Full disclosure. I am a white male and I have a three-year old son. My son is just starting to understand comic book superheroes. He can name a few of his favorite heroes, but he usually gets their powers confused with Darth Vader. More often than not, he likes to play the role of the “good guy” and makes me play the role of the “monster.”
We will run around the house knocking over things and jumping off of stuff we shouldn’t (you can imagine how happy this makes my wife), until I end up cornering him. If he’s playing the role of Batman or Superman, and I end up cornering him, he ALWAYS resorts to force-choking his way out of the situation.
Last night while my son and I were playing good guys versus bad guys, I noticed something. My son’s pajamas had every symbol of a member of the current Justice League except for Wonder Woman (a woman), Cyborg (an African American), and Aquaman (the Michael Phelps of the group).
Now I’m not trying to blow anything out of proportion here, but I was disappointed that a strong female character and a strong African American character were not represented on my son’s pjs. If you look closely you can see that Batman is actually represented twice. Why not use one of the two spaces used for Batman to represent another character. In all fairness to DC, I can see why they would omit the guy that has the boring power of talking to fish, but purposely excluding Wonder Woman and Cyborg doesn’t make sense.
I was just starting to get into comics when I was about my son’s age. I religiously watched Super Friends on Saturday mornings. Looking back, I can see that the show was a total white-washing and it failed to show me that there were strong African American heroes as well. I don’t want my son to think that a woman or an African American can’t be superhero just because they aren’t represented equally.
Again, these are just pajamas, so I don’t want to blow this out of proportion and start a hashtag movement like #pajamaoutrage, or anything like that, but I’m going to start paying attention to what types of superheroes are being marketed to my son.
After realizing that Wonder Woman was not on my son’s pajamas, I immediately introduced him to Wonder Woman by showing him the Wonder Woman movie trailer. To say the least, he loved it.