Oct 07 2013
There was a time when Halloween costumes were supposed to resemble the thing you were actually attempting to imitate. But these days, if you’re a woman, you’re expected to don a lacy, cleavage-revealing bodice and a short skirt with only the most minimal accessories to invoke an actual costume. What’s worse is that costumes for little girls as young as 7 or 8 are now firmly part of the trend toward overtly sexualized Halloween costumes.
In fact Walmart is targeting the toddler set – just last month, Walmart featured a costume for toddlers called the “Naughty Leopard” with a puffy black skirt, purple leopard print trim, sheer black short sleeves and cat ears. A public outcry pushed the company to remove the costume from their online store although other costumes for girls and teenagers continue to feature micro mini skirts, spaghetti straps and thigh high boots.
The American Psychological Association’s task force on the sexualization of girls has found that across all media, portrayals of women and girls have been becoming increasingly sexualized. These sexualized images, which are a product of our pornography obsessed culture have negatively affected girls’ mental and physical health leading to eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression and there seems to be no end in sight.
GUEST: Jean Kilbourne is an acclaimed scholar known for her work on women’s images in advertising and her exploration of the connection between advertising and several public health issues, including violence against women, eating disorders, and addiction. She is the creator of the renowned Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women film series and the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids