Costume Concerns

 

One of the recurring themes I find myself revisiting as I write about my experiences raising girls is my belief in letting them be whoever they want to be, to resist outside influence and gender stereotypes while at the same time trying not to devalue femininity. To teach my girls that it is OK to wear pink and dress like a princess when they want to, but also that there is no reason why they can’t be a knight as well.

I spend a lot of time reading, both on-line and off, and recently came across an article about the appropriateness of certain costumes for children, fully expecting it to be about the over-sexualization of costumes for little girls and issues with little boy’s costumes being too violent and gory. I figured I’d probably agree with some points, find a few others to be over-reactionary and move on to whatever I found next that appeared potentially interesting.

Instead I was presented with hyperbolic nonsense, a perfect rebuttal to my piece defending political correctnessย . It took multiple readings before I was positive that it wasn’t intended to be satirical. The author started by calling out Indian costumes as racist, an opinion I can agree with, lost me when she said military and policemen costumes promoted violence, and completely went off the rails by saying superheros were ableist and pirates promoted rape culture.

I’m aware that Captain Hook is no more representative of actual historical piracy than Hagar the Horrible is of the Vikings, but I don’t believe that a trigger warning should be required before posting this picture from a few years ago.

 

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This isn’t to say that reasonable conversations about children’s costumes and cultural appropriation are completely irrelevant. I don’t think an Asian household would be offended by a gaggle of ninjas knocking on their door, but I can’t help but cringe at store displays full of war bonnets and tomahawks, afro wigs and fake gold chains.

Last year my daughter was Captain America and I was proud of the fact that no reason ever occurred to her about why she shouldn’t be. It wouldn’t have surprised me at all if this year she had chosen Iron Man or Black Widow. But what if it had been Falcon or Black Panther? Her favorite X-Man is Storm and her weather powers. Would that still have been OK?

 

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I believe it would be fine. A recent conversation in a Dad Bloggers Facebook group quickly brushing aside any doubts and instead turning towards the celebration of the fact that there are now so many non-white characters that children have to emulate.

In the end we settled on a Punk Rock Vampire costume. Here at Thirsty Daddy we in no way endorse achieving immortality through the consumption of another’s hemoglobin. We apologize in advance to any persons, living or undead, who may take offence.

 

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28 thoughts on “Costume Concerns”

  1. It continually amazes me how quickly people come to offense. I have better things to do than to engage in a debate about your child’s Halloween costume. She’s a doll, by the way, and the costume is perfect! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Pirate costumers promote rape culture? Er, what? Superhero costumes are ableist? Mmmmm. I htikn the author of the article needs a reality check. My girls have a variety of costumes in their dressing up box. Some are male, some are female and they dress how they wish. The costumes include pirate costumes and superhero costumes and we have no problem with it.

  3. Love the punk rock vampire! Send her my way. I like how you actually think about issues, and that you work really hard to not portray stereotypes to your daughter. It is so much more fun to find out what they want, how they see things, and to get to know them better through their choices. And I have definitely learned a thing or two by listening to my kids explain why they chose one thing or another. Out of the mouths of babes.

    1. She fascinates me. It sounds weird, but one of my favorite things about being a parent is watching her mind develop. She’s like a three foot tall science experiment

  4. And this is why I will be mostly wearing a sheet! My little guys have little/no interest in costumes for halloween. A visit to the supermarket dressed as a turtle, yes…but not for halloween! #KCACOLS

    1. Mine dresses up all year long also. She’ll just randomly pull something out and decide that’s what she’s wearing for the day!

  5. Great post. All this political correctness nonsense boils my blood. Let kids be kids, they want to dress up because it’s cool and fun, they don’t think beyond that unless ‘grown ups’ start telling them otherwise. How can dressing as a policeman be promoting violence?! I think you’re doing a great job with your girls x
    #PoCoLo

    1. Thanks Alana. Thats a good point about sometimes adults making these things much more complicated than they need to be.

  6. Seems like what might have started off as a sensible statement (against racist outfits) went somewhat off the deep end. I’m really not sure how pirates promote rape culture! My son has a pirate ship – should I be concerned about that too. #KCACOLS

  7. Wow Pirates promote Rape Culture – really? Kids are kids at the end of the day. They don’t understand political correctness but I do agree it should be down to the parents to help them make responsible choices (like with most things in life!) #KCACOLS

    1. It seems like a bit of common sense should be enough to know what is or isn’t appropriate, but unfortunately not everyone seems to have that

  8. Great costume. For me the dressing up has nothing to do with political correctness, it’s about children having fun. No matter who they want to dress up as it is not them trying to make a statement, nor is it the parents making a statement.
    Great post Jeremy. Thanks for linking to #pocolo

  9. I am still laughing out loud at your closing sentences! My 7yo is set on being a vampire this Halloween (which is fine – I think she’s taking Hotel Transylvania as her cue), so I will be sure to point out this flip side to her in case anyone takes offense! ๐Ÿ™‚ lol (she will find it as funny as I did!)

    1. we’ve been watching the Hotel Transylvania animated series every morning over breakfast. If she wasn’t so obsessed with The Descendents right now I wouldn’t have been surprised if she went that route again

  10. Rule of thumb: Storm costume with wig and maybe some poppers to make sparks = awesome. Seriously, please do that thing. Storm costume complete with black face = please don’t. Seriously… don’t.

    Not that I need to tell you this. But… I’ve seen it. (I used to Halloween at a pop-up costume storeโ€”you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen.) If they can be pudgy white ninjas in Nikes, they can be anything.

    Quite aside from all that, your tiny pirate is the cutest damned thing ever, and I will fight to the death anyone who says otherwise. I’ll show ’em violent ๐Ÿ˜‰

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