'Tis the season to start brainstorming Halloween costumes! Let's do it.
I know many of you have felt the frustration illustrated in the cartoon above, and if you haven’t, we have some ideas about it that might interest you. Halloween costumes should be fun, creative, scary, hilarious, interesting, or empowering. If you’re a girl, however, most of what you can buy in the store hints at, or overtly displays your still under-developed sexuality for all to admire/comment on/gawk at/judge. The obsession with sexualized costumes for little girls is disturbing, and serves to reinforce that girls’ #1 goal should be to look pretty/sexy. End of story. Party City even claims that these are “Girls’ CAREER Costumes!” They’re teaching our girls that careers to strive for are cheerleader times 3, sexy inmate, sexy cowgirl, sexy waitress, gypsy princess, and circus clown, to name a few. Yes, there’s a doctor costume on the page, but a boys is modeling it! And yes, there’s a boxing costume, but the only way it’s acceptable is to make it baby pink. We JUST had the olympics with women boxing for the first time! Why not give us a USA boxing costume!?
Now to our favorite question: What can we do? Help/allow your girls to add substance, inspiration, and creativity to their costumes!
- Make a costume with the girl in your life. It can be done very cheaply with clothes or parts of costumes she may already have, and it can be some fun bonding time.
- Create your own kind of superhero costume, and let her choose the type of power she’d like to have.
- Help her think of things she could be that women aren’t doing yet/anymore, like playing professional baseball or serving as President.
- Figure out what she’s really enjoyed studying in school and make it into a costume.
- Create a costume that looks like her favorite Olympian.
- If you don’t have time to make one, don’t be afraid to stray from the “girls’” costumes and buy her a “boys’” one that supports an interest she has. She might actually want to dress up like a ninja, a fire fighter, a detective, or a “brave crusader.”
- If the girl in your life insists on being a princess, you can make this powerful too.
- Instead of letting the whole identity of her princess revolve around hair, makeup, and outfit, ask what her princess does, or what she’s in charge of in the castle. She could also be a bug princess, a warrior princess, a solar system princess, or a math princess. Go with what her interests are!
- A new, cool, smart princess we just met this year is Merida from Brave!
- You might also suggest being a queen so that she inherently has power and authority.
To be clear, we’re not trying to avoid femininity here. We’re trying to avoid femininity paired with forced sexiness, paired with emptiness and a lack of creativity or inspiration. Girls are worth so much more that that!