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Monday, October 27, 2008

Empowering Girls Halloween Costume Contest

1chinese.jpg

If you're new here allow me to introduce myself. I'm Tracee Sioux and this is a website about girls. We are growing powerful girls here.

We challenge hyper-sexual marketing and advertising and confront mean girl behavior and find tools to instill great self esteem and body image.

Have you seen the stories about the Pornification of Halloween with alarming photos of girls who look more like porn fantasies than girls playing dress up?

88C29E4B-5A44-4878-9F53-DB54D895EAD3.jpg

I wrote one of them last year.

That was before I read So Sexy So Soon by Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. and Jean Kilbourne Ed.D. which clearly explained that girls haven't become hyper-sexualized at all. Marketers and Advertisers have become hyper-sexualized in an attempt to exploit children's inherent innocent sexuality for profit.

This year when I went to Amazon Associates to look at their Halloween Widgets I saw the hyper-sexual photos of girls' costumes and instead of being angry that girls have become too sexualized . . .

This year, I thought this has nothing to do with our GIRLS.

This is MARKETING.

The girls did not become sexier - the marketing started encouraging girls to buy sexier products. There is a huge difference.

Girls had nothing to do with this.

Parents had nothing to do with this.

* My daughter didn't make the costume. The Costume company did.

* Your daughter didn't dress another little girl in the costume and put her photo on Amazon for everyone to freak out over. The Marketer did.

* Parents didn't pose the girl model provocatively for the photograph on the packaging that resembles child pornography.The photographer did.

* I, as a mother, am not marketing provocative costumes for my child to wear. I'm not even buying those costumes and if I could convince other parents to wake up to bad marketing intentions other parents wouldn't buy it either.

All the hype is marketing.

This type of marketing is incredibly disrespectful to all girls. It's incredibly disrespectful to parents.

It's intentionally closer and closer to pornography because of the fundamental marketing premise "sex sells." Even innocent children are attracted to sexual imagery. That doesn't make them less innocent, it makes them human.

Girls and their parents should be so angry that marketers would stoop to this level that we should STARVE them out. Do. Not. Buy. These. Costumes!

This is exploitation of girls in marketing for profit.

What are girls REALLY wearing on Halloween?

Are they all in touch with their "inner Lolita" as this marketing, and the inflammatory news reporting about the marketing, suggests?

I don't know. I suspect not. Let's find out.

Email me (traceesioux@yahoo.com) a photo of your daughter's Halloween Costume by Nov. 2 and you are entered to win.

I'll publish them on Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me and we'll just see -

- Have our daughters really become hyper-sexual or are we allowing marketers to project that identity on them and sully their reputations?

Seagate_FA_Go_redjpg.jpg

Seagate has offered to give one Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me reader a FreeAgent GO sleek portable hard drives worth $150.

I'll choose the best costume and that person will win the prize.

Oh and make sure you subscribe to Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me because we're going to focus on how to create a meaningful and joyful holiday season without touching a credit card or giving our hard-earned money to companies who disrespect girls.

More giveaways at the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

24 comments:

Whirlwind said...

Oh I agree it's definitely a marketing strategy, but we, as parents have the control still over what we will buy. And I will not buy anything I deem inappropriate. Most of the time, the girls do not complain - the only time I heard an argument was their want for bikini's like their friends. This year, some came home in a bag of hand-me-downs, but the girls accepted the rule that they were for home only.

It's one reason I love uniforms for school - no arguments and they are appropriate. My oldest has been striking poses when I take her picture, but I usually tell her to act normal, or I won't take her picture.

I'll be posting their Halloween picture's Wednesday but I will try and remember to send a picture.

Lisa @ Corporate Babysitter said...

Tracee, great post and wonderful idea. We'll send photos.

Sharla said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Sadly, I don't have any daughters, only four boys. I wish I could send you pictures. Can I send a picture of me? ;) We just had a Halloween Carnival and I didn't see any girls dressed inappropriately.

Emily said...

I don't have any girls quite yet, mine will be born in March. I'm scared to deliver a girl into this market driven society. My husband is a youth pastor, though, so we definitely deal with this stuff all the time. I just wanted to encourage you in what you're doing, it's great!

Tricia said...

Thank you for bringing this problem to light. My daughters are all grown up now, but I remember thinking the same thing when they were young; not just with Halloween costumes, but with clothing in general.

Tracee said...

Sharla - heck yeah you can can send a picture of YOU!

Emily - you can send a picture of your tummy decorated. I painted mine like a jack-o-lantern when I was pregnant with Zack.

Nicole said...

My dd is going as Darth Vader this year. Nothing sexual about that! I don't think we've taken a picture yet. I'll try to send it from my phone... bcmommytwojayden at yahoo dot com

Jennifer said...

I don't have a daughter yet, but I can guarantee you that when I do she won't be a sexy anything for Halloween! So many people complain about how the young girls are being sexualized so early, but then they go ahead and buy those items that they were complaining about! If you don't want your daughter to look like a preteen hooker, don't buy the clothes that make her look that way! It might make you unpopular, but someone has to stand up for our girls' innocence!

Tracee said...

LOL Darth Vadar!

suzannah said...

this point was made in "mean girls" about how girls put on something trashy, add animal ears, and call it a costume--but at least those girls were in high school. (not that aspiring to be a vixen at sixteen is so awesome.) the pictures you posted of sexualized pre-teen costumes really are awful.

marketing can create a "need," but ultimately the responsibility is on parents who support that kind of crap with their checkbooks. sexxy junk for kids flies off shelves because people want it. helping parents identify that desire as something manipulated, harmful, and damaging to children is perhaps the bigger challenge in getting consumers to demand change in what is marketed to children.

Tracee said...

ultimately the responsibility is on parents - I don't think I agree with this.

See, I've been "not buying it" and yet all this marketing is still effecting me and my kids.

Not buying it isn't good enough.

We need to hold marketers accountable.

I guess I disagree that "ultimately it's the parents responsibility" - it would only be true if parents were capable of controlling it.

We are not doing it - creating the marketing - so we can't stop doing it.

I believe Ultimately it's the marketers' responsibility because they are the ones doing it and parents need to hold them accountable.

I encourage every parent to do so.

suzannah said...

yes, marketing needs to change, and the onus is on parents and consumers to abstain from purchasing junk AND to hold marketers accountable. until we can demonstrate that it isn't profitable to market sleaze to kids, they will continue to do so--we can't hope and wait for them to grow a conscience. the goal of marketing to to create a perceived "need", but ultimately they supply what we demand, and we should organize to demand something different and better.

thanks, tracee, for highlighting this problem. too often we as consumers consume mindlessly, and identifying these destructive messages is the first step in changing individual behavior, which influences collective behavior and changes markets. thanks for such a thoughtful post and conversation.

Talina said...

I am a dance teacher and don;t have a daughter yet but I do have a very creative and empowering costume I want to share...

One of my female teen students wanted to break the mold and not dress all sexy for Halloween, her costume of choice was a full suit... Completely made of duck tape. How smart and fun is that? It looked amazing too!

Tracee said...

Susanna - I definately agree that parents shouldn't buy this stuff.

"they supply what we demand"

I honestly don't think the demand preceded the marketing in this case.

I think parents were taken by surprise and operated on the erroneous assumption that children's companies toys and costumes and games wouldn't sell things that are bad for kids.

Parents are wrong about that and should wake up.

But, parents and girls did not create this problem by demanding "sexier" products for our girls. It was thrust upon us.

fancyfeet48 said...

I definately agree that parents shouldn't buy this stuff what happend to the time when we got creative

Uncommon Blonde said...

What a great post to have so many people read through the giveaway! I could not agree more, I blogged about this last Halloween and I think it's ridiculous for both children and adult women. I don't have kids yet so I can't send you a photo but I just wanted to say I think it's an important issue to raise!

Smellyann said...

What a great post. I haven't taken pictures of my girls in their costumes yet, but they'll be a penguin and a toucan - hardly sexual! I will not have it, no way, not yet, not here.

Lucinda H said...

My daughters are going as Cinderella in a long gown and as a Anatasia the white cat. I would never allow my children to dress like harlots!

Tracee said...

I remember every year someone got to be a pilot like my dad and a hobo - because we could easily put on his flight suit or shove pillows inside his flannel shirt.

I still hit the thrift store for costumes.

I think parents got so busy with working and they started grabbing one last minute or decided letting their kid be "anything" meant pre-packaged costumes designer anything.

Across the street my neighbor bought already carved jack-o-lanterns from Walmart for $5.

But, how is that fun? The fun is in creatively carving the jack-o-lantern. Right?

