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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pornification of Halloween


by Tracee Sioux

Halloween has become S-E-X-Y. But, then so has innocence. If you deconstruct these costumes what about them becomes inappropriate? The pose? The make-up? The quantity of clothing?

I think it's the porn-star quality. Let's face it this photograph from a Newsweek article, titled Eye Candy, about how sexy girls' costumes have become.

I wouldn't describe it as sexy so much as it's quite simply a porn fantasy.

The titles of the costumes speak to pornification as well "Wayward Witch? You mean, the witch fantasy from porn? "Mis-Behaved" as in the title of a porno flick about a women's prison?

Is this commentary on our daughters or how sexualized girls have become? Maybe.

More likely, it's a symptom of how the porn industry has seeped so deeply into our cultural psyche that it no longer seems out of place to strip children of innocence. You're looking at the normalization of what was once considered deviant sexual fantasy (pedophilia) - it's just become normalized.

The scary part is - parents and girls are participating.

And it's almost impossible not to participate in some way. The fact is that virtually all girlness has become pornified. When deciding what the boundaries are for my own daughter I find them to be vague.

Do I outlaw the Dancing with the Stars oversized-sequined dress? What about the pumpkin leotard? Too much leg? A little too much make-up and she's JonBenet Ramsey. A tear in the dress and she's a street walker. Some midriff makes us think of a stripper. The heals? Is that what tips a dress over the edge into rap video territory?

Which then leads to the truth - it's not in my power to reverse the pornification of girlness. And really, it's not my daughter's job to make pervs and pedophiles and judgmental mothers look at her in an a-sexual way. That responsibility lies with them.

To criminalize what Lolita wears for Halloween - isn't that just more blaming the girl for thoughts and impulses originating with Humbert Humbert? Which, in fact, is entirely out of our control? And isn't this whole problem Vladimir Nabokov's fault for introducing child pornography into mainstream literature with the release of Lolita in 1955?

Of course, to be a good mother I carefully walk the line with a strict monitoring of the outfit, hair and make-up. It's vicious out there - but, mostly I'm not so afraid of what perverts will think - cause really they have the Internet and a club now (Nambla) and their thinking is already permanently f*ed up. I'm most worried about the judgement of other mothers whispering, I can't believe she let her daughter leave the house in that!

And yes, at last night's Halloween Trunk or Treat I did hear a Who lets their daughter come dressed as a hooker? and I also heard a Look there's JonBenet.

Unfortunately, I heard those things come right out the mouths of my husband and myself.

I didn't hear a single criticism of what a boy had chosen to wear for Halloween. They could have shown up in their underwear and no one would have been the least bit offended. This is a real double standard folks.

My friend Violet thinks perhaps after all those years of sexual repression Halloween has emerged to allow women to let out their inner-Harlot. I whole-heartedly agree with about adult women. I've certainly had to de-slutify my own costumes since mothering a daughter.

But, little girls - it's such a tight rope of acceptability they walk.

Oh, what did we wear? We had settled on a satirical costume as matching Dairy Queens, 1st Runner Up and Second Place. But, halfway out the door Ainsley stripped off her homemade beauty queen sash and declared herself a Princess.

Of course I let her - it is Halloween. Isn't the fun of it just being that which is forbidden?

13 comments:

Pickel said...

I have seen way too many of these costumes this year!

Karen_thrifty said...

A guy thinks whatever is uncovered is on the menu. So if it's not on the menu, you should keep it covered up. Guys are visual creatures. If you show them some cleavage, they imagine your breasts. A good book about this is Sexy Girls by Hayley DiMarco.

We started teaching our daughter to keep herself covered at about the age of 1 or 2. I want her to learn and desire modesty. When she is 14, hopefully I won't have to worry about her wanting to show off her breasts or midriff in an effort to be "cute", which in reality is just to get a guy's attention. That's not the kind of attention we want.

Tracee said...

The problem with that argument Karen is that there is now an entire porn industry built on exploiting innocence. Perhaps covering up solved the problem of "visual stimulation" a decade ago, but now there is a whole class of porn based on the girl who is covered up, who doesn't want it and who says no. It's rape porn and it's making it impossible to be "modest."

They don't just want what's "on the menu." They want what's expressly "Not on the menu" too.

Marye said...

Good post, Tracee...I think it starts with the media....I wrote this article last week:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Pathetic-Advertising

We don't do halloween, for personal reasons, but if we did then those costumes would not be on the menu for my daughters..maybe persoanlly later for hubs and I ;)
I agree that covered up is not going ot do it...there was a nun in her 70's last year that was raped in our area...
I believe it is the "me" attitude of our society that is seeking more intense experiences whatever the cost.

mom said...

I think with tweening and other marketing strategies, that kids are told 1) younger and younger that it's cool to be older and 2) that to be valued you must be an object of male sexual attention (for girls) or phisically intimidating(boys) and I think that the costumes reflect this -- kids want an opportunity to be that to which they aspire and the aspirations are incredibly problematic.

