I was skimming websites and catalogues in search of a Halloween costume for my 10-year-old daughter earlier this month. When I complained that even the ‘doctor’ costume is suggestive my husband told me that I should just add the word ‘whore’ to every costume description leaving me to contemplate various choices such as “Angel-Whore”, “Nurse-Whore”, “Waitress-Whore”, “Teacher-Whore”.
If adults want to flaunt their wares and freeze in the fall weather while consuming sugar (either fermented or in the form of candy) that’s their business. But my daughter is 10 and just beginning the long, hormone-fueled rollercoaster that is adolescence – why should her choices be hyphenated with the word ‘whore’?
How can I nurture my little seedling to grow into self-confident, fierce young woman — at Halloween and beyond – in an environment where girls, who are not women, are encouraged to show some thigh and non-existent cleavage?
Once my daughter is an adult who owns her sexuality she can choose to wear revealing outfits and sleep with as many partners as she chooses. I can drink my way through that. But how will my daughter and her generation develop this inner sense of their value if they are expected to dress as objects of sexual desire during these awkward years?
Why are we teaching ‘tweens’ that to be chic they must over-expose their awkwardly morphing bodies? And, don’t we view those who sexualize underage girls (and boys) as pedophiles? This question is inflammatory but my point is not dressing pre pubescents in garb similar to that which is designed to make sexually mature women alluring is just wrong. And, it is unattractive – 10 year old girls do not have cleavage or shapely abs. All these costumes do is leave girls over-exposed, increasing their risks of contracting a cold while trick-or-treating.
When did cute stop being cool? Why do we pressure little girls to look like women when they are neither intellectually nor emotionally capable of handling the possible consequence of sexuality? If someone said that my little girl looked sexy I might slug the compliment giver.
Canadian blogger Raina Delisle wrote a post recently complaining about the Halloween costume choices she found for her daughter at a Value Village store. “We quickly located a firefighter costume for boys, complete with a bright red jacket, a traditional helmet and an axe. The girls’ version, on the other hand, is a skin-tight, short, shiny dress that’s surely flammable,” Delisle wrote. Shortly after her post went viral Sara Gaugl, director of communications for the Canadian chain, issued a statement that read, in part, “Every year, we select our Halloween inventory based on feedback and demand from shoppers. We’ve taken the recent comments surrounding certain Halloween costumes sold in our stores very seriously, and as such, are removing this merchandise from our sales floors. We apologize to those who were offended….” Thanks, Ms. Delisle. That’s one small step for Canadians, and one giant step for mother-kind.
Now, how can I convince them to let me tag along dressed up as an eraser?