Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Slutty is not a costume

Now the epidemic is catching on with children. At least Newsweek agrees with me.

Some popular childrens' costume names:
Shipwrecked Pirate, Wayward Witch, Child's Chamber Maid Costume and Miss-Behaved

A girl isn't an Army cadet, she's a "Major Flirt," and who knew female firefighters wore fishnet stockings? Even Little Bo Peep comes with a corset, short skirt and lacy petticoat.

Joe Kelly, founder of the advocacy group Dads and Daughters comments: He sees the trend as symptomatic of a deeper issue. "The hypersexualization of younger and younger girls only serves to reinforce gender roles. When an 8-year-old girl can't find a doctor costume because all they have are nurse outfits, that's a problem."
The article points out that most websites selling costumes have more options for boys than girls.

Not that there's anything patently wrong with young girls wanting to look pretty. Child psychologists agree that embracing and understanding their attractiveness is a key part of early-adolescent development for girls. But when sexiness and body image become the sole criteria by which they judge themselves and each other, "That's when we start to see problems," says Dr. Eileen Zurbriggen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who last year chaired the American Psychological Association's (APA) Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Their report, issued in February, declared that, "Throughout U.S. culture, and particularly in mainstream media, women and girls are depicted in a sexualized manner."

This is a disturbing trend. The article asks Are we prudes or is this practically kiddie porn? I don't care if I am considered a prude, this is not appropriate. I can't even imagine what I'd say if I had a daughter who wanted to be one of these costumes, especially when peer pressure is a strong influence. How do you get a 9 or 10 year old to understand that slutty is not appropriate? I know some people don't like the use of the word appropriate but that's really the most appropriate (ha) word. I think it is up to the parents to decide what they allow to be appropriate (after all, I suppose anyone could say that wearing a mohawk isn't appropriate, or being gay, and I see the possible implications here). I'm of the school of thought (and I say this without having had any children) that you should let your kids wear what they want as far as personal expression goes (i.e., they don't have to match every day, they can dye their hair pink if they want) as long as it doesn't harm them or others.

Where I do have an issue is what the article said, that it's not the best message to be sending to a young girl that her idea of herself is that of "Major Flirt" instead of Army Cadet.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Completely agree with you. Hasn't happened yet with my 6 year old daughter but I'm not looking forward to it.

Here's hoping we will always have something available instead or can make something or buy a used costume... ANYTHING other than that crap. I'm sure the one thing I can DO is to NEVER EVER buy it. I sure hope others follow suit... maybe then they will stop selling it.