Stop Sexualizing Little Girls on Halloween

Ah…Halloween. The time of year when everything is pumpkin spiced, candy is everywhere, and, of course, costumes for trick-or-treat and Halloween parties. There are all kinds of costumes from superheroes, to movie characters, to the various “sexy” versions of pretty much anything. This can range from nurse to librarian to movie characters, and many many more. Even though the “sexy” trope may not be everyone’s cup of tea, many people enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with that, provided that any sexualized characters are adults and are portrayed by an adult.

While browsing an online costume site, imagine my surprise and horror at what appeared. It seemed to be a sexualized version of the character “Eleven” from Stranger Things, who is portrayed by 13-year old Millie Bobby Brown.

Even though the costume is officially called “Upside Down Honey” and doesn’t directly reference the show, the reference to the barely teenaged character is clear, from the ruffled pink dress and blonde wig to the waffle purse. However, the changes to the costume are obviously trying to make it more “adult.” This includes thigh-high stockings and a high-low hem dress, which are very obvious differences from Eleven’s knee-length dress and ankle socks.

You might say, “So what? Let people wear what they want.”

Normally, yes. However, it is never okay to sexualize a child, whether they’re fictional or not. The sexualization of young girls has many very real and damaging consequences.

Besides contributing to the ongoing objectification of women and the pedophilic obsession with young bodies, increased sexualization of girls has led to feelings of shame about the body and anxiety, which has been linked to an earlier onset of smoking cigarettes among girls. Studies also show that there is an effect on mental and physical health and on the development of a healthy sexual self-image. For instance, the incidence of anorexia nervosa among teens and young girls can be directly linked to changes in idealized body image portrayed in media.

Halloween is a chance for people to dress up and pretend that they’re Wonder Woman or their favorite sports player. Women should be able to wear whatever ‘sexy’ or ‘unsexy’ costume they want. However, young girls should be allowed to make it through childhood without being sexualized in any way. Costumes like this that sexualize young female characters are not benefiting anyone.