Nerd Parenting: The Superhero Pose

As both a nerd and a parent, I spend a lot of time thinking about the messages my daughter receives from the media we enjoy together. My three-year-old has several super hero action figures, and her wardrobe is filled with superhero clothes (many bought in the boy’s section because the girl’s section didn’t have cool superhero clothes–but that’s a discussion for another day).

One of her favorite superheroes, starting over a year ago, is Wonder Woman—she currently has three different Wonder Woman dolls and has seen the Wonder Woman movie several times. When she was playing with her Batgirl, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman action figures, she would add emphasis to their names like the tv shows- WON-der Wo-MAN, SUPerGI-RL. And though she could see their stances in shows and movies, I felt it was my responsibility to show her how these superheroes stood or prepared to take flight.

With Supergirl, we made a fist and stuck our arms up in the air (her left arm and my right arm) and said “SUPerGI-RL!” With Wonder Woman, we stuck to the traditional superhero pose (which Supergirl and Superman do, as well), and placed both hands in fists on our hips then shouted “WON-der Wo-MAN!” A few times practicing, and she had it down pat.

The superhero pose was discussed in a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy, where she mentions how standing like this builds or boosts confidence. They even do this on two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. The research was later discredited; however, my daughter doesn’t understand research or care if that research is discredited. She understands that Wonder Woman stands this way, and that Supergirl takes flight this way. And if mimicking the bold stances of powerful women gives her even an ounce of confidence, that’s great. If it doesn’t, that’s fine, too, because she loves it and she’s enjoying herself.

I want to create in her a sense of confidence—that she can be anyone who she wants to be. This includes Batman, Superman, The Flash, as well as the female superheroes she loves. The pose is just a start to building her confidence, to building her imagination as she fake-flies through the house. Through nerd parenting, step one, to me, is advocating for her to be super, to be amazing, to know no limitations: to imagine what her life can be, and fly towards it.

Angela Spires

Angela Spires

Angela is a teacher by day, grader by night. She is a writer when she can squeeze it in. She is a comic con nerd fanatic, who attends at least one con a year, and has been to SDCC twice. She loves comic book art, Green Arrow, Harley Quinn, and Emma Frost. Her true love is her daughter, who she is training to be a Jedi (jk- maybe).
Angela Spires

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