The Secret Sexism of Halloween

I try not to preach a lot, especially about parenting.

For one thing, I’m not qualified. For another, no one is. But sometimes something gets under my skin so deeply that I can’t let it go, and as my son’s third Halloween approaches – the first where he actively chose his own costume – I have to speak up.

Halloween has become an incredibly sexist holiday. TOWARDS BOYS.

halloween, naughty leopard, sexy costumes, double standard, sexism, holidays, parenting, dads, moms, kids, children, pop cultureEveryone is always talking about the way Halloween costumes are marketed towards girls, and they’re right. The focus of most female-centric costumes – seemingly no matter their age – is “sexiness.” It’s as if fraternity guys have gotten control of Halloween and turned it into one big off-campus party that only half-naked girls can attend. Not only are there the typical “Sexy Nurse” and “Sexy Cop” and “Sexy Librarian”, the industry has inexplicably expanded to include sexy foods and sexy Sesame Street characters. As evidenced by the photo to the right, they’re even selling sexy costumes to preschool girls. Sorry, “naughty” costumes.

As idiotic as that is – and as the parent of a frequently misbehaving three-year-old, I don’t think encouraging toddlers to be naughty, in any sense of the word, is a great idea – it’s not what really gets my (naughty) goat. It’s the double-standard.

Because you know who they’re not selling sexy costumes to? BOYS.

I drove my son all over town looking for a sexy (male) pirate or a sexy (male) superhero or a sexy (male) librarian, and NOTHING. It’s like the people who sell Halloween don’t think men can pull it off. It ain’t no thing to make women look sexy. They are clearly the more attractive sex. Regardless of which gender floats your boat, from a purely architectural standpoint it’s impossible to deny that fact. Which makes creating a costume that showcases their inherent physical beauty a remedial task.

If the Halloween fashion moguls out there want a real challenge, they should try turning an unsightly lump of flesh like my friend Tim into something attractive! (In my case, I don’t need my sexiness amplified. Mom and Buried and I don’t need to wear flimsy outfits to light the neighborhood on fire, we’re already doing it just by being ourselves. I mean, do you see the picture to the left? CASE CLOSED.) halloween, naughty leopard, sexy costumes, double standard, sexism, holidays, parenting, dads, moms, kids, children, pop culture, friday night lights, TV, television, coach taylor, dad and buried, parenting, dad bloggers, mommy bloggers, sexy costumes, connie britton

I want my son to be able to dress however he wants on Halloween, and that includes dressing as something sexy, should he decide to go that route. Because equality isn’t about taking away choices, it’s about letting everyone have the exact same choices. We need to stop limiting women to nothing but puerile sexy/naughty get-ups and start giving men the opportunity to go that route!

If I had a little girl, she’d be vamping it up all over my neighborhood in her scandalous little “sexy Chewbacca” outfit. Meanwhile, I’m forced to break my son’s precious heart by telling him he can’t dress up as a sexy train conductor this year. All because they don’t sell that kind of thing to boys.

The sexism of Halloween is Nutrageous! Sorry, I got into my son’s candy. The sexism is outrageous!


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8 thoughts on “The Secret Sexism of Halloween

  1. Inappropriate and funny. A columnist at my newspaper made a similar argument this year: “Are there sexy sandwich costumes for men, like there are sexy pizza costumes for women? I don’t think so, and here’s why: Women are seen as sex objects in this culture, so anything they dress up as–if it’s revealing enough, anyway–is sexy. Our society doesn’t care if they’re wearing trash, as long as there’s a glimpse of skin.”

  2. Yeah, kids should be allowed to be kids. My neighbour’s son (6 yrs old) wanted to dress up as a squashed tomato last year. As a good mum, my friend sewed her son a lopsided tomato suit and he was 100% happy. Anyway, home made outfits are far cooler than shop bought trash that inflicts Only Way is Essex stereotypes on our kids. Thanks for a valid topic and funny approach to it, bet it gets a lot of parents talking.

  3. I don’t know why you don’t preach more, you make such valid points. I will never understand why society are trying to sex up children. From halloween costumes to whatever that toddler show is where they wear make up. It needs to stop… But the only way to do that is to stop buying them. Gender equality or not, the difference between kids and adults is slowly melting away…

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