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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, Halloween costumes and t-shirt designs scream same societal expectations as toy stores

Dear Daughters,

On the same shopping expedition on which I was bombarded with messages from the toy store on what society expects from its male and female citizens, I did not get any relief in the clothing section or the seasonal section of a different store. In fact, I got the same messages loud and clear from t-shirts and Halloween costumes.

Upon entering the clothing section I noted that once again there were two distinctive sections clearly indicating the t-shirts marketed towards boys and the t-shirts marketed towards girls. Once again the color contrast was obvious – grey, black , red and blue for boys and pink, purple and blue for girls. On the front of the t-shirts intended for boys were super hero after super hero and for girls – princess after princess or for variety, a cute animal. Again the message is clear – boys need to be brave, powerful and strong, girls need to be sweet, beautiful and/or adorable.

Tshirts marketed towards boysBrave, powerful and strong

T shirts marketed towards girlsSweet, beautiful and/or adorable

Since middle dear daughter is having a SpongeBob Square Pants party, I decided to search for SpongeBob Square Pant t-shirts for you, my dear daughters, to wear. Would you believe that I could not find any of them in the section clearly intended for girls? No, I had to wander into the “boy” section. There I found three SpongeBob t-shirts that I purchased for the party. At the beginning of last month middle when we were shopping, you, middle dear daughter, had seen SpongeBob underwear for boys. We checked the girls’ underwear section and not surprisingly, there were no SpongeBob underwear for you to buy.

Once finished in the clothing section of the store I moved on to the seasonal section where I shopped for Halloween costumes for you, my dear daughters. Eldest dear daughter, you already had most of what you needed to transform into Harry Potter, but you, my middle and youngest dear daughters, you both needed most everything to transform into devils.

My understanding of how Halloween works is that people can dress up to be whatever they want to be! Besides getting free candy simply for knocking on someone’s door, this is the best part of Halloween! With this reasoning there should be no separation of the Halloween costumes in the store whatsoever should there? You would think not but there was. The costumes are clearly separated into two sections – those costumes marketed towards boys and those marketed towards girls. They convey the same message as the toys and the t-shirts – boys should be brave, strong and powerful and girls sweet, beautiful and/or adorable and…sexy????

With my focus on devil costumes I discovered that in the section marketed towards girls only devil dresses were an option. As luck would have it, both of you told me you preferred a devil dress over a devil suit.

While searching for the devil dresses, what struck me the most was the pose of the models on each Halloween costume. It did not matter if the costume was for devils, witches, dead brides or Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz – when not being posed as overly sweet and adorable, each female model had one hand on their hip and their legs shoulder width apart with one foot turned slightly outward, in what I consider a much more sexy pose than young girls should be striking. I looked on the other side of the aisle to the “boy” costumes and the male models, when not being posed as super scary, all had both hands on their hips, legs shoulder width apart and their chest puffed out. Even Scooby Doo struck this pose!

ScoobyDoo costume

Scooby Doo

 

Devil costume

Devil dress costume for 5-7 year olds

 

Darling Devil Costume

Darling Devil costume for ages 8 – 10

Take a look for yourself when shopping for Halloween costumes! Also note the descriptions of the costumes themselves. Two of the devil costumes I saw for girls were called “Darling Devil” and “Devil’s Delight”. As far as I understand there is supposed not supposed to be anything darling or delightful about devils. But that’s what society seems to be saying girls should be – even while dressed as a devil on Halloween night.

 

 

 

 

 

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