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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Batman



This is a recent conversation I had with The Babe-O.

Babe-O:  Robin! Batman has to go poopies! 

Me: To the Bat Potty! 

Yes. That was my automatic response.

Since Batman has become an installment in our lives and invaded our daily going-ons I have had my reservations. Whenever I engage in conversations with others about Babe-O's interest in Batman I always tack on the phrase "and I am not sure how I feel about it". And I say this almost daily because he is usually wearing his Bat boots, his Bat shirt or his cape and he introduces himself to others as Batman as in: "I can talk to you right now, I am Batman and I have to fight criminals."

Here's why I am not sure how I feel about it.
I don't approve of  the violence, objectification of women, body distortion, and early exposure to popular media that comes along with all things super hero.
I do approve of a good good versus evil story, creative play that extends and expands on stories, play that builds confidence and provides a feeling of power in the lives of little powerless people.

Here's what I am doing about it.
I have very little control over sheer exposure to popular media.
I can control the length and medium of exposure.
So, we read Batman stories and some age appropriate comic books. We watch the original Batman movie with Adam West. On occasion. (Much less violence than the cartoons and they are real people's bodies not distorted drawings).
I have no control over the content. I can control conversations we have about violence, fighting and weapons. I can control conversations about how we use our strength and how we use our smarts and conversations about real-life heroes, like "helpers" (firefighters, doctors, nurses, activists). I can control Babe-O's exposure to other play options by initiating tea parties, trips to the moon, and getting outside!
I can make sure that all of Babe-O's gender expressions are valued.

Since I started writing this we have had an emergency on the homestead. Diet Coke Papa had a fall and required an ambulance. He is recovering, nothing life threatening, just a bad leg injury. He is doing well. Babe-O was there when the paramedics came and when Papa was in a great deal of pain. He was scared and confused. After crying and talking and being comforted by me, Batman came for a visit. Batman Babe-O played out fighting the helpers who came to hurt Papa.We used out dollhouse to replay the scene and Batman put all the helpers in a tree so that Papa could come home and feel better.

All this drama aside, the most important Bat lesson I have learned is Batman is important. I am embracing Batman. I am accepting Batman into our lives. I realize that Batman is only ONE part of Babe-O's play. Batman gives the little Babe-O power in this huge and scary world where he has none. From now on when I engage in conversations about Babe-O's interest in Batman I will tack on the phrase, "Batman is powerful."

So stay tuned for more of our Bat Adventures. Same Bat time, same Bat channel...
we'll be in the Bat cave researching criminals and waiting for the Bat signal from Commisoner "Gorner."
We'll be ready to fight crime or use the Bat potty, whatever comes first.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts about the role of superheros in the lives of little boys (or girls)?

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