A Sexy Halloween for Grade Schoolers?
Check out the change in Halloween costumes over the years. Girls are learning that a big part of their job is to look sexy. And they’re getting that message at a tender age.
Now that’s scary!
Then and now images, via Sociological Images:
Images, courtesy Sociological Images Pinterest page.
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Posted on October 29, 2014, in body image, feminism, gender, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged body image, costumes, feminism, gender, girls, Halloween, objectification, psychology, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.
I’m not denying that the dresses in the pictures above have gotten shorter over the years, but I don’t think they have been made to look “sexy”. I’m also not denying that there is a problem with younger girls feeling the need to be sexy, but these are just little girls in innocent costumes. This clearly more of an issue with girls in their teens. This is when the pressure to show more of their body really kicks in, because when everybody else is doing it, and you’re the only one wearing an outdated (appropriate) costume, you feel out of place.
Hmmmm, well we live in a society in which females are taught that their role is to be sexy. And when a little girl is wearing a sheer dress, I find it hard to think of any other reason why a costume like that would be designed for little girls.
!!!! This gets me riled up. I walked into a Spirit store two months back and there was this costume for little girls called “the little black dress” and basically it was night attire for a four year old. Do little girls dream of going to clubs by this age? I doubt it, unless all they watch is the Jersey Shore.
What I noticed walking into the costume stores is that all the characters for girls and women were all styled to look more feminine. Even the characters that didn’t have a skirt were only sold with skirts. There was no in-between for these characters if women wanted to dress up. Like, it’s hard to find a viking costume for women that isn’t sexy. Even Winnie the Pooh costumes were extremely revealing. The first option for girls is the option to stay feminine regardless of how it portrays the actual characters, and for women the first option is to be sexy. Men get normal looking costumes; not as many, but definitely shows they’re trying to play someone of some substance than a sexually-charged animated character that has nothing to do with portraying the character faithfully.
It’s so frustrating!
It is pretty crazy if we look back in time and compare, the change in the types of clothings available for women. It’s the same for any age of females. Throughout the time the clothings have gotten tinier and tinier. Not just that things like having sex at an young age, and doing drugs have also become more prone in our society. So all in all most things have gone the negative way in my sense, but maybe its become positive too. Maybe people are feeling more independent, and more able to express themselves. But with freedom comes responsibility that some of us lack to have. As far as this is concerned, parents like to make sure that their kids have the very best. They like to buy, instead of make costumes. And they buy what they find in the stores.
A Sexy Halloween costume for Grade schoolers?
I completely agree with your thoughts on little girls learning to be sexual at a younger age. I had always thought as I was getting older that the younger generations just seem to be growing up faster than they should be; not in terms of maturity but in terms of doing things and activities that older people do. These pictures show girls both past and present in their Halloween costumes and it shows how they have drastically changed over the years to be more revealing, and honestly trying to look older and more sexualized. But as we all know, this isn’t just a part of Halloween costumes. We see it everyday with kids going to school. Young girls are starting to dress like 20 year olds to make themselves seem sexier, and more attractive. Honestly its disturbing and I believe that their parents should be paying a lot more attention to what their kids are wearing out of the house.
This Halloween I really took the time to reflect on how Halloween has changed. I noticed that it has become the norm to have some sex appeal within costumes, even for the younger ages. I don’t understand why. It’s teaching the younger generations that image is important, and when it reflects within costumes that just means it will reflect within regular apparel as well. It’s as if we are forcing children to older than they actually are. This has leaves impact on them, for example teenage girls are dressing as if they are in their twenty’s, and of course this draws negative attention to their bodies. This also leaves an impact of the expectations that young men will have for young women to look like. It’s our job to allow our children to grow up without creating standards on how they should look, it’s already difficult getting through academics, sports, and peers.
