A small victory against heteronormativity
Though I try to model critical thinking for my kids, like most parents I assume that they’re not paying attention. This is especially true when they reach an age when pop culture becomes infinitely more alluring than their boring old mama.
Last week, my daughter Miriam turned seven. One of my favorite things to do with her is play Just Dance for Wii. On Just Dance 2, the designers’ interpretation of Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” is a duet with two girls dance-arguing with one another. It’s one of Miriam’s favorite songs, and she especially adores its cheerleadery chorus: ”HEY! YOU! I DON’T LIKE YOUR GIRLFRIEND! I THINK YOU NEED A NEW ONE!”
In the game, the girls snarl at one another, throwing fake punches and baring their kitty-girl claws. It’s all a very predictable interpretation of how girls act when they’re fighting over a dumb boy…..like Miriam’s other obsession, Betty and Veronica.
Now I loved Betty and Veronica, too–in fact, the comic books that got Miriam hooked in the first place were my beloved old Double Digests, saved since I purchased them from the kind of dingy old corner stores that have long since turned into yuppie patisseries and wine bars.
But back to the Wii. At one point in the song, the dancer in the Velma drag assumes a pleading posture, as though she’s begging the rocker chick for something. I thought I knew what it was (a freckle-faced dork from Riverdale High?), but today Miriam corrected me.
“She REALLY wants the rocker girl to be her new girlfriend,” she announced.
You think so?
“Yeah. But the rocker girl doesn’t wanna, so the other girl is saying ‘please, be my girlfriend, please!’”
I looked twice, and Miriam was right–with no redheaded boy in sight, it did appear that the cute nerd was appealing to the rocker to join her for a romantic date at the Choklit Shoppe. I was doing a better job than I thought!
A small victory for boring old mama.