I told a friend today, a mom of a girl just a little older than Boo, about our pink UPS Man costume. She turned to her daughter and said, “Isn’t that great? Boo’s going to be a UPS Truck Driver for Halloween.”
Nice use of the generic, except she’s not. She’s going to be the UPS Man. Man, Man, Man, Man. A Pink UPS Man, to be sure, but definitely the UPS Man.
I can’t decide if I’m being really progressive or really retrograde to use the masculine form here. Like everyone, we taught Boo that there are “fire fighters” and “mail carriers” — and far from thinking that’s precious or PC of us, I truly believe that’s the right thing to teach. But when she picked her costume — and she did, most decisively, pick it herself — Boo said that she wanted to be “The UPS Man, The Pink UPS Man.”
So the phraseology came from her — UPS Man, UPS Man — and she had a particular one in mind. And while, sure, I could have made her say something more generic — “UPS Person,” I guess? — my inclination was not to “fix” her words.
Besides, there’s something kind of cool about the fact that she’s dressing up like a man. Gender equality isn’t about gender sameness. Her choice to cross-dress feels like a respectful one, an acknowledgement of our differences, a sophisticated comment on stereotypical roles in our society.
Plus, she loves our UPS Man because he brings her stuff. So, UPS Man she wants to be, UPS Man she will be.
And, I can already tell what you’re going to ask, so I’ll just answer: photos tomorrow.