I think Halloween is a revealing moment (no pun intended), in that it reveals what kids wish to be at some level, and those wished are inextricably entwined with a toxic media culture.

This is turning into a post - sorry. I'll go back to my own blog now.

Tracee said...

I think that's pretty apt Mom. For a second I wondered if you were MY mom, until you said you had a blog.

It's a little upsetting that all girls are taught to want is to be a sexual object.

mom said...

Maybe I am your Mom, how well do you know her secret life?

I love your blog. This was my first visit and I immediately decided you were blogroll material -- that's practically like being spongeworthy!

I'll be ba-ack.

Tracee said...

Marye,

There is no question that child pornography and advertising the sexuality of little girls is completely about selfishly getting off at any cost.

Does it start with the media? I don't know. I think maybe it translates in the media and starts in our thinking.

jen said...

The movie "Mean Girls" pegged it.

"Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."

Sad.

Tracee said...

Mom, You're right I can't think of a better compliment than spongeworthy! Come back anytime.

Jen we've got plenty to say about it. My husband and I called little girls JonBenet and Hookers - that's pretty awful.

Violet said...

Adulthood these days includes sexual freedom and enjoyment - nice girls finally can. But how do we enjoy that but still protect our kids from the adult world they are not ready for?

I know I feel confused. Am I supposed to feel guilty for being sexual because (although not directly) negative versions of the messages filter down to young women?

And I agree, what constitutes "slutty?" Sometimes it's obvious, but sometimes its confusing. I saw a teen wearing a bo peep outfit on the news and her mom defended it by saying the dress was no shorter than a pair of shorts. She had a point, and yet I thought her daughter looked like a porn fantasy.

Sometimes I am so relieved not to have children. You moms have a lot to deal with, and I admire all your efforts.

blue milk said...

Good post and hope you don't mind me saying but you two look sooooo cute too.

Tracee said...

I think a major component of the problem is not how girls are dressing.

It's that porn has turned everything about girls into sexual consumption. So, yeah that Little Bo Peep would probably have seemed innocuous 20 years ago. But, now it's pornified. Now the girl who wears it is "asking for it."

I just have to point out it wasn't girls who did this. It was people exploiting girls who did it. But, the girls are the ones carrying the responsibilty and tip toeing across the ice.

Too much make-up? Whore.
High Heels? Slut.
Short Skirt? Hooker.

It's more about the pornographers and their tendency toward pedophelia.

As parents we want to stop it - but since we can't control them we try to protect our daughters by covering them up. I just don't think it's effective anymore because for them, rape and exploitation is a turn-on not a turn-off.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pornification of Halloween


by Tracee Sioux

Halloween has become S-E-X-Y. But, then so has innocence. If you deconstruct these costumes what about them becomes inappropriate? The pose? The make-up? The quantity of clothing?

I think it's the porn-star quality. Let's face it this photograph from a Newsweek article, titled Eye Candy, about how sexy girls' costumes have become.

I wouldn't describe it as sexy so much as it's quite simply a porn fantasy.

The titles of the costumes speak to pornification as well "Wayward Witch? You mean, the witch fantasy from porn? "Mis-Behaved" as in the title of a porno flick about a women's prison?

Is this commentary on our daughters or how sexualized girls have become? Maybe.

More likely, it's a symptom of how the porn industry has seeped so deeply into our cultural psyche that it no longer seems out of place to strip children of innocence. You're looking at the normalization of what was once considered deviant sexual fantasy (pedophilia) - it's just become normalized.

The scary part is - parents and girls are participating.

And it's almost impossible not to participate in some way. The fact is that virtually all girlness has become pornified. When deciding what the boundaries are for my own daughter I find them to be vague.

Do I outlaw the Dancing with the Stars oversized-sequined dress? What about the pumpkin leotard? Too much leg? A little too much make-up and she's JonBenet Ramsey. A tear in the dress and she's a street walker. Some midriff makes us think of a stripper. The heals? Is that what tips a dress over the edge into rap video territory?

Which then leads to the truth - it's not in my power to reverse the pornification of girlness. And really, it's not my daughter's job to make pervs and pedophiles and judgmental mothers look at her in an a-sexual way. That responsibility lies with them.

To criminalize what Lolita wears for Halloween - isn't that just more blaming the girl for thoughts and impulses originating with Humbert Humbert? Which, in fact, is entirely out of our control? And isn't this whole problem Vladimir Nabokov's fault for introducing child pornography into mainstream literature with the release of Lolita in 1955?

Of course, to be a good mother I carefully walk the line with a strict monitoring of the outfit, hair and make-up. It's vicious out there - but, mostly I'm not so afraid of what perverts will think - cause really they have the Internet and a club now (Nambla) and their thinking is already permanently f*ed up. I'm most worried about the judgement of other mothers whispering, I can't believe she let her daughter leave the house in that!

And yes, at last night's Halloween Trunk or Treat I did hear a Who lets their daughter come dressed as a hooker? and I also heard a Look there's JonBenet.

Unfortunately, I heard those things come right out the mouths of my husband and myself.

I didn't hear a single criticism of what a boy had chosen to wear for Halloween. They could have shown up in their underwear and no one would have been the least bit offended. This is a real double standard folks.

My friend Violet thinks perhaps after all those years of sexual repression Halloween has emerged to allow women to let out their inner-Harlot. I whole-heartedly agree with about adult women. I've certainly had to de-slutify my own costumes since mothering a daughter.

But, little girls - it's such a tight rope of acceptability they walk.

Oh, what did we wear? We had settled on a satirical costume as matching Dairy Queens, 1st Runner Up and Second Place. But, halfway out the door Ainsley stripped off her homemade beauty queen sash and declared herself a Princess.

Of course I let her - it is Halloween. Isn't the fun of it just being that which is forbidden?

13 comments:

Pickel said...

I have seen way too many of these costumes this year!

Karen_thrifty said...

A guy thinks whatever is uncovered is on the menu. So if it's not on the menu, you should keep it covered up. Guys are visual creatures. If you show them some cleavage, they imagine your breasts. A good book about this is Sexy Girls by Hayley DiMarco.

We started teaching our daughter to keep herself covered at about the age of 1 or 2. I want her to learn and desire modesty. When she is 14, hopefully I won't have to worry about her wanting to show off her breasts or midriff in an effort to be "cute", which in reality is just to get a guy's attention. That's not the kind of attention we want.

Tracee said...

The problem with that argument Karen is that there is now an entire porn industry built on exploiting innocence. Perhaps covering up solved the problem of "visual stimulation" a decade ago, but now there is a whole class of porn based on the girl who is covered up, who doesn't want it and who says no. It's rape porn and it's making it impossible to be "modest."

They don't just want what's "on the menu." They want what's expressly "Not on the menu" too.

Marye said...

Good post, Tracee...I think it starts with the media....I wrote this article last week:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Pathetic-Advertising

We don't do halloween, for personal reasons, but if we did then those costumes would not be on the menu for my daughters..maybe persoanlly later for hubs and I ;)
I agree that covered up is not going ot do it...there was a nun in her 70's last year that was raped in our area...
I believe it is the "me" attitude of our society that is seeking more intense experiences whatever the cost.

mom said...

I think with tweening and other marketing strategies, that kids are told 1) younger and younger that it's cool to be older and 2) that to be valued you must be an object of male sexual attention (for girls) or phisically intimidating(boys) and I think that the costumes reflect this -- kids want an opportunity to be that to which they aspire and the aspirations are incredibly problematic.

I think Halloween is a revealing moment (no pun intended), in that it reveals what kids wish to be at some level, and those wished are inextricably entwined with a toxic media culture.

This is turning into a post - sorry. I'll go back to my own blog now.

Tracee said...

I think that's pretty apt Mom. For a second I wondered if you were MY mom, until you said you had a blog.

It's a little upsetting that all girls are taught to want is to be a sexual object.

mom said...

Maybe I am your Mom, how well do you know her secret life?

I love your blog. This was my first visit and I immediately decided you were blogroll material -- that's practically like being spongeworthy!

I'll be ba-ack.

Tracee said...

Marye,

There is no question that child pornography and advertising the sexuality of little girls is completely about selfishly getting off at any cost.

Does it start with the media? I don't know. I think maybe it translates in the media and starts in our thinking.

jen said...

The movie "Mean Girls" pegged it.

"Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."

Sad.

Tracee said...

Mom, You're right I can't think of a better compliment than spongeworthy! Come back anytime.

Jen we've got plenty to say about it. My husband and I called little girls JonBenet and Hookers - that's pretty awful.

Violet said...

Adulthood these days includes sexual freedom and enjoyment - nice girls finally can. But how do we enjoy that but still protect our kids from the adult world they are not ready for?

I know I feel confused. Am I supposed to feel guilty for being sexual because (although not directly) negative versions of the messages filter down to young women?

And I agree, what constitutes "slutty?" Sometimes it's obvious, but sometimes its confusing. I saw a teen wearing a bo peep outfit on the news and her mom defended it by saying the dress was no shorter than a pair of shorts. She had a point, and yet I thought her daughter looked like a porn fantasy.

Sometimes I am so relieved not to have children. You moms have a lot to deal with, and I admire all your efforts.

blue milk said...

Good post and hope you don't mind me saying but you two look sooooo cute too.

Tracee said...

I think a major component of the problem is not how girls are dressing.

It's that porn has turned everything about girls into sexual consumption. So, yeah that Little Bo Peep would probably have seemed innocuous 20 years ago. But, now it's pornified. Now the girl who wears it is "asking for it."

I just have to point out it wasn't girls who did this. It was people exploiting girls who did it. But, the girls are the ones carrying the responsibilty and tip toeing across the ice.

Too much make-up? Whore.
High Heels? Slut.
Short Skirt? Hooker.

It's more about the pornographers and their tendency toward pedophelia.

As parents we want to stop it - but since we can't control them we try to protect our daughters by covering them up. I just don't think it's effective anymore because for them, rape and exploitation is a turn-on not a turn-off.