I just made some other feminist mother's life easier. I went to the local megastore in search of a Halloween costume for the kid. (Yes, I know. I usually sew them from scratch or help the kid assemble them as a work of domestic bricolage, but this year I'm just a little busy. So bite me, inner critic, and tell the Bad Mommy Brigade to come round my sorry ass up.) This is the kind of person I'm becoming, shopping for Halloween forty days in advance. I head down the aisle looking for the requisite costume -- a nice, gender-neutral cat, just like the kid wanted. She plans to go as "Katerina Ballerina" (employing an Angelina Ballerina mouse puppet as the unfortunate victim of her dance/hunt).
As I begin, I note that I'm in the "girl" section. The choices are rather limited. Fairies. Princesses. Fairy princesses. Slutty rock stars. Divas. Cheerleaders. Sexy witches. (Kid loves fairies, but as a worldly 6-year-old now thinks that she should branch out. Just so you don't think I'm knocking on the enchanted wee folk.)
"Ok. No cats. Hmm. Maybe they're in the other aisle," says I to myself. Maybe I didn't get the "cats are gendered male" memo. So I go to the "boy" section. Cowboys. Soldiers. Police officers, firefighters, scientists, doctors, vets (complete with dog), pirates as well as the full complement of scary monsters and gory stuff. Still no cats.
It takes me a while (and maybe it wouldn't have even struck me had I not been looking for a trans-species masquerade),
but it occurs to me that anything that I might have wanted to pretend to be after the age of 4 was not represented in
the "girl space" at all. And nothing that the kid currently wants to be is there either. No scientist. No architect. No archaeologist, explorer of wild places, no doctor, no battler of dragons and disrupter of the time-space continuum.
So I relocated about half of the doctor, cop, firefighter, scary monster costumes to the "girl" side and hoped that the mother of a glamour-loving little boy will put some fluff over on the "boy" side. We become what we are encouraged to dream.
(Yes, I did find a kittysuit that wasn't a Frederick's of Hollywood special. I think what she really will like is the ears, though.)