Aerin said...

I've given in and let my 2 yr old be Cinderella - not my finest feminist moment. I'm not going to enter the contest, but I have a great story to illustrate your marketing point:

When I was in the 5th grade, I wanted to be something really unusual, so I painted two pieces of cardboard in the colors of the rainbow, with sparkles, and put them together as a sandwich board to wear over my white jeans, white turtleneck, white shoes. I painted my face rainbow stripes, and I went to school as a prism. I thought it was SO clever, and I loved the costume.

None of my friends thought it was cool. That night, for Trick or Treating, and despite my mother's assurances that she liked my costume, I caved to peer pressure and dressed as Madonna (Like a Virgin era). I have always regretted it, and can really mark it as a moment I decided I would forevermore make my own choices and be my own person.

Anyway, I am subscribing to your blog - thanks!!!

Tracee said...

Aerin - don't feel bad about Cinderella.

Last year I thought I was so clever that I made Ainsley matching costumes - we were "Dairy Queens," runners up in a Tooele, Utah Beauty Pageant.

Right as we were walking out the door Ainsley threw off her homemade sash and declared herself a Princess! What could I do but laugh? I'd been beat fair and square.

Buy your daughter The Princess Bubble for Christmas - It shouldn't take too much convincing for her to believe Princess Bubble is cooler than Cinderella.

Mommyhood is Thankless said...

This frustrates me too, its an endless cycle of kids pestering their parents to buy, then the girls see their friends and then they pester THEIR parents to buy and so on. I do not let my children wear clothes that I feel are inappropriate, that includes phrases like Hottie etc on 8 year olds clothing, not going to happen. I have 5 girls and they will have self respect whether they like it or not.

mommyhoodisthankless{AT}gmail.com

Peggy said...

With 3 boys and 1 girl ,she always wanted to follow in her brothers footsteps. I always made costumes and there was no reason to make them sexy. I enjoyed making her a peacock,plenty of feathers ,body suit ,tights and a skirt,color and fun but not sexy. She has her whole life when she becomes an adult to be sexy ,not as a child. My daughter is a wonderful person,beautiful and strong and glad to be a woman.

Sex Toys said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Empowering Girls Halloween Costume Contest

1chinese.jpg

If you're new here allow me to introduce myself. I'm Tracee Sioux and this is a website about girls. We are growing powerful girls here.

We challenge hyper-sexual marketing and advertising and confront mean girl behavior and find tools to instill great self esteem and body image.

Have you seen the stories about the Pornification of Halloween with alarming photos of girls who look more like porn fantasies than girls playing dress up?

88C29E4B-5A44-4878-9F53-DB54D895EAD3.jpg

I wrote one of them last year.

That was before I read So Sexy So Soon by Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. and Jean Kilbourne Ed.D. which clearly explained that girls haven't become hyper-sexualized at all. Marketers and Advertisers have become hyper-sexualized in an attempt to exploit children's inherent innocent sexuality for profit.

This year when I went to Amazon Associates to look at their Halloween Widgets I saw the hyper-sexual photos of girls' costumes and instead of being angry that girls have become too sexualized . . .

This year, I thought this has nothing to do with our GIRLS.

This is MARKETING.

The girls did not become sexier - the marketing started encouraging girls to buy sexier products. There is a huge difference.

Girls had nothing to do with this.

Parents had nothing to do with this.

* My daughter didn't make the costume. The Costume company did.

* Your daughter didn't dress another little girl in the costume and put her photo on Amazon for everyone to freak out over. The Marketer did.

* Parents didn't pose the girl model provocatively for the photograph on the packaging that resembles child pornography.The photographer did.

* I, as a mother, am not marketing provocative costumes for my child to wear. I'm not even buying those costumes and if I could convince other parents to wake up to bad marketing intentions other parents wouldn't buy it either.

All the hype is marketing.

This type of marketing is incredibly disrespectful to all girls. It's incredibly disrespectful to parents.

It's intentionally closer and closer to pornography because of the fundamental marketing premise "sex sells." Even innocent children are attracted to sexual imagery. That doesn't make them less innocent, it makes them human.

Girls and their parents should be so angry that marketers would stoop to this level that we should STARVE them out. Do. Not. Buy. These. Costumes!

This is exploitation of girls in marketing for profit.

What are girls REALLY wearing on Halloween?

