than you, being part of something that affects the lives of not just you, but your family, friends, colleagues, and all the people you don’t know yet, and those you never will. Your vote matters to them. Not voting isn’t just lazy, it’s selfish.

These politicians elected today will shape the future your child will live in. The voting patterns recorded today will shape the political conversation from tomorrow onwards. Basically, if you give a shit about your child’s future, you will vote today – whether it’s for the party/candidate of your choice, or the one who will keep out the one you don’t want, or if it’s simply to spoil the paper. Your apathy is self-centered and unacceptable.

So please, go out and vote.

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Are you someone who doesn’t vote? I’d genuinely love to know why, especially after reading this post, as I do not understand. Please comment below, on Facebook, or Twitter

Supergirl Gets CBS Series

I really hope this is a good show, and that it’s a hit so it can undermine the notion that there isn’t an audience for film & TV with female superheroes.

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TIME

It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane. It’s Superman. No wait, it’s Supergirl! And she’s officially landing a series order at CBS.

The new series stars Glee alum Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El, who escaped Krypton amid its destruction years ago. Since arriving on Earth, she’s been hiding the powers she shares with her famous cousin. But now at age 24, she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.

Supergirl hails from Arrow and Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti and The New Normal’s Ali Adler, who will write and executive-produce with Arrow and Flash boss Andrew Kreisberg and Sarah Schechter.

The drama is one of CBS’s relatively new efforts to venture outside of its standard crime procedural comfort zone. The network is diving into the super-hero genre, which has made such a strong impact in both movies and—over the last…

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Vanity Fair Photos

Star Wars, The Force Awakens, Vanity Fair, Star Wars The Force Awakens Vanity Fair photos,
Next-generation bad guy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) commands snowtroopers loyal to the evil First Order on the frozen plains of their secret base. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
A small galaxy’s worth of tracking dots affixed to Lupita Nyong’o’s face allowed artists at Industrial Light & Magic to transform her into the C.G.I. character Maz Kanata. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
Galactic travelers, smugglers, and other assorted riffraff fill the main hall of pirate Maz Kanata’s castle. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
Dashing Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) stands alongside his trusty X-wing fighter. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.

J. J. Abrams directs Actress Daisy Ridley for a scene in which her character, the young heroine Rey, pilots her speeder through a bustling marketplace on the planet Jakku. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
Members of the brain trust behind The Force Awakens: composer John Williams, producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, and director and co-writer Abrams, photographed at Bad Robot, Abrams’s production company, in Santa Monica. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.

Joss Whedon Just Quit Twitter

A) I really enjoyed Age of Ultron; b) The Black Widow was kick-ass in it; c) Joss Whedon is the best thing to happen to comic book movies.

TIME

Joss Whedon and Twitter have broken up. The conscious uncoupling happened at some point on Monday, following the $191.3 million opening weekend of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which collected the second-highest grossing three-day debut in history. (After only the $207 million opening of Whedon’s original Avengers in 2012.)

Whedon’s departure did create a wave of speculation on Twitter that he closed his account because of “death threats.” A search of tweets directed at him over the past week definitely turned up some deep ugliness, with some of the abusive users urging him to “die” or “commit suicide” over plot points they didn’t like in Age of Ultron. Although these comments are clearly disturbing, there was no unifying complaint or groundswell of attack beyond just the random (but all-too-typical) viciousness of anonymous social media trolls.

The most abusive bullying came from viewers who objected to Black Widow’s tentative…

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