Looking through the different costumes and how they correspond with the particular time periods being discussed, it is interesting watching the evolution, or sensationalizing of children costumes; some costumes mirror each other, while most new age children costumes have been cut in half, along with the obvious missing pieces of clothing from some teenage girls outfits. It is a reflection of our surroundings and influences. Everything around us is over-sexualized, specifically when speaking about advertisements on countless products that are being promoted by women in provocative clothing; it is the responsibility of the parent to reinforce wholesome characteristics, in attempt to combat the numerous negative influences in our society.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where women and young girls are being judged and targeted by their looks and bodies. As I look through a magazine, all the models are just look too ‘perfect’; no pores, bodies with curves, fuller lips, and breast, etc. the media and the society creates a woman images that does not apply to all of the women. And this stereotyping starts in very early ages like we have seen from the pictures above. We can see how customs were more “kid friendly” and how they shifted to be more “sexy”!
I have a two and a half years old daughter and every time we go the mall, she insist on going to the ‘Disney’ store and she adores the princess clothing. I am not against for girls to wear short or shiny dresses, but I am just against the idea that they should only feel beautiful when they put these kind of costumes or dresses on. The girls should feel beautiful whatever they put on, however the Media’s and society attitude towards it does not help.
I too have noticed a change in Halloween for grade schoolers costumes over the past couple of years. As girls grow older, their Halloween costumes tend to become more and more revealing. Some girls even state that Halloween is the one day of the year where it is socially acceptable to not wear very many clothes. However, there was always a stark difference between girls in their late teens and early twenties and girls in elementary and middle school. Yet recently, girls at a younger age have been dressing in “sexier” costumes as well. Often times, the costumes will show their bellies or have very short skirts. As more young girls begin to wear these types of costumes, other girls will also find them acceptable and may even be deemed “uncool” if they do not dress in a similar manner. The pictures in this blog post show young girls wearing costumes that give the girls a more grown up figure with their legs, waits and hips particularly accentuated. I noticed this change first hand while going trick or treating this year with my younger brother. I also observed the clear difference between girls and boy costumes. Boy costumes generally do not hold the same view of being “sexy” as the girls costumes do. As a result, girls grow up with the idea that their job is to look “hot” or “sexy.” This view then alters their perception of women and their role in society for the rest of their lives.
This is a little weird, isn’t it? But Halloween certainly isn’t the only time this sort of thing has happened. There are all those pageant shows that are becoming popular on television. I’ve seen some pretty disturbing stuff go down on those shows. I once watched an episode where a mother fixed her child’s dress to create the illusion of breasts because she was too young to have developed them and the amount of make up they put on those kids is disturbing. Some of the contestants on this show aren’t even in the double digits yet and they look older than me. Which is exactly what lower cut, more “adult” costumes are doing to kids. I wouldn’t say anything is out right sexy about this costumes, but I would say that kids are growing up much faster these days and if that wasn’t scary enough, they’re doing it with this terrible mindset that they have to be considered attractive by the general public.
Yes, it takes a lot of nails to keep you in, and this is just one nail in the coffin.
I do agree in society and ourselves is trending so that a girl should look “sexy” start at a early age. I personally see this because I have a little sister that always says how she doesn’t want to be fat. Sometimes she’ll say she want to go on a walk or eat less cause she’s getting fat, my sister is only 8 years old. To me this is sad because I don’t remember ever acting this way when I was a little girl. Over the years we’ll see this more and more. Hopefully it doesn’t get worse for the next generation. One question I do have is, what can we do to decrease this influence we are giving our younger once? For example, my sister, I wonder sometimes if she gets these ideas from my mother and I? It honestly concerns me because it can affect her over the years.
Yeah, unfortunately this seems to be happening at younger ages.
Looking at these pictures I can’t agree that these pictures are necessarily portraying young girl internalizing the idea of being “sexy” much more than the social standard for what is pretty. Obviously the pictures show that over time less fabric is being used to make these costumes and more flamboyant colors and lines are used but does it mean that these costumes became sexier? I do feel that this may reflect the younger generations evolving view on body image and what society tells them what they should look like. That being that they should be skinny, wear their hair in a certain way, or show a little bit of this or that. I agree that this can become a problem with a future generations, if it isn’t already, with society deciding the standard for what is pretty or even sexy.
If it were only these outfits the girls probably wouldn’t be internalizing that they should be sexy. But these outfits come in a context in which young girls are being bombarded by notions that they are supposed to be sexy. And so you end up with 10-year-olds trying to act sexy, like a “Related post” At the bottom of the text.
When I saw these images on both the post and in the article, I was taken back ten years ago when I was an upper elementary school student and looking at basically the same pictures in a Halloween catalog. Seriously, that sexy version of being a pumpkin was called “Pumpkin Spice” in that catalog. Unfortunately, this element of exposing sexy themes to young children has been in existence for at least that long, and it is sad how nothing has changed in more than a decade, or maybe the costumes have gotten worse. I remember many of my peers dressing to be certain characters that didn’t have to include really short skirts or incorporate a lower-cut bodice. I never followed the sexy look, and other girls I knew didn’t wear that type of costume. However, when girls became preteens, many of my peers changed their style in order to stick to the status quo. By eighth grade, half of the girls were strawberry or blueberry “tarts,” pun intended. I see the sexy Halloween costumes mostly in chain businesses, such as Party City, where they advertise that the only costumes available (and therefore popular) are ones that incorporate too much sexuality into a holiday that never originated with such a connection. This cultural phenomenon is all about making money and trying to alter the perspectives of the newest generations. And if the mothers of young children are not being educated of this impact, then their children will only grow to learn that the unmarried women’s role during Halloween is to be sex jokes. Mmmm, strawberry tarts…very tasty indeed.
I think it is crazy and sad how kids think these days but i think a lot of the influence comes from video games and society like in magazines they give us advice on how you should look also thee models in the pictures have “The perfect body” and also they have advice on how to be cute/sexy also tv commercials influences kids they see the appearance on tv and think thats the way they should look.
As others have mentioned, every single one of the modern costumes feature short skirts and the clown costume even features spaghetti straps on the top. Most of these costumes would not pass school dress code requirements. In fact, the modern costumes in the images on the right look like the women’s costumes normally labeled “sexy fill in the blank.” Children are being marketed to as if they are miniature adults. There is little difference between the styling of the children’s costumes and the styling of women’s costumes except perhaps that women’s costumes are even shorter.
Keeping in mind that Halloween is in late October and the weather is often cold, such skin-revealing costumes don’t even make sense for children. The focus for children’s costumes (and clothes) should never be to show skin. While others have commented that the modern costumes are cute, the focus of children dressing up perhaps shouldn’t be to be cute, especially if the definition of cute could be misinterpreted in any way as sexy. Perhaps the purpose is to have fun dressing up as a character and cute/sexy should never even enter into the issue. These modern costumes are simply not appropriate for children.
It’s ludicrous how much costumes have changed over the years. I’m 27 and I don’t remember ever wearing such sexualized costumes. In fact most of my costumes were made at home. I remember being a ghost, clown, witch, scarecrow, doll, cinderella and none of them showed too much skin, or any at all, even cinderella’s dress. My baby nieces had to wear long sleeve shirts and tights under their costumes because if they hadn’t they would’ve been showing too much skin and they would’ve of been freezing cold. Costumes are not really looking like what they are supposed to, instead they are altered to look sexier and cuter. And parents encourage this by giving them attention and telling them how cute they look. I do feel like these revealing costumes are teaching young girls how to be sexy. They aren’t just learning how to be sexy but are also learning to be aware of their bodies, their shapes and sizes. This is when they start comparing themselves to the girls/women in the media. And that is when it goes downhill, because comparing yourself to someone else is when you begin to have self-esteem issues.
Recently I went to DisneyLand for halloween and I was shocked on how many little girls had these “sexy” costumes on, yes in Disneyland! I was in shocked that first the parents were ok with this and secondly I question how fast we are continuing to implant this idea to little girls who will be women to be sexy and learn that being sexy is part of a woman’s norm in society. This not only is teaching young girls how to do gender in a whole different way but also it is a reminder that women are seen as only body and not mind as political activist and feminist, Simone De Beauvoir would say. For example, I seen this little girl probably between 8-9 years old wearing a go-go dancer outfit. Like the ones you would see at raves or some night club. I have to say it was disturbing because, the little girl had a very short dress on and with some furry boots that looked very uncomfortable especially walking around disney all day I can only imagine her foot pain after the day was over. Also she had a full face of makeup on and even though it was chilly had no sweater on. Now I am not for women to hide their beauty but come on a child showing too much skin is a bit out of control. Not only as parents are you forcing them to grow up faster by buying them adult like costumes your subconsciously letting little girls know they must be sexy. I believe a solution to this is held by the parents, simply don’t buy them costumes like this. Yes,it is “cute” and sometime funny to see kids like this but we don’t see the undercover damage we are placing upon them. It is up to the parent in not making “sexy costumes” for children a norm in our ever changing societies norms.
Girls these days are being brought up into a society that expects them to show more skin. Where it gets tricky is that when you show more skin you are labeled as a “slut” or “whore” while if you cover up you are called a “prude” or “virgin”. No matter how you dress, others will have something to say about it that is most likely negative. Growing up like that can be very difficult, and I know that from experience. Halloween costumers and getting skimpier and skimpier for the younger and younger. It is hard to say where it will stop or if it will stop at all. It really helps those who are oblivious with the pictures as you see how children have dressed for Halloween in the past 10 years, and to compare them to what children are being raised up with. Yet again, it was considered innapropriate to show even ankle in the 1900s, and now here we are with teenagers walking around in bikinis for everyday wear. Society is bringing these girls up the wrong way by saying that if they do not wear these revealing outfits that they will not be successful as the other girls who wear them. Everyone should be able to wear what they want and what they are most comfortable in: bikini or full sweatsuit. Nothing will stop the selling of these more revealing outfits because they will run into clothes that like soon enough in the next 5-10 years. At some point I would like to say it is good that they are exposed to it, but I would hate for anyone to feel pressured to wear something they weren’t comfortable in.
The definition of sexy depends on the individual actually. Just like these pictures, although the past costumes look more conservative, they retain children’s innocence. Today’s costumes are more delicate, but a lot of people think they are too hot and even some porn. In fact, it should also blame the Internet. The reason why others think it is hot for little children to wear is because the society conveys so many things with pornographic elements. For example, silk socks and lace, both of them have already been defined as the sexy and pornographic things by modern people. Even if a child just plays the role that he likes naively, for the adults, it would be bad. Although children do not understand, parents should protect their children well.
Thissss is SOOOOOO TRUE ! On halloween i took my nephews out and there were a bunch of little girls wearing some provocative clothing and i was getting sad because when i was yunger i was all warm coverd head to toe on halloween and i dont want too see young kids destroying themselves just cause the society tells them too . Whats the point of everyone being our own individuals when we are forced to looking sexy and have to be handsome and such
The differences are remarkable… I think this is all a result of the selfie culture (oh mirror who is the sexiest gal here?)… All the best to you, Georgia. Aquileana 😀
Probably contributes. Thanks.
Technology has been rapidly improved so children absorb a ton of information every day. Thus, they act like an adult at a tender age now. Movie, cartoon, star, people’s judgments, all those things play an important role in teaching children “sexy”. For instance, Tom Cruise’s daughter Suri often wears high heel shoes. Her appearance and fashion are praised by media and public. If a child see this news, she probably will imitate her in order to be praised. In summary, people are focusing too much on the children’s appearance, and their judgments to the children make children mature much earlier than before.
Yeah, and high heels aren’t good for you either. Not good for your knees.
It’s very concerning especially when they force that sexy image on certain costumes that have nothing whatsoever to do with it: according to costume makers for children female police officers wear short skirts, knee-high black leather boots and dangle the handcuffs from their index finger. It doesn’t matter that they don’t in real life but for reasons unknown to anyone if a child wants to be a female police officer for Halloween she has to show skin.
It’s sickening, parents should protest against those costumes.
Yes, they should!
What does this say for the parents who buy or will buy such costumes for their daughters? It makes me think of the mom’s who bring their insecurities or esteem upon their daughter’s lives. Like living through their daughters from something they didn’t do whether feel sexy at a young age or pageant they didn’t win and having their daughters do it instead. It makes me think of the, just as creepy little girl pageant competitions. There’s a show I think, toddlers and tiaras or something. Where these little girls are dressed in an adult and sexualized fashion, showing leg, hair and make up done like adults. Pretty creepy and I’m think why are you doing this to your daughters? Probably the same parents buying these costumes for their daughters.
Crazy parents. I don’t get it.
I seriously wonder how and why the trend changed gradually …the innocence of childhood is gone in this age of commercialization. In reality shows also they dress and behave like adults and try to look ‘sexy’.
I suspect money lies behind it. Sooner you get girls worried about looking sexy, the sooner you can start selling products to make them so. Pretty sad, really
Scary, indeed. The message to wear our sexuality outside on our skin rather is drummed in at such a young age- is it no wonder it’s hard to let go of that even when one tries?
So sad girls increasingly miss a childhood free from pressure to judged by how pretty/sexy they are!
I seriously wonder if some of these male ceos of these costume companies are secretly fricking pedophiles…just ridiculous.
It is ridiculous. But I suspect the motivation is more marketing than pedophilia. Teach girls from an early age to care about fashion, And being sexy, and you sell a lot more product throughout a girl-to-woman’s life. It’s not real good for women’s psychology.
Yeah, but these ceos are acting like pedophiles, sexualizing little girls. How can you do that without it seeming sick to you? They are providing perve material for pedophiles. It doesn’t excuse pedophiles actions or course, but do we really need to do creepy stuff and eroticize little girls for creepy men? Obviously this isn’t directly for such men, but promoting sexy like you said. But anyone with a brain knows the bi product of this can cause even more creepy men to feel justified in perving after little girls now or even more so. There are enough pedophiles as there are, just look at the sex offender registry and just about every city sees to have many sex offenders, especially regarding men looking a porn of children or minors or men who have had sex with minors or molested children. Even though it’s for promoting sexy, it sure feels actions like this, as a bi product or side effect only promotes pedophillia. VEry, creepy and bad. Children need a childhood and protection. Society is to protect our children, not endanger them.
Oh, I agree that it seems creepy and sick, too! Yes, we should seek to protect, not endanger our kids. Thanks for your thoughts.
I don’t fear girls internalizing “sexy”, as I’m not sure they all think of it that way. What bothers me and disturbs me the most is the creepiness of this all. It’s ironic, because I guarantee the businessmen and business women and CEos, affiliates of these clothing industries and fashion empires selling and designing these costumes. They are, I’m sure disgusted of pedophiles and sexual predators like I and everyone else is or you think they would be. Yet, they are making clothes and costumes, sexualizing little kid’s for crying out loud, making perverted clothes for little kids, which I think is creepy and disturbing and great perve material for pedophiles. Hypocrites, I don’t think they give a damn about kids, like you see many corporations put $ above people and the moral bar brought down once the though of profit is involved. Obviously this doesn’t excuse any sex offender, but what the hell are they doing sexualizing little kids? They should be dresssing like kids clothes and costumes, not like miniature women. Gross.
Well, by the time girls become women it’s unfortunately common for them to see themselves as being all about “sexy.” And this is one more thing that increases the feeling. When I was young girls weren’t under the same pressure to be pretty/sexy all the time. Girls increasingly are unable to have a free childhood separated from that pressure.
Did you see the “related post” below on one girl’s experience feeling pressured to be sexy in grade school? It’s called, “Grade school lingerie”
I’m honestly not convinced that kids do absorb the “sexy” message the way we fear they do. To me, the concern about clothes for kids under, say, 12 or so being sexy is a non sequitur because bodies of those ages are not sexy.(*) And that’s a good thing. I look at those costumes above and I think, “Oh, that’s cute!” Because their bodies are not sexy, the costumes are not sexy. As far as I’m concerned they could run around naked and they still wouldn’t be sexy.(**)
And I say this as a mom of two girls who are 11 and 8. My 8-year-old especially loves revealing clothes, not because they are sexy, but because they are comfortable on her 8-year-old body who has no breasts (yet) and who loves to do cartwheels, run around, and anything physical you can think of. Since my 11-year-old is starting to need a bra (i.e. her body is working toward being sexually mature), sexy is beginning to be a concern. We do enforce a fingertip length for skirts and adequate coverage for shirts (not sure if I could define “adequate coverage” for you other than “I know it when I see it”). But she’s not yet aware of being sexy and chooses clothes based on being fashionable and comfortable.
(*) Not even going to touch the fact that kid bodies are sexy for some people. They have a disorder and they are not the norm.
