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by Under His Wing on 2006 Feb 10 - 09:12 | reply to this comment
I've never been very sure what is normal and what isn't. When I was a child I never considered whether dressing up as Robin Hood and roaming round the park in search of the Sherriff of Nottingham was normal or not. I had the kind of parents who thought that children should be able to do whatever they liked, so they never suggested to me that I shouldn't dress up as Robin Hood, even though this could sometimes be inconvenient (my mother get fed up with me lugging that bow and arrows with me whenever we went shopping, I know). My older brother, on the other hand, was mad about Cinderella,especially the Ugly Sisters,he always drawing pictures of them, and wanting to dress up as them. My parents didn't mind that either.

I don't know whether my enthusiasm for Mulan over Cinderella is particularly mainstream. If you go into any toyshop, you will find that Cinderella and Snow White dolls predominate, there are very few Mulans by comparions, and those that there are usually have her in a frock. When they had a dressing up day in my youngest son's class, most of the girls came dressed as princessses or fairies. And when they're out of school uniform, pink predominates in their choice of clothes. Girlishness still seems to be popular. I think I am very much in a minority in preferring Mualn to Cinderella.

I've never had much criticism for being a stay-at-home wife, though sometimes someone expresses surprise that I don't get bored (which I don't). I don't really know any high-powered career women though, which probably makes a difference.

I wasn't interested in games at school, but I did long passionately to be good at gym, I envied the girls who could shin up ropes and vault over the horse and swing from the parallel bars with ease, which I never could. It was because I wanted to be able to swing down from the treetops, run the sheriff of Nottingham through, leap on to my horse and gallop off. And I couldn't even get halfway up the rope. That's why I admire Mulan, because she doesn't give up even when she seems to be a failure. When Captain Shang hands her the reins of her horse and says contemptuously "Pack, up, go home, you're through" I would have done, but she doesn't. I admire her tremendously for carrying on and trimuphing even though it seems hopeless.