Are Teenage Girls Costume To Sexy?

Sexy Halloween

 

Have you noticed the Halloween costumes marketed to teen girls? French maids, pussy cats, pirate wenches…

 

What’s the deal? When did Halloween become dress like a hooker night for high school girls?

 

Do You Have a Vision of What Halloween is “Supposed” To Be?

 

A quick review of the history of this holiday:

 

“All Hallows’ Eve revolves around the theme of using humor and ridicule to confront the power of death.”

 

Sex kittens don’t strike me as particularly funny, and I am pretty sure they’re not going to scare away the dead.

 

Of course, Halloween isn’t all bad. America has transformed the holiday into a festival of creativity and make believe.  The make up, the masks, and the chance to become your favorite alter ego can be a powerful opportunity for self-exploration – and fun!

 

But when creativity is sacrificed for the sake of sexuality, something important is lost.

 

Why Teenage Girls Are Sexing Up Halloween

 

Those sexy costumes that so many girls are squeezing themselves into show that they want to experiment with sexy. Halloween gives them a free pass to try out being a Victoria’s Secret pin up for just one night. They get a chance to explore how it feels and how people respond.

 

I don’t blame our girls. It’s nearly impossible to resist the constant messages that insist your value is dictated by your sex appeal.

 

But these choices are more than just a reflection of media bombardment.

 

Halloween is a time to experiment with different identities or versions of yourself. These costume choices are an expression of teens’ curiosity about who they are and who they can be. It’s an exploration of how to feel valuable and seen.

 

As a counselor for teen girls, this behavior is what really sparks my concern. I want girls to feel curious and engaged with all aspects of who they are: their intelligence, athleticism, voice, creativity, leadership, humor. I want them to investigate their interests in history, science, politics, and culture. Halloween is an opportunity to dig deep into what makes them passionate and unique.

 

It’s so sad that most teens’ experimentation is limited by the need to look hot.

 

The Alternatives to Rated R Costumes

 

Girls need a chance to explore their creativity and try on alter egos that go beyond sexy. They need an invitation – and maybe even permission – to do that.

 

What about being a beautiful lady from another era, an astronaut, a tree, her favorite candy bar, or author, a peacock an airplane, or… Sarah Palin? (Now that would be scary to the dead!)

 

Maybe that’s all too “boring”… And some might say that there’s some value in a teenaged girl trying out what it’s like to be “hot” – especially on the one night she can do so without being called a “slut.”

 

But here’s my response to those who say we should allow our girls to reveal as much skin as they want on Halloween…

 

Adolescence is a time when sexuality is awakened. Girls should absolutely be given a chance to explore that – in ways that offer positive, life-affirming experiences with their blossoming sexuality. And that certainly includes opportunities to dress in way that feels provocative.

 

But, so often the only conversation about sexuality they hear in their media-soaked lives is how to look sexy.

 

They’re not hearing about how to feel emotional connection, how to feel valuable, how to know what you want versus what your partner wants, how to explore pleasure and expect that first.

 

Instead, the messages focus on how to be visually pleasing to the opposite sex. Truth is, that’s misleading and gives girls (and boys) unrealistic expectations of what relationships really are. As adults, we know that pleasure and meaningful connection have little to do with how tight our pants are and how much cleavage we show.

 

How to Instil Confidence in Your Daughter this Halloween

 

So what can we do as her mother to model how to be a confident, whole person this Halloween night?

 

Most of the energy and fun of Halloween is in the creative process of making a costume. This

is a key place where you can step in and get involved as a parent.

 

Talk about costumes at the dinner table. What things could she be? What does she dream of?

 

How about taking her to a Halloween store that offer a broader selection than one of those chains that pop up in every strip malls this time of year? Or, you can head to the craft store together. Start the process by look at images online while sitting side-by-side.

 

Take This Chance to Exert Your Powerful, Positive Influence

 

I know you’re busy. This might seem like just one more set of “shoulds” that makes you wish you were doing more for your daughter.

 

But please don’t feel that way, you know you’re doing your best. Often a simple conversation with your daughter so she knows what you think about our sexualized culture and how you think she could respond to it’s presence in her life is enough.  The media machine is so powerful and it seems like it’s trying to diminish your influence on your daughter’s identity and values. This is a chance to use your influence to help your daughter discover a greater range of creative and possible identities in her life – I think you should take it.

 

A Mighty Girls Halloween Costume Guide is a great place to begin. This company is one of my most favorite purveyors of girl positive books and gear.

 

Trick Or Treat!, Josie Bohling,MFT

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