The Sexualization Of Girls At Halloween

Halloween is the time of year we love to dress up in spook-tacular costumes. But unfortunately, some outfits are a bit too boo-tiful.

To me, what is truly terrifying is not the blood, gore and guts of the Halloween season. It’s the overly sexualized costumes that young girls – and no, I’m not talking frat college girls – tend to wear.

Everything from skimpy superhero costumes, to sexy witches, to shorter than short dresses and skirts, to sassy princesses, to suggestive takes on everyday uniforms, I am one mom who is SICK of girls being sexualized at Halloween.

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And as it turns out, I’m not the only one upset about this fashion trend. A children’s advocate agrees it can even be harmful.

“Sexualizing a child or youth is inappropriate. And Halloween shouldn’t be an excuse to be able to sexualize children or youth further,” Diane Sowden, executive director of the Children of the Street Society, tells The Province.

Dr. Shimi Kang is a youth psychiatrist who has worked with young women and girls for more than 10 years, also speaks on the frightening trend.

“The sexualization of girls is a real phenomenon,” Kang says. “And it has real consequences. Mental health, physical health, emotional health, societal health consequences.”

She goes on to say that sexualization of young women has been linked to eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression and can have negative impacts on later relationships.

“Sexualization of young girls is a very complex issue. However, one example could be the increasing sexiness or sexualization of Halloween costumes towards younger and younger girls,” Kang adds. “This is not something you would find 20 years ago or even 10 years ago.”

A walk through a costume store shows the wide range of sexy-costume choices for young girls. Meanwhile, in the boys’ section, those costumes are a straightforward superhero, doctor or police costume.

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“A message I would give to parents, and people who are caregivers of children, is try to resist the trend,” Kang advises. “First of all, be aware that it is a real trend. And … try to encourage positive role-modelling of female empowerment and value beyond just a sexual, physical image.”

Sound advice, doc! I am leading by example for my own daughter, who just turned 5. Last year I went as a nun, and this year I am a prisoner in a loose-fitted striped costume.

Calling all moms to join in this dressed-down (or shall we say, fully-dressed) trend! Let’s show our daughters that dressing up at Halloween can be fun, and it doesn’t have to be an opportunity to exploit ourselves and/or our gender.

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