Ghosts, goblins, candy corn...sexy costumes for preschoolers? That's right. With Halloween just a few weeks away, Amazon's U.K. site has come under fire for selling a bunch of provocative costumes—for girls as young as FOUR.
Sure, we've seen this type of thing before—just last year, mom Lin Kramer penned a fiery viral open letter to Party CIty over the retailer's sexualized Fright Night selection for little girls. The difference this time, though, is that these costumes were actually being advertised with the word "sexy" in the title.
There's the sexy school girl, the sexy French maid, the sexy insect. (Because aren't all insects sexy?) And get this: All of these coquettish get-ups—made by Hong Kong-based lingerie retailer Silvia's Wand—were being marketed to girls ages 4 and 5.
Kinda screwed up, right? I mean, we know gender stereotyping tends to ramp up around Halloween. But why target girls so young? And, more importantly, where are the "regular" versions of all these costumes? Regular nurse, regular firefighter, regular school teacher. Why do our girls have to wear "sexy" versions of these things? Why can't we give them something real to aspire to? I mean, when was the last time you got your flu shot from a nurse rocking fishnets and a short skirt?
According to experts, the early sexualizing of Halloween costumes sends a dangerous message to our daughters. "Girls are learning at the youngest ages that their value comes from how they look," Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girly-Girl Culture, told CNN. "Sexuality is imposed upon them inappropriately, and they are encouraged to define their bodies not by how their bodies feel to themselves, but by how they look to others."
So sad. Which is why child advocacy groups alerted Amazon about the inappropriateness of the racy costumes,and, according to the Daily Mail, they've since been taken off the site. A quick click over to the Party City website reveals that the retailer also seems to have gotten the message. Under the "career" section of girls costumes, parents can find a bunch of fairly authentic uniforms for girls who want to be firefighters, doctors, construction workers, and police officers—with nary a piece of tulle in sight.
Of course, there's still one slinky cop offering that features a skin-tight top, fingerless gloves and a tiny skirt. Sigh. The best part of Halloween is getting to dress up and try on a new identity for the night, so maybe it's time for all of us parents to band together and advocate for retailers to start selling PG-rated costumes that let our daughters do that in an age-appropriate way.