Are they all in touch with their "inner Lolita" as this marketing, and the inflammatory news reporting about the marketing, suggests?

I don't know. I suspect not. Let's find out.

Email me (traceesioux@yahoo.com) a photo of your daughter's Halloween Costume by Nov. 2 and you are entered to win.

I'll publish them on Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me and we'll just see -

- Have our daughters really become hyper-sexual or are we allowing marketers to project that identity on them and sully their reputations?

Seagate_FA_Go_redjpg.jpg

Seagate has offered to give one Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me reader a FreeAgent GO sleek portable hard drives worth $150.

I'll choose the best costume and that person will win the prize.

Oh and make sure you subscribe to Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me because we're going to focus on how to create a meaningful and joyful holiday season without touching a credit card or giving our hard-earned money to companies who disrespect girls.

More giveaways at the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

24 comments:

Whirlwind said...

Oh I agree it's definitely a marketing strategy, but we, as parents have the control still over what we will buy. And I will not buy anything I deem inappropriate. Most of the time, the girls do not complain - the only time I heard an argument was their want for bikini's like their friends. This year, some came home in a bag of hand-me-downs, but the girls accepted the rule that they were for home only.

It's one reason I love uniforms for school - no arguments and they are appropriate. My oldest has been striking poses when I take her picture, but I usually tell her to act normal, or I won't take her picture.

I'll be posting their Halloween picture's Wednesday but I will try and remember to send a picture.

Lisa @ Corporate Babysitter said...

Tracee, great post and wonderful idea. We'll send photos.

Sharla said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Sadly, I don't have any daughters, only four boys. I wish I could send you pictures. Can I send a picture of me? ;) We just had a Halloween Carnival and I didn't see any girls dressed inappropriately.

Emily said...

I don't have any girls quite yet, mine will be born in March. I'm scared to deliver a girl into this market driven society. My husband is a youth pastor, though, so we definitely deal with this stuff all the time. I just wanted to encourage you in what you're doing, it's great!

Tricia said...

Thank you for bringing this problem to light. My daughters are all grown up now, but I remember thinking the same thing when they were young; not just with Halloween costumes, but with clothing in general.

Tracee said...

Sharla - heck yeah you can can send a picture of YOU!

Emily - you can send a picture of your tummy decorated. I painted mine like a jack-o-lantern when I was pregnant with Zack.

Nicole said...

My dd is going as Darth Vader this year. Nothing sexual about that! I don't think we've taken a picture yet. I'll try to send it from my phone... bcmommytwojayden at yahoo dot com

Jennifer said...

I don't have a daughter yet, but I can guarantee you that when I do she won't be a sexy anything for Halloween! So many people complain about how the young girls are being sexualized so early, but then they go ahead and buy those items that they were complaining about! If you don't want your daughter to look like a preteen hooker, don't buy the clothes that make her look that way! It might make you unpopular, but someone has to stand up for our girls' innocence!

Tracee said...

LOL Darth Vadar!

suzannah said...

this point was made in "mean girls" about how girls put on something trashy, add animal ears, and call it a costume--but at least those girls were in high school. (not that aspiring to be a vixen at sixteen is so awesome.) the pictures you posted of sexualized pre-teen costumes really are awful.

marketing can create a "need," but ultimately the responsibility is on parents who support that kind of crap with their checkbooks. sexxy junk for kids flies off shelves because people want it. helping parents identify that desire as something manipulated, harmful, and damaging to children is perhaps the bigger challenge in getting consumers to demand change in what is marketed to children.

Tracee said...

ultimately the responsibility is on parents - I don't think I agree with this.

See, I've been "not buying it" and yet all this marketing is still effecting me and my kids.

Not buying it isn't good enough.

We need to hold marketers accountable.

I guess I disagree that "ultimately it's the parents responsibility" - it would only be true if parents were capable of controlling it.

We are not doing it - creating the marketing - so we can't stop doing it.

I believe Ultimately it's the marketers' responsibility because they are the ones doing it and parents need to hold them accountable.

I encourage every parent to do so.

suzannah said...

yes, marketing needs to change, and the onus is on parents and consumers to abstain from purchasing junk AND to hold marketers accountable. until we can demonstrate that it isn't profitable to market sleaze to kids, they will continue to do so--we can't hope and wait for them to grow a conscience. the goal of marketing to to create a perceived "need", but ultimately they supply what we demand, and we should organize to demand something different and better.

thanks, tracee, for highlighting this problem. too often we as consumers consume mindlessly, and identifying these destructive messages is the first step in changing individual behavior, which influences collective behavior and changes markets. thanks for such a thoughtful post and conversation.

