Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween is coming

And with it flood of tasteless, over sexualized and simply ugly costumes.
Halloween is not my tradition, so I am not excited about it and don't have any fond childhood memories. In Poland this day is celebrated by visiting family graves, contemplation, prayer and generally filled with very "memento mori" atmosphere.

I have noticed a few entries over various blogs bringing examples of costumes advertised for this season. All of the ones I've seen are offensive for one or another reason. I find them extremely sexist, reducing women to sex objects, often culturally insensitive.

I have decided to look by myself if the bloggers were cherry picking and exaggerating or if indeed it's that bad.
Well, it is bad.
First, the costumes for adult women as compared to adult men:

I found one or two examples were men were portrayed somewhat "sexy", mirroring their female counterparts:

The only images where women were not made up to look like Playboy fantasies occupants, was in a "hoop clown" costume.

Now to the culturally offensive... Looks like the "Indian Princess" and "Gypsy lady" win the competition. I was wondering what a male version would look like, thinking of some bare chest "warrior" disaster. I found even better: woman is the "Indian princess", man is a cowboy. I don't even have words...

What is also interesting, their "teen" section seem to differ only is slightly better breast coverage.

Now to the children costumes. The toddlers are still more or less sweet and cute, gender neutral. But when we enter the section for pre-teen and teens, the division is very clear. Boys' costumes are warriors, robots, fighters, action figures, super heroes/villains and generally strong characters with pants, often bulky clothing disguising the body's shape. Not so with girls' costumes. As far as I've seen all of them have skirts, mostly mini-skirts. The difference to adult costumes is, that the skirts are often fluffy and bulky instead of tightly skin-like. The characters are all over the place... witches, bees, butterflies, skeletons, ballerinas, dancers... I am guessing the girls could use the boys' costumes if they wanted, but it is pretty clear that most of them are made with gender in mind. Let's see some examples:

Differences between boys' and girls' costumes of the same theme:

I think I am glad I am not part of that all. It's a pity how early on the sexualization of little girls begin.

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