Costumes normally meant for adults replicated in children’s sizes have been increasing in stores, and parents are protesting against the apparent sexualization of a holiday that’s meant to be for children.
A mother named Raina Delisle in Victoria, Canada, went up against chain stores that were carrying costumes for girls with short skirts, while the male versions looked more like the real thing. Delisle claimed that the costumes sent the message to young girls that their bodies were more important.
“There was even a pumpkin costume with a lace-up corset, and a very sexy Mini Mouse. Not only are they inappropriate for trick or treating, they're inappropriate on so many levels,” said Delisle. She wrote the chain, which responded with an apology and promised to pull the costumes off shelves.
“When a woman is a firefighter as a profession, they're not wearing short skirts. They're still wearing the same things as the men are,” said Jen Nardone, a parent of toddlers.
One example of a sexy costume for young girls found in stores recently was “Cop Cutie.” The picture on the packaging shows a young girl wearing a short skirt, fingerless gloves and heeled knee-high boots, and brandishing handcuffs while standing provocatively.
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“Why is she in knee-high boots and heels — and why isn’t she in pants? Real female cops don’t wear skirts. It’s like, ‘Boy, that looks sexy. Boy, she’s 5!’ That’s really not great,” said Peter Armenia, father of a toddler in New York.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Mangan found that it was just as hard to find non-sexy costumes for grown women as it is for young girls. When she tried to find a non-sexy costume for a police officer, Mangan failed. “There was nothing I could even tone down,” she said.
Although she believes that there’s nothing wrong with wearing sexy costumes, Eileen L. Zurbriggen, professor of psychology at the University of Santa Cruz, believes that there is when no alternatives to sexy can be found for females. “It sends a message that’s the only thing about a woman that’s important,” she said.