Many a mom would think I failed as a mother of a 5 year old girl. She doesn't know her Disney Princess stories. (although she loves the new Rapunzel movie) But, she knows who Batman, Diego and Spongebob is. She could care less who Jasmine is, but she loves Aladdin. Believe, me I tried to get her to watch some of those old Disney classics, but she just wasn't interested. She would rather watch Cars, Finding Nemo and Toy Story.
I also try very hard not to push her into any gender roles or stereotypes. I have a huge issue with that. Why are girls only "supposed" to like the Princesses, pink and dressing up like them? My daughter loves Batman, blue and dressing up like a vampire. But she also loves icarly, Barbies and Littlest Pet Shop. The important part is that I let her choose what to like. I tried everything out on her, and she picked what she was most attracted to.
I think it's very important not to push our children into those stereotypical roles that society says is the "right" way. It gives them variety, opens their minds to new experiences, and lets them make their own choices. Plus it keeps them from prejudices they may develop as a result of gender stereotypes.
Right now, Little Monster is into Batman. She started checking Batman books out from her library at school and we had to read them every night. Then one day she told me a boy at school said she couldn't check the Batman book out because it was a "boy book". (Le sigh). She told him that she could check out whatever she wanted to (yay!). But then next week she came home with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. (Le sigh again).
So it's an ongoing learning experience for us, but I always try to be open with her and let her choose what she wants even though sometimes this little voice in the back of my head goes, "but everyone else is doing pink/princesses/fairies" or "I wonder if she's picking a princess theme out because all the other girls in school are". But I stand firm, and let her be her own person.
What does this have to do with writing? Everything. When you create your characters, try to give them their own personality instead of pushing them into certain stereotypical roles we're used to seeing. Push the envelope a little. Take a chance- you never know what your character will reveal to you.
Okay, I'm off to watch the old Adam West Batman movie for the umpteenth time with Little Monster. Holy Heartfailure, I may just die after a week straight of campy humor and rubber sharks.