Halloween is near. It is almost time for little ghosts and goblins, astronauts and animals to run down the streets, begging for loot and enjoying the start of a sugar-high that will take them all the way to Christmas.
It’s the time of year when revelers shed inhibitions and apparently, their clothes, and show up for spooky festivities in plunging low necklines and sky-high hemlines and all manner of sexed-up, trumped-up versions of otherwise innocent, archetypal characters.
It’s the time of year when stores and merchants are chock-full of sexy pirates and tantalizing wood nymphs, devilishly suggestive demons and racy policewomen who seem to promise much more than just a speeding ticket.
And hey, that’s just for the ten-year-olds.
It’s one thing for grown women to decide to wear a barely-there costume that more closely resembles themed lingerie than a replica of a firefighter’s uniform, but it’s difficult to see the need for such hyper-sexualized gear to be made available for, and marketed to, tween girls – that is, children aged 10 to 12.
Perhaps your pre-teen would like to be a ‘forest bandit’ this year, forest bandits of course renowned for their uber-short skirts and off-the shoulder sleeves affixed to bare arms with a cute little black garter. But wait! Don’t let your little girl leave the house without the suggested accessories – you can complete the look with a 6’ bullwhip and black lace panties.
Or maybe your tween would prefer to serve and protect with this “official looking” kicky little police-girl get up. Just think of how many bad guys she could catch in those go-go boots, and without any pesky pants to get in her way.
Of course, there are many costumes that run a little more authentic and a little less exploitive, like this very cool cutthroat pirate costume. Whoops! Looks like that’s the boy version. Little girl pirates are supposed to look like this.
If ever there is a time to let children just be children, it’s at Halloween. It’s a time of make-believe; of pretend; of trying on the personality of something or someone you don’t usually get to be.
The unfortunately reality is that girls will be 10 times more likely than boys to be portrayed by the media as a hyper-sexualized ideal. It’s a dangerous message to send to young girls, one that can lead to low self-esteem, confusion, eating disorders and dissatisfaction in relationships later in life. Do we really need to encourage girls that have barely gone through puberty that they can’t just be a pirate – they have to be a sexy pirate, or that they must always strive to be ‘cute,’ and that cute means wearing a completely non-threatening, often-times hobbling outfit that is totally inappropriate for their age, experience and maturity level?
The bigger question, however, is not necessarily why manufacture and market tasteless, unsuitable costume options to children, but to ask, who—in their right mind—is buying them?