I have a picture I printed off Pinterest taped near my computer. (Since I have no idea what I’m doing, I can’t show you.) Can you guess which part of the comic I have on my wall. It’s Mulan and Eowyn high fiving.
Evan: MOMMY! I know why you have that picture taped on your wall!
Me: What picture?
Evan: The Lord of the Rings one!
Me: Why’s that?
Evan: Because you like Mulan and Lord of the Rings.
Me: Yes. Do you want to know what the picture is about?
Me: Well, you know what Mulan is about. Eowyn did the same sort of thing. She snuck into the army and saved the day. Do you want to hear the story?
Me: Well the forces of Sauron were attacking Gondor. And Aragon convinced the men of Rohan to go to the defense of Gondor. So off they went riding horses to battle. For Glory! (I raised my hand in salute.) But Eowyn was to be left behind because they didn’t let girls fight battles. And she was sad and scared. She didn’t want the people she loved to be killed in battle. She didn’t want to be left behind, locked in a cage, waiting for something to happen, instead of going out and having adventures. So the horseriders of Rohan rode and joined battle with Gondor to defeat Sauron.
The boys stood there, staring at me, savoring every word.
Me: And things weren’t going well for Gondor. Not only were there so many, many orcs. But they had The Witch King who rode the horrible Nazgûl. It was a fierce and ugly monster, looking like a black dragon with a long neck. The Nazgûl’s screams sent fear in the soldiers. No one could stand against the Witch King. The fighting was fierce, and the king of Rohan found himself face to face with the Witch King. And he fought bravely, but the Witch King defeated him. But before the Witch King could kill the king, another soldier attacked. One of Rohan’s men.
Evan was jumping up and down. Sean’s eyes were big.
Me: The warrior and the Witch King fought. They swung their swords, slashing and crashing. (I mimicked sword play.) Soldiers and orcs stopped to watch. No other warrior had fought the Witch King this long. The warrior sliced off the head of the Nazgûl and defeated the Witch King. The warrior thrusted in under the Witch King’s guard. As the Witch King laid on the ground, dying, he whispered, “No man born of woman can defeat me.” The warrior removed his helmet, and it was Eowyn. She said, “I am no man.” She killed the Witch King and saved the day because if he hadn’t died, Gondor would not have stood.
Me: What do you think?
Evan: The girls must have been so excited that it was Eowyn.
Me: The girls AND boys were excited that Eowyn defeated the Witch King. She was awesome. There are lots of awesome stories about girls.
Evan: Like Brave?!
Me: Yup. When I was a little girl, there weren’t so many stories about awesome girls. I didn’t like the princess movies. Even now they make more exciting books about boys than girls. I just read a writer asking a publisher, a guy who makes books, why there were still more books about boys than girls. And the publisher said girls are boring. Can you believe that?
Evan: That’s dumb.
Me: Yup. That’s why I want to get you books about girls AND boys having exciting adventures. If you read only about one, you’ll miss all kinds of stories about the other.
Sean: Princess Leia is awesome! She fights!
Me: Yup. She’s awesome.
Parenting. Teaching my boys that girls are just as good as boys. And training them to be nerds.