Stacey Skrysak, a mother and news anchor from Illinois, was taken aback when her 4-year-old daughter, Peyton, asked if only boys could be superheroes on the way to preschool. And although Skrysak knew the question was completely innocent, she couldn't deny her adverse reaction and shared her thoughts in a Facebook post.
"'I want to be a superhero [for Halloween],' she shouted with excitement! But it was the words that followed that made my heart sink," she wrote. "'But Mommy, I thought only boys can be superheroes,' she said with hesitation in her voice. I was shocked. I knew there were women superheroes, but my daughter obviously did not. And at such a young age, it makes me worry."
As a news anchor used to hearing harsh words, Stacey explained what concerned her most:
As a woman in the media, I have faced my fair share of criticism. I've been told I am fat. I've been told I am ugly. I've been told that I am just a dumb blonde. And that's NOT OK. I don't want my daughter growing up, wondering what she may be capable of. I don't want my daughter holding back because that's what society may tell her. I want her to reach for her dreams, even if it's as simple as being a superhero for Halloween.
Little does her daughter know she's already a superhero in both her parents' eyes simply by being here in the first place. "During our four month NICU stay, our surviving triplet was gifted a cape through a non-profit organization. The magenta cape was giant draped over her tiny, premature body. But, the giant 'P' for Peyton was hard to miss. Her entire life has been a challenge, but we have always shown her that she can do anything she puts her mind to. She may not be top of the class, or might not be the most athletic, but we vow to never hold her back from trying new things."
By the end of their talk, one thing was abundantly clear — the word "no" was not in their family's vocabulary.
"After thinking it over, my daughter agreed with me. Even women can be superheroes. So which superhero did she choose? No, not Wonder Woman or my childhood favorite, She-Ra. Peyton wants to be her own superhero. So, look out for 'Super P' this Halloween. She's a wise young girl, ready to conquer the world."