Girls Now: Halloween Sexualization Hurts Imagination


Halloween was one of my very favorite holidays with Nia & Mavis. I loved it all, from helping them create costumes, to carve pumpkins, to visit the neighbors for treats. It’s totally fun to dress up and pretend to be a different person, an animal, your fave food, a character from a book or comic, whatever you want to imagine being.

But in the past decade the fun of wearing a costume has become a tighter and tighter straightjacket of sexualization for girls. While sex fantasy has long been part of adult costumes, the costumes now being marketed to girls ages 4 and up disturb me with the exploitiveness that’s pouring down on young kids. The store-bought choices are highly sexualized and play on adult fantasies, bringing porn to mind, rather than kids’ imaginations and wide horizons.

This is a terrible loss for girls. Instead of using their own fantastic imaginations to come up with, and even make, a costume, they’re marketed the message that they should just be something sexy.Two parts of this are awful:

  • Girls are told to be some “thing” rather than some “one.” It makes them into objects, not people.
  • Girls’ imaginations are crippled by the narrow, outdated, powerless roles the costumes imply.

Try a few on for size. The Monster High costume that Peggy Orenstein found at Toys R Us. Or the Convict Cutie Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker saw in her local costume shop.

Then, just for a breather, get inspired by wonderful costume ideas on SheHeroes and the idea of an Astronaut Makeover on Princess Free Zone. Those sound like they’d be actual fun to me, not the cause of a difficult conversation about why sexy isn’t appropriate for a girl’s costume.

To talk with other parents about how we can help our kids understand, and successfully fight back against the marketing of sexualized costumes for kids, join me and four other awesome advocates for girls on October 13.

Thursday October 13  at 9pm est/8 cst/7 mst/6 pst for a chat on Twitter. Follow hash tag  #girlsnow. Add it to the end of your tweet so we can see your question or comment. 

Before the chat  follow @Nancy_Newmoon, @PigtailPals, @BeABetterWoman, @AudreyBrashich, @DrRobyn .

If you’re not on Twitter you can still participate live on my blog. We want to hear from you!

If you can’t make it live, the transcript will be available afterward at my blog.

My c0-advocates are:

Amy Harman of Becoming A Better Woman

Dr. Robyn Silverman, author of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat

Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals

Audrey Brashich, author of All Made Up


%d bloggers like this: