Raina Delisle's 4-year-old daughter wanted to be a firefighter for Halloween. Great! But Delisle was in for a surprise at her local Halloween costume shop when she found traditional costumes for boys and sexualized versions for young girls.
First, the British Columbia-based mom found the boys' firefighter costume. The costume featured a smiling boy dressed in a red jacket, carrying an ax and donning the quintessential firefighter helmet. The costume for girls? It featured a little girl — one about the same age as Delisle's daughter — wearing a skin-tight mini-dress, a fashionable head-piece (in lieu of the helmet,) and calf-high, high-heeled boots — "not ideal for running into burning buildings, or trick-or-treating for that matter," Delisle wrote in her post on the topic for Huffington Post BC.
Delisle found a similar situation with many of the other costumes. From police officers to pumpkins, the costumes designed for young girls featured high-heeled, calf-high boots, shiny mini-skirts, and corset-style ribbon lace-ups.
"What kind of message do these costumes send to our girls? While the boys have costumes that look like the real thing, girls are expected to dress up in spoof ensembles, thus suggesting they can't, or shouldn't, do the real job. The costumes are not only 'sexy,' they're also sexist," Delisle noted in her post, which has since become the de facto credo for parents who are sick of sexualized costumes for young girls.
The store that sold these costumes has since pulled them from the shelves. Sara Gaugl, director of communications for Savers/Value Village, issued the following statement:
"Every year, we select our Halloween inventory based on feedback and demand from shoppers. We’ve taken the recent comments surrounding certain Halloween costumes sold in our stores very seriously, and as such, are removing this merchandise from our sales floors. We apologize to those who were offended, and as we move forward, we will evaluate all costumes and packaging keeping this specific customer feedback in mind."
Kudos to Delisle to tackling this issue head-on and taking a stand against the ridiculous hyper-sexualization of costumes for young girls.
Have you run up against similar issues when looking for a Halloween costume for your daughter? Check out Mighty Girls' Girl Empowerment Halloween Costume guide for costume ideas that your little girl will be thrilled to wear, and you'll be proud to support.
Related Halloween stories on MNN: