Halloween is almost here and I've had costumes, not candy, on my mind. Lots of parents have been asking me about the appropriateness of sexy costumes for their tween and teen daughters and I would like to address that with you today. I've been perusing the party stores and costume websites and have been looking at the popular costumes for males and females. I am noticing some very interesting discrepancies between costumes for the two sexes. And, I have not been seeing many unisex costumes.
Here is the pattern that I have seen. Boys from childhood to the teen years have specific costumes marketed and made for them. These primarily include cartoon characters and superheroes. This year, Ninja Turtle costumes and SpiderMan costumes are popular. Boys of all ages are wearing costumes that make them feel powerful and strong. It's a totally different ball of wax when it comes to our girls. Costumes for girls from childhood to the teen years tend to be very sexualized. Some of the most popular costumes that are already sold out on some websites include sexy policewoman, sexy nurses and even sexy witches. I noticed that the boys' Ninja Turtle costume covers the entire body, while the Ninja Turtle costume for girls is skimpy and sexy. Look, nurses and policewoman are not wearing sexy outfits in real life. Nonetheless, the costumes include short skirts, tight outfits and boots. I even saw a costume of a crayon intended for girls that was short and skimpy. Who would ever think of a crayon is sexy?
This year we will also see plenty of girls dressed up as Angelina Jolie's character Maleficient from the movie of the same name. The costume is black and very sexy quite like Angelina. And from yet another Disney movie-Frozen we should see plenty of Queen Elsa's also wearing costumes that are all about looking girly and oh-so feminine. It's not that I have anything against femininity. It's just that I don't see stripper or other sexualized costumes for boys so I wish that girls' costumes were also about power,strength and fun and not about sexuality.
I have long thought that our daughters are becoming sexualized too young, and I strongly believe that parents should make an effort to influence what your kids wear on Halloween. For this reason, I suggest the following guidelines for parents of daughters this year:
1. If possible, go with your child to purchase the costume or help her create a costume.
2. Set a limit on choices. If you don't want your daughter to be a sexy gun-toting policewoman, then let her know that that is unacceptable.
3. Be around on Halloween so that you can see what your daughter is actually wearing.
4. Resist peer and marketing pressure and teach your daughters to do the same. Simply because a sexy outfit is popular or available does not mean that you and your daughters should succumb.
Foster creativity. Talk to your daughters about creating costumes that are fun, funny and original.
Good luck. I hope that everything goes smoothly in your home on Halloween and every other day of the year for that matter.