Let me start by saying that before I had two male children, I MAY have labored under the delusion that all sex-typed behavior was due to nurture rather than nature. I was sure I would have enlightened boy children who gave equal attention to trucks, toy guns, and dolls.
Nine years, twenty five Nerf guns, several hundred rounds of foam dart ammunition, and countless hours spent longing for decent hearing protection later, I have come to realize that boys and girls are indeed different in many ways that have nothing to do with societal expectations.
Boys and girls are also nowhere near as different as a parent might be led to believe when shopping for a halloween costume. Yes, there have been great strides - the news that Disney will no longer market their costumes to specific genders is welcome indeed. But it's still a fucking problem, and one that makes me crazy. OK, crazier.
(As a child in the 70s, I often longed for "boy" toys, such as an X-Wing Fighter and a TIE Fighter and the enormous Death Star, but it never even occurred to me to ask for stuff like that so I never got any which is probably contributing to how mad this all makes me, but whatever.)
There has apparently been much Internet buzz lately about a police officer Halloween costume, or rather two police officer Halloween costumes. One for a boy, which I imagine looks like a police officer costume, and one for a girl, which apparently looks like something one might see on the stripper who shows up at a bachelor party.
I'll be honest, I haven't seen either one. I haven't even looked. I'm very busy browsing Craig's List for things I don't need and planning DIY projects for the house and wondering why the laundry is NEVER EVER DONE and frankly I don't have to look to be fairly certain that the little girl costume is beyond inappropriate and why make myself sad?
My point (yes, there is one) is that it's not just the blatant sexualization of little girls by big companies that mass produce Halloween costumes. I saw this on Pinterest the other day, and my heart broke a little:
She wants to be BATMAN! This is not a Batman costume. Even the small child who is going to have to wear it knows enough to say OUT LOUD that it looks too much like a princess - "lol"!
I get it. I have two boys and I long (LONG) for a daughter to dress in tutus and bows, and I buy such items with reckless abandon for my Goddaughter (who, alas, by age three already had her own boho chic look going on and isn't much interested in my gifts).
But don't force your daughter to be a princess when she wants to be a superhero.
And lest you think there are no tutu-free options for girls who want to be Batman for Halloween, behold:
The same Pinterest search I had to do to re-find the original sad-making tutu pin turned up this awesomeness (OK, the gogo boots are a bit much but jeez, stop bitching about EVERYTHING):
This Batman won't get any fancy gadgets caught up in layers of tulle while battling bad guys and keeping Gotham safe.
So there are options. Ones that don't involve "princess-izing" whatever it is that your little girl actually wants to be for Halloween. I beg mothers and fathers out there to consider these options.
In closing, I want to give a shout out to my ex-mother-in-law. When Ted was seven, he wanted to be his favorite superhero for Halloween. His favorite superhero was Wonder Woman. And God bless his mother, she got him an awesome Wonder Woman costume that he wore with pride, along side his tiny four-year-old sister who that year opted to be King Kong. There exists a picture from that night which is truly priceless.
And if this shit is still going on now, I can't imagine it was a no-brainer for a suburban mom in the 70s to let her firstborn son wear a "girl" costume, and to do it without making him feel ashamed or awkward or anything but psyched about Halloween (really, the picture is worth a thousand words).
So mad props to Ted's mom, and here's hoping there are more and more moms like her out there willing to let their kids be whatever the hell they want for Halloween (unless it's that stripper police officer costume because just no).
In case you are wondering - and I KNOW you are - Andrew and William will once again be going as Clone Troopers. Blasters and all. I tried to get them to be 80s rappers, with track suits, Kangol caps, and a huge stereo I was going to make out of cardboard, and they seriously considered it for a while but the Force is strong in those two and I lost out to Commander Cody and and an ARF Trooper.
Such is life.