“No, I know. It sounds weird to me too,” I assured the mother of my son’s friends. “I did just ask if your kids could come over and I could show them Japanese cartoons and take pictures of them. I get it.”
Let’s rewind back to mid-December: my son and I were Christmas shopping, and Nintendo had a game kiosk set up in the mall. Among the games was one called Yo-Kai Watch. My son and I wouldn’t have paid too much attention to it, except that one of the game’s characters was a butt. Like, literally, a butt. A Nintendo rep asked my son if he wanted a Yo-Kai Watch mask. “THE BUTT I WANT THE BUTT,” my son yelped because he’s seven years old and he’s my son and I love him as much as anything could love anything.
But I digress.
As the father of a young daughter, I am not used to social progress. I’ve come to expect that female politicians will be constantly asked about their appearance. I’ve come to expect that corporations will forget to make toys based on the female lead of their new blockbuster movie. I’ve come to expect that it will take Barbie over 50 years to acknowledge what real women look like. I’ve come to expect that, at every turn, society will find a way to let my daughter down, in big ways and small ways, entirely due to her gender. I am used to being disappointed on my daughter’s behalf.
So, imagine my surprise when I recently encountered some small, hopeful progress for girls in a completely unexpected place – children’s character underwear.
That’s right. There are Star Wars and Marvel underwear for girls right now and it’s kind of a big deal.