By Dannah Gresh
There's something much scarier at the end of October than zombies and black bats... maybe you've seen it? Costumes for girls are sexy. What happened to sweet princesses, kitty cats, and cowgirls? This disturbing trend in the "pornification" of children's Halloween costumes has to be addressed by every mom. Here are five reasons you should say "no" to sexy costumes.
5.) Sexy costumes for girls are sexist. While our boys can become Spiderman, The Hulk, and Joe the Fireman, our girls face a bigger challenge. "Sexy," adult-like costumes are being marketed to our little girls. I'm sure you've seen them. Costume choices for tweens include: Harem Girl, French Maid, Police Girl (complete with fishnets and fingerless gloves), and Dreamy Genie - bare midriff and all. (Yes, these come in small sizes for young girls.) Why the contradiction? It's sexist. Though I believe men and women are created differently and have different gifts and abilities they bring to this world, I also don't like it when the girls (or the boys) take a hit in unfair and unnecessary ways. This is one that has to go.
4.) The sexy costumes aren't really for her. The normally sexy Cosmopolitan magazine for women went on a modesty rant a few years ago. Here's what they published concerning the costumes marketed at girls: Now might be a good time to have another talk about the concepts of dressing for men, dressing for other women, and dressing for yourself. And teenagers, here's a bit of wisdom from someone with decades more life experience: if there's one male demographic that doesn't need skanky outfits to pay attention to the opposite sex, it is the teenage male. Your male counterparts are pretty much interested — and very interested — in you no matter what. Adolescent males are hard-wired to notice girls, so why not make sure they notice you, instead of just your sexy cop costume?" Costume-dressing is a great opportunity to teach your daughter that there are only two people to please when she's getting dressed: herself and God. (Ok, for right now, mom and dad get a vote, too.)
3.) Giving in to sexy costumes overrides a great opportunity to teach her to stand up against peer pressure. The New York Times printed an article lamenting the sexy costumes. One case study showcased a 17-year-old senior at high school in New York City, who discussed her costume in advance with her mother. “I already had a cropped pink jacket because I had been a Pink Lady in a production of Grease. My mom suggested that I wear it with an old poodle skirt she had. But I got stressed out because the skirt was ankle-length, and even though I didn’t want to be judged a ‘thot’” (a synonym for “slut” that stands for “that ho over there”) — “or a ‘slut,’ I also didn’t want to be the only girl who was all covered up. My mom was cool about it. She understood. I ended up wearing the jacket with black leggings.” Yikes! I think that mom missed a great opportunity to teach her daughter to stand up against the empty-headed mindless crowd. What other things should a girl give in to?
Of course, this specific article was an op-ed piece designed to help moms say "yes" to the sexy skirt or lack thereof. And you'll find a myriad of articles about why it's a good thing to let your daughter go sexy on Halloween. So, prepare to stand up to some peer pressure yourself if you're going to say "no" to this. The Bible urges us: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will." (Romans 12:2) Let's live that out!
2.) Telling her it's ok to let go of decency and dignity for one night makes no sense at all. Very few parents would let their daughter dress like playboy bunnies for real. So why do we let them do it for one night? (OK, to be fair, not that many girls are attempting to emulate Regina George in Mean Girls for Halloween.) But even the sexy M&M sends a message that's just senseless. Do you want your daughter to be respected as a woman of decency and dignity? She needs to live that out consistently. And as a parent, it's insanity to send the message that it's ok to go crazy for one night and not experience consequences. Matthew 5:37 encourages us to let our "yes" be "yes" and our "no" be "no." Don't compromise. Stand true to what you believe about her dignity every day of the year.
1.) Sexy costumes are just as scary as the dark and demonic ones. God's Word invites us to have "nothing" to do with darkness. (Ephesians 5:11). While you may attempt to redeem Halloween by hosting your own Trunk or Treat in your local church parking lot, we have to be very careful about how we participate in something that is rooted in the opposite of God's goodness and holiness. There are basically three categories of costumes on Halloween: scary, sexy, or funny. Only one of those seems like it's avoiding the darkness. Go for fun and funny.
Here are some tips to consider when costume shopping and planning:
Ask your daughter what costume she would like. Communicate before you get to the store or start putting together a look! Does she want to be a Doctor? Cheerleader? Pirate? When the two of you agree on one, it can help narrow down your searching as well as limit much of the arguing!
Follow your family's regular preferences for dignity and modesty. If possible, try a costume on before purchasing. If not, carefully analyze the photo and have your daughter consider your family's regular guidelines. This will help her distinguish what is popular from what is proper.
If you find a costume that's a maybe... Sizes vary as do the availability of costumes. You may not find the perfect one. That's ok! With a few extra touches, many "questionable" costumes can be made more appropriate.
- For low necklines, add a turtleneck underneath.
- Wear leggings under short skirts or dresses.
- Select a boy's costume and add a simple, DIY tulle tutu!
- Make your costume together! What a fun mom+daughter date this could be! Pick a pattern, gather some fabric, search your daughter's closet... you never know what kind of costume you can create! Get ideas here!
Tasteful and appropriate modesty always sends a message...one that says you can have fun while remaining set apart and tasteful!
"Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." 3 John 1:11
Our True Girl theme verse:
"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32
Mom, the best way to teach your daughter to live like an authentic True Girl is to live like an authentic True Woman. And to do that, you've got to get your life lined up with the Truth of the Bible. Listen to Dannah Gresh every weekday on Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth's Revive Our Hearts podcast. The program features biblical teaching, interviews that offer godly advice, and other opportunities to abide in God's Word.
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