By Marty Salman
As Halloween is creeping around the corner and Halloween stores are popping up around every mall, I can’t help but notice that something’s wrong with the costumes people are selling. And no, it’s not the racist Native American headdresses or the tasteless stereotypes of other cultures, which, by the way, is only half the problem. The real issue is the oversexualization and sexism of little girls’ costumes.
The gender stereotyping of young girls has always been a problem in our society, offering kitchen and cleaning playsets while young boys are given construction, car repair, and army toys. Boys’ costumes reflect a variety of occupations, such as soldiers, police officers, doctors, construction workers, etc. Although girl’s occupation costumes also include police officers, they consist of unrealistic skirts slightly above knee level. This isn’t the only option, however. Girls ages 9-12 can also dress up as prisoners in skirts of the same length, as equestrians in tight pants and a riding crop (of course), and as relatively chesty (low cut) diner waitresses. The only age appropriate costumes in the girl’s category on both the Spirit Halloween and Party City websites were unisex doctor scrubs. Remember; this is the children’s section of the website.
While I’m in full support of women embracing their sexuality and dressing however they please, this is a slightly different case. Women like Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé are both adults, and they can wear any caliber of sexy clothing they want. Children are different. It almost seems like the entire costume industry has an increasing Lolita complex. Put more simply, costume stores and their designers are over-sexualizing children. The difference is subtle, yet creepy when actually noticed. A boy’s Ghostbuster costume is a baggy full-body jumpsuit with a button up collar. A girl’s is a skirt just above the knee with an open collar that doesn’t button up. For some reason, Halloween stores feel as if girls need to show skin, even if they’re going as Mario and Luigi or even a polar bear. What the costume industry (and every other fashion industry, for that matter) needs to learn is that women are not and should not be viewed as sexual objects all the time.
People are brought up thinking that a woman who shows her legs and shoulders is sexy while a man doing the same thing would just be weird. Overall, while there is no problem with women embracing their sexuality, underaged girls’ costumes should not consist of skimpy skirts and low-cut collars, but rather stay open to options resembling boys’ costumes that can be available in a more femme style if desired, i.e. tutus and skirts. Also, remember that it’s perfectly fine to wear a sexual outfit for Halloween. Don’t shame anyone for wanting to show off their body, but it’s important to remember that just because a girl may choose to wear a sexy costume, it isn’t an invitation to make her uncomfortable by whistling or making unwanted advances.
We speak our mind in the Opinion Section, publishing our take on current events, school controversies, and anything else we think might pique your interest.