Discussion

School Banning Wonder Woman Lunch Box is Everything Wrong With America

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woman

America is awash in violence. The culture is so violent that murder and mayhem don’t even register anymore unless they involve a mass killing or an innovative use of social media to make a some kind of statement. Violence is on our televisions all day and all night. Of course television shows (like movies or music or comic books or video games) are only a mirror to an already sick society. A society where weapons that are designed to take human life are more celebrated than actual human life.

Against this backdrop of insanity, a local school saw fit to ban a Wonder Woman lunchbox for violating the school’s ban on violent imagery:

letter

“Dear Daniel and Sarah, we noticed that Laura has a Wonder Woman lunchbox that features a super hero image. In keeping with the dress code of the school, we must ask that she not bring this to school. The dress code we have established requests that the children not bring violent images into the building in any fashion — on their clothing (including shoes and socks), backpacks and lunchboxes. We have defined “violent characters” as those who solve problems using violence. Super heroes certainly fall into that category. Please refer to the dress code section of the School Handbook. Your cooperation with our dress code will be appreciated.”

A parent uploaded the letter to Imgur but refused to name the school, which is too bad since the school deserves to be shamed.

Thou-Shall-Not-Display-Your-Collarbone

The offending lunchbox managed to be against both the code of conduct and the dress code! Although the school doesn’t have enough ovaries to state its objection about Wonder Woman’s outfit, I’m sure it’s very similar to the thou-shall-not-show-thy-collarbone rule which was publicized last week. In case you missed it, a Kentucky high school sent a teen girl home because her collarbone “may distract the male classmates.”

stacie

School superintendent Scott Hawkins defended the policy, saying “[t]he whole idea behind the dress code is to make sure you have a safe learning environment and that’s what we’re trying to create.”Scott “Hawkeye” Hawkins: Keeping Boys Safe From Female Collarbones! They should dedicate a comic book to him!

Once we ban showing collarbones in public, it’s a relatively small step to requiring full burqas. But whatever it takes to create a “safe learning environment,” right Kentucky?

Meanwhile, back in the Wonder-Woman-Promotes-Violence-Land, the lunchbox shows a vintage image of Wonder Woman using her Lasso of Truth. The lasso is the non-violent way that Wonder Woman prefers to solve crimes. If the school bothered to consider the context, they would realize that Wonder Woman tries not to kill anybody. Hence the Lasso of Truth.

The lunchbox also says “As lovely as Aphrodite. As wise as Athena.” Inspiring girls to be wise and lovely may also be problematic for the school district. The lawyer in me wants to sue the school so that I can find comparative images that have never been banned by this school. You really think kids have been sent home for wearing an Iron Man t-shirt? Or having a Thor lunchbox? (That hammer is pretty violent, yo!) Or how about Captain America? He has bashed some skulls with that shield, right? Do you really think they ban all superheroes uniformly? I doubt it.

Obviously, even a uniformly applied ban on superhero paraphernalia is offensive. To answer the school’s point about “solving problems with violence,” the most famous superhero of all time is reluctant to ever kill. Superman’s virtuous character is one reason Superman has been a cultural icon for more than 80 years. Do we really have to explain this to school administrators? How will our kids ever be able to understand right from wrong if we can’t discuss context?

I don’t know what values Americans are trying to promote, but banning superhero lunchboxes surely won’t make this a more just and fair society. This is a country where parents bring their 9 year old girl to the shooting range to fire an Uzi, which results in the death of an instructor. And no one gets in trouble for it. The Uzi incident will be investigated by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health as a work-related death (it’s just a workplace safety issue!) But the parents and the shooting range will suffer no repercussions. The instructor’s family has already urged everyone to move on and chalk it up to bad luck.

Point being: if girls showing collarbones or carrying superhero lunchboxes are shamed more than people who give little kids uzis, then something is very amiss in our world. And America needs Superman and Wonder Woman more than ever.

Alex is a lawyer and opinionated.

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