(**) A side point, but I would love to see a world where as a group we are more comfortable with the body and less uptight about policing it. Stop harassing moms who nurse in public and let the kids run around naked (I’m exaggerating but not by much).
Well, I’m not real curvy, myself, but I like to think I’m sexy, or can be if I want too. There are more ways to be sexy than showing cleavage. Kiera Knightly and Mila Kunis have been named sexiest women alive, despite a lack of curves.
See the “related post” about one girl feeling pressure to be sexy in grade school.
But there’s other visual cues that you’re a grown-up, I assume, such as the size of your head in relation to the rest of your body.
Well there are some points that are interrelated.
We live primarily in a world where meaning is symbolic. So what’s sexy? In our culture men go crazy with the breast fetish. In tribal societies women can be wearing nothing but a loincloth and they look like women — attractive women, perhaps, but nothing to go crazy over. Or, a certain waist-hip ratio is the most commonly found cue signaling attractiveness world-wide. Yet a short skirt showing leg, or a sheer skirt showing leg (as you see in the pictures) signal sexiness in our culture.
So a women could be wearing a dress that doesn’t reveal her hip-waist ratio, or her cleavage, or the curves of her but — like the flappers style of dress in the 20s — yet she could be seen as sexy with her short skirt. The symbolic meaning is more important than the biological cue.
That said, I want to make a distinction as to what men find attractive and what’s happening in girls’ heads, regarding these pictures.
Most grown men are not pedophiles, And I’m not worried that these sorts of pictures are going to make more men into pedophiles. So grown men would need some cue about age which would include things like being somewhere around 5 feet tall or taller, and having cheekbones. Because like I said, the 1920s flappers didn’t show other bodily cues, yet they were seen as sexy-modern.
What I am more concerned about is how girls internalize all of this.
For instance, the “related post” below called, “Grade school lingerie.” I see the main problem as girls learning that they are primarily judged by how sexy they are, and that who they are is primarily about being sexy. And feeling pressure to be sexy from a very young age. They grow up and being sexy seems to be the most important component of their self-esteem. And even when they get old enough to express their sexual side, appearing sexy is often more important than feeling sexual. And that leads to sexual dysfunction, Because they are so focused on how they look (which they may judge to be either good or bad) instead of how they feel. But mostly I’m concerned that girls start to internalize that they are all about looking sexy and little else.
Btw, thanks for the question. I’m sure many others have felt similarly so this gives me a chance to flesh out the points.
Its not just the way they dress it also the way they dance sexy n nasty does not look right n parents do nothing about. All they do is smile and clap there hands.
Yes, and there’s a lot more going on too. Barbie, Bratz, TV, movie, advertising images
I certainly don’t disagree that young girls are being taught the social importance of sexy, but what’s sexy about these costumes? Also if we look at many costumes for women considered ‘sexy’ there’s almost an infantalisation with it, dressing as a child as it were, (i.e. the Princess costume). I hold the view that if someone is say, too young, to be “sexy”, they are too young to be sexualised. – I’d really love your thoughts on this.
Showing some leg, and as with their elders they all have one skinny body type that is part of what we call sexy in this culture. More grownup hair styles. A bit like the “Little Miss” pageants. And sexy can be much more than showing cleavage. I worry it all gets absorbed. I know girls are worrying about their weight much younger than in the past. More fashion-conscious than in the past… More worried about how they look, generally. Evidence that the images sink in.
See the “related post” about one girl feeling pressure to be sexy in grade school.
The costumes are made to draw attention to slim waist, legs, create illusion of hips and a more grown up figure. Using lines, cuts, patterns to draw attention to certain body parts on women and to focus the eye on the body rather than the person’s face is done with women’s clothing all the time and now we’re doing it with young girls and it’s disturbing. They shouldn’t be in clothes that draw attention to their body and they definitely shouldn’t care about how their body looks at such a young age.
Also just like adult costumes, men and little boys costumes dress like the person they’re impersonating. As oppose to women and young girl costumes where they dress in a physically appealing version of the person they’re impersonating.
By the way, if I haven’t answered your question in a way that makes sense in this comment thread — and some of your answers might be contained in some of my other responses — let me know what I have left out. (And thanks for your thoughtful question.)