Sexy Halloween Costumes for Children: No, No, No

Posted on October 30, 2012


It’s just wrong.  I am aware of, and repulsed by, the increasing hypersexualization of women and even of underage girls in this country.  I don’t like the message it sends:  that women’s primary purpose in life, their role, their aspiration, is sex.  Looking good, putting out, appealing to men.  How hollow, limiting and limited.  How cheap and demeaning.  As if that wasn’t bad enough all by itself, we have really gone over the edge in recent years, dragging even little girls very inappropriately into the role of sex object.

This latest rant against the sluttification of American girls is inspired by this article in the Huffington Post, about the evolution of little girls’ Halloween costumes from something fun and childish into something decidedly more… mature, shall we say?  These costumes would be a tad alarming on a teenager.  They have no appropriate place in a little girl’s Halloween plans.  Scroll on down the HuffPo  article to see the photos and read the comments.  I have learned two new words today:  prostitot and prostitween.   The very fact that those words even occurred to someone is proof that there is something really wrong with our oversexed culture.  The fact that we immediately grasp the meaning is even worse.  And sadly, the words suit, and that’s the worst thing of all.

It’s  cute when a little girl dresses in Mommy’s clothes and makeup.  You know what I think makes it cute?  The child is trying on an adult role, one that she sees her adult role models in every day.  We get a little glimpse of the child’s future growth, her first little steps of striving toward adulthood, her growing awareness of the world and of people’s places in it.  And yet, the child is still so clearly a child.  She scuffs along in high-heeled shoes which are much too big for her, with Mommy’s skirt dragging the floor and lipstick halfway to her ears.  We are safe.  We have a lot of years to go yet, for Little Susie to grow into her adult roles.

But… when the makeup is too perfect, when the sexy clothes fit too well, when the child’s pose is an uncomfortably spot-on, come-hither imitation of her much older counterpart, when she wears the trappings of sexual attraction a little too expertly…  it blurs that line between child and adult in a really creepy, Lolita-like way.  It turns a little pre-pubescent girl into an unwilling, unaware sex object, when she is nowhere near ready to have anything to do with sex physically, emotionally, or legally.  We are systematically teaching little girls how to be sexy when they don’t have a clue as to what that really means; how to send sexual messages that they have no idea they are sending; and even providing them little child-sized, adult-themed clothes in which to be sexy.  This is not cute.  It is twisted.  I cannot imagine that parents – especially Dads – don’t see how tawdry this is.  Then again, I don’t understand why Toddlers and Tiaras is even legal, either.

Commenters on the HuffPo article tended to blame the parents for buying their kids these things, and I tend to agree.  Since some parents obviously can’t tell what’s appropriate for little girls, here is a quick survey for your contemplation.

So what’s a parent to do?  It so happens that there are still plenty of modest, fanciful, child-appropriate costumes out there.  All of the images in this article show costumes available through Amazon, so it’s not like the slutty costumes are easier to find.  It’s just a matter of clicking on the age-appropriate choices, like these child-appropriate versions of the “prostitween” costumes above (notice there’s no such thing as an age-appropriate French Maid outfit for a child, okay?).