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Mom Gives Brawny Superheroes a Sensitive Side in New Coloring Book

Big Kid Suzee Skwiot Mar 27, 2015

coloring book for boysWhen Linnea Johansson's 3-year-old son Caspian came home from kindergarten, she noticed he was trying his hardest not to cry. She asked him why he didn't want to shed a tear, and right then, she saw the issue. "He looked at me with his sad eyes and said, 'Because Spiderman doesn't cry,'" she told The Stir in an exclusive interview. And that's what started her new coloring book for boys project.

"I was absolutely heartbroken to see my little, delicate, and sensitive boy close up so emotionally," Johansson adds. "This, to me, is proof that it takes only three years for a child to learn the 'gender code,' and that, as a boy, the worst thing you can do is 'cry like a girl' and that he needs to 'man up.'"

So she decided to do something about it.

She's been drawing since she was a teenager and started to reinvent traditional super heroes to show her son that boys can, indeed, be sensitive, kind, and emotional.

Yes, it's possible.

Take a look at the slideshow for Johansson's re-done superheroes for kids, and great news: It's free for you to print at home!

#6 is such a different take! Which one is your favorite?


Image via Linnea Johansson

1Princess Superman

Mom and Dad's traditional roles have been reversed. Who says "manly" Superman can't play princess dress-up? We can switch them out.

"Girls, on the other hand, learn that their main purpose is to be beautiful and sexy although emotionally they are free to feel and act upon emotion," Johansson adds. "I realized in the blink of an eye what an impact these role models have on our children and above all how much they harm them."

2Bathroom Break for Spiderman

"My son thinks poop is hilarious right now, so I combined his two favorite things -- pooping and Spiderman -- and drew the first picture," she says. "I put a toothbrush in Spiderman and Spidergirl's hand just because my son hates brushing his teeth. But that has not been an issue since he learned that Spiderman brushes his teeth."

3The Hulk Goes to the Beach

"I know all superheroes are portrayed as both sensitive and complex characters in the comic books but for some reason, when presented to children, are only aggressive and violent, and kids all over the planets mimic this behavior," she notes.

5Sensitive Superman

Showing that even hulky Superman can cry -- over a dropped cone, no less -- is groundbreaking. "I think that if we keep squeezing [kids] into these tight gender-molds, we are actually limiting their imagination and making them less tolerant to those who do not fit in," Johansson says.

6Hug Time for Spiderman

Everyone's due for a hug. Even Spidey. Let's all spread the love!

7Heavy Lifting

See that, kids? Not even this uber-strong man is immune from lifting. How's that for macho?

"I wish to see less shallow role models [for kids]," she says. "To me, kids are little enlightened creatures and they have so much to teach us."

9Kitten Love

Who would have ever thought that Superman could be brought to his knees at the sight of a kitten? Well, it's possible. And little boys around the world can be sure that they can do the same. No shame in that!


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