The last several Halloweens have found my girlfriends and myself complaining that all of the prepackaged Halloween costumes for women are always slutty- slutty cheerleader, slutty nurse, slutty Snow White, slutty post woman, slutty police woman, slutty Goldilocks (FOR GOD'S SAKES, GOLDILOCKS WAS A CHILD). News flash: not all of us want to be slutty on Halloween. Some of us don't want to wear a tiny swath of spandex with our Cinderella-cleavage bursting out for all to see. But, you know, that's how it goes sometimes.
Then I happened across this on a website called Back To Basics Toys. I like the website, I like a lot of the stuff they sell, I've never ordered anything from them but I was considering a few things for Reed's next birthday. But THIS! No no no no NO, I tell you!
I seriously cannot deal with this shit, this idea that our daughters (okay, YOUR daughters) are supposed to be wearing fifteen pounds of make-up and a skirt with a sexy slit and a low-cut neck by the age of twelve (the largest size is for a 12-year-old girl), much less by the age of EIGHT (the smallest size listed), you sick, twisted motherfuckers! Lord help us all, I think we are veering madly into some sick, crazy, regrettable territory.
In a world where all our television programming is infested with "Let's Catch a Scary Pedophile!" shows, where lists of people who are convicted sex offenders are available on the internet, are we really also saying "Let's dress our young girls, very young girls, girls that are certainly too young to be viewed sexually, in some sexy, sexy stuff! It's just so darned cute!" And then that poor girl who modeled the outfit. Good Lord! What was her mother thinking? And the website or manufacturer or whomever is responsible for this? "Let's put this picture on the internet, where it's safe and sound and certainly no sexual deviants abound!" Listen, I get that anyone who puts pictures of their kid on the internet risks someone looking at them in different ways and for different purposes than they intend. I get that I put tons of pictures on my kids on the internet. But for fuck's sakes, it's a little different when you're TARTING UP YOUR KIDS AND STICKING THEM ON HERE FOR ALL TO SEE. There's something intentional about it, see? There is a huge difference between me saying, "Look, here's my kid cutting his birthday cake in his bike helmet and Batman shirt!" and someone else saying, "Look, here's my kid, my young daughter, wearing enough make-up to play understudy to Tammy Faye Bakker and a low-cut dress with a high slit! Maybe one day she'll have some boobs to fill it out!" I don't know if you see a difference, but I see a difference.
Point is, it's grotesque, and I think we're asking too much from these young girls when we allow them to dress like grown-ups, like slutty grown-ups, and then telling them to be chaste and save it for marriage, expressing concern about std's and teen pregnancy, espousing these ideals about kids should be kids and they are all growing up too fast. It seems to me that we should be teaching these girls that they have power and ownership over their own bodies and the way that they present those bodies has a lot to do with the way that they are perceived by others. I think that when we take these girls and say, "Aw, look, it's so cute when they dress like grown-ups!" that some part of their childhood is lost, something slips away when they start to think "Hey, I get a lot of attention when I dress this way". And plenty of girls realize that at some point, but I think that they're realizing it a lot earlier these days, using it a lot earlier these days, and I think stuff like this has a lot to do with it.