Talina said...

I am a dance teacher and don;t have a daughter yet but I do have a very creative and empowering costume I want to share...

One of my female teen students wanted to break the mold and not dress all sexy for Halloween, her costume of choice was a full suit... Completely made of duck tape. How smart and fun is that? It looked amazing too!

Tracee said...

Susanna - I definately agree that parents shouldn't buy this stuff.

"they supply what we demand"

I honestly don't think the demand preceded the marketing in this case.

I think parents were taken by surprise and operated on the erroneous assumption that children's companies toys and costumes and games wouldn't sell things that are bad for kids.

Parents are wrong about that and should wake up.

But, parents and girls did not create this problem by demanding "sexier" products for our girls. It was thrust upon us.

fancyfeet48 said...

I definately agree that parents shouldn't buy this stuff what happend to the time when we got creative

Uncommon Blonde said...

What a great post to have so many people read through the giveaway! I could not agree more, I blogged about this last Halloween and I think it's ridiculous for both children and adult women. I don't have kids yet so I can't send you a photo but I just wanted to say I think it's an important issue to raise!

Smellyann said...

What a great post. I haven't taken pictures of my girls in their costumes yet, but they'll be a penguin and a toucan - hardly sexual! I will not have it, no way, not yet, not here.

Lucinda H said...

My daughters are going as Cinderella in a long gown and as a Anatasia the white cat. I would never allow my children to dress like harlots!

Tracee said...

I remember every year someone got to be a pilot like my dad and a hobo - because we could easily put on his flight suit or shove pillows inside his flannel shirt.

I still hit the thrift store for costumes.

I think parents got so busy with working and they started grabbing one last minute or decided letting their kid be "anything" meant pre-packaged costumes designer anything.

Across the street my neighbor bought already carved jack-o-lanterns from Walmart for $5.

But, how is that fun? The fun is in creatively carving the jack-o-lantern. Right?

Aerin said...

I've given in and let my 2 yr old be Cinderella - not my finest feminist moment. I'm not going to enter the contest, but I have a great story to illustrate your marketing point:

When I was in the 5th grade, I wanted to be something really unusual, so I painted two pieces of cardboard in the colors of the rainbow, with sparkles, and put them together as a sandwich board to wear over my white jeans, white turtleneck, white shoes. I painted my face rainbow stripes, and I went to school as a prism. I thought it was SO clever, and I loved the costume.

None of my friends thought it was cool. That night, for Trick or Treating, and despite my mother's assurances that she liked my costume, I caved to peer pressure and dressed as Madonna (Like a Virgin era). I have always regretted it, and can really mark it as a moment I decided I would forevermore make my own choices and be my own person.

Anyway, I am subscribing to your blog - thanks!!!

Tracee said...

Aerin - don't feel bad about Cinderella.

Last year I thought I was so clever that I made Ainsley matching costumes - we were "Dairy Queens," runners up in a Tooele, Utah Beauty Pageant.

Right as we were walking out the door Ainsley threw off her homemade sash and declared herself a Princess! What could I do but laugh? I'd been beat fair and square.

Buy your daughter The Princess Bubble for Christmas - It shouldn't take too much convincing for her to believe Princess Bubble is cooler than Cinderella.

Mommyhood is Thankless said...

This frustrates me too, its an endless cycle of kids pestering their parents to buy, then the girls see their friends and then they pester THEIR parents to buy and so on. I do not let my children wear clothes that I feel are inappropriate, that includes phrases like Hottie etc on 8 year olds clothing, not going to happen. I have 5 girls and they will have self respect whether they like it or not.

mommyhoodisthankless{AT}gmail.com

Peggy said...

With 3 boys and 1 girl ,she always wanted to follow in her brothers footsteps. I always made costumes and there was no reason to make them sexy. I enjoyed making her a peacock,plenty of feathers ,body suit ,tights and a skirt,color and fun but not sexy. She has her whole life when she becomes an adult to be sexy ,not as a child. My daughter is a wonderful person,beautiful and strong and glad to be a woman.

Sex Toys said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.