The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Do all costumes have to be "sexy" costumes?

Whatever happened to being a ghost for Halloween? A ghoul? A favorite cartoon character or toy? To be fair, you can still dress up as the last two (including this moderately questionable "Monster High" outfit), but it seems over the past decade or so, costumes for women and–disturbingly–girls are now "sexy."  Want to be a pirate for that Halloween party? That's great, as long as it's a "sexy pirate." If you're happy showing off your cleavage or your leg up to your thigh (and beyond), great! You're sorted. But if you want something that looks more like it's out of history, or at least Pirates of the Caribbean, with very few exceptions you'll be shopping in the men's department.

I love Halloween, and I always have. Along with Thanksgiving (a holiday that really needs to exist outside of the US and Canada), it's one of my favorites. Dedicated to dressing up and having fun and scoring as much candy as is humanly possible, it's pretty basic. I'm too old to realistically go trick-or-treating these days, but I still enjoy decorating the house, dressing up, and handing out candy to kids. Because I'm inept at sewing and design, I buy costumes. And I'm all for showing a little leg and some cleavage occasionally, but I'd really like the option to get a quality costume that doesn't require that I do those things. But at least I'm old enough to be able to wear something like that and not get strange looks. This "sassy" costume, however, while not displaying cleavage, is not what I would describe as particularly piratical nor appropriate for a child. And while this one is clearly for adults, what self-respecting raider of the high seas would wear that?  It's not practical!

Lest you think my only interest lies in pirates, I've also done extensive research into zombie costumes (presuming 5 minutes is considered extensive). Zombies are great because zombie make-up can range from very simple to incredibly complex, and the costume can just be ratty old clothes. But if you wish to give away your hard-earned cash, take a look at this selection of zombie costumes.

To be fair, both of these costumes are listed as "boy" zombie costume and "girl" zombie costume.  But the rest of the female zombie costumes look more like this:


While I think zombie costumes are awesome, zombies are not sexy. At all. They're dead.

I could go on and on, but the proliferation of female costumes into the "sexy" realm is at best frustrating, and at worst disturbing. For another take on this topic, read Peggy Orenstein's article "Sexy Costumes for Little Girls Aren't Cute" over at the New York Times.

-Katie Weidmann
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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