Girls Sexuality Exploited by Culture

Have you seen the stories about the Pornification of Halloween with alarming photos of girls who, it is implied, look more like “porn fantasies” than little girls playing dress up?

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I wrote one of them a few years ago.

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 hyper-sexualized girls in an attempt to exploit children’s inherent innocent sexuality for profit.

This has nothing to do with our GIRLS.

This is MARKETING and a culture that increasingly applies distorted versions of adult sexuality to young girls for it’s own sexual entertainment.

Young girls did not become sexier or more sexual – our sexual imagery in advertising, marketing and pornography from Lolita to ads for gym socks started applying adult sexuality to young girls – for kicks and profit.

Girls had nothing to do with this.

Parents had nothing to do with this.

As I look at the photos of the above costumes this year, I’m not seeing anything inappropriate. Every girl, save the pirate with a bare midriff, is fully clothed. A pirate, a jailer, a witch and a maid. All appropriate choices for Halloween. If pornography hadn’t exploited younger and younger looking girls connected with this imagery there would be no “hyper-sexuality” about them.

They are wearing make-up. It’s Halloween. The holiday calls for make-up, as much as they want to cake on. It’s fantastical dress-up for heaven’s sake.

All the hype is marketing and it further sexualizes and exploits girls.

This type of marketing and reporting is incredibly disrespectful to all girls. It’s incredibly disrespectful to parents.

If pornography weren’t increasingly taking a pedophiliac turn, the costumes of the above girls would be what they are: Little Girls Playing Dress Up.

The little girls are the truth – innocent, lovely and with an inherent right to be immune to adult perversions of their authentic sexuality. The costumes are fantastical dress up. It is the adults who apply pornographic thoughts to them. It’s unfair. It’s exploitive.

The adults looking at them are putting their own pornographic imagery on top of them and marketers not only know this, but play it up for bigger profits. This is in no way about the little girls’ sexuality. It is, instead, about the sexuality adult consumers, marketers and pornographers inappropriately and exploitively put on little girls.

The thing is . . . as parents it is not our job to go around making sure our daughters do not fit into other people’s porn fantasy. Their porn fantasy is their responsibility and we truly have no control over it. They have hyper-sexualized innocence with Catholic School Girls, Cheerleaders, Fairies and nearly every other feminine imagery that might be a source of fun and power for little girls. They will continue to do so. People who choose to sexualize children, or infantalize women, for their own sexual fantasies will apply their perverted sexuality to small children regardless of what little girls wear on Halloween, what they wear to play sports in, what they wear to school and what they wear to play in.

What are little girls REALLY wearing on Halloween?

Fantastical costumes that the holiday calls for. We owe it to girls to lay off their sexuality and stop applying adult distortions of sexuality to innocent children who have a right to be immune to it.

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5 comments ↓

#1 Painted Maypole on 10.19.10 at 9:46 am

i agree, and disagree. look again at those pictures. no storybook witch I’ve ever seen wears a short skirt and thigh highs. the designers of the costume are exploiting an innocent child’s interest in a storybook character, and sexing up the costume. That french maid costume? when have you seen a french maid characterization that wasn’t sexy (even the french maid in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is sexy). A cute inmate wearing pink stripes and HANDCUFFS. I’ve been in a woman’s prison (er… just visiting) and I assure you, that’s not what prisoners look like.

For both women and girls, costume designers are making all (ok, most) costumes sexy.

And i think girls are changing with the societal pressure. They see adults responding to that kind of dress, that kind of behavior, and they replace their innocent, inherent sexuality with the desire to please. They don’t really understand what they’re doing, or how they are feeding into it, but they are. it is not their fault. it is the fault of the media, of the designers, of the photographers, of the parents who allow it to continue.

While we can’t control the fact that other people may use our daughters for their porn fantasies, we can control how they dress. My daughter will not be allowed to wear any of those costumes.

She is going as a bunny. Not a playboy bunny. A brown bunny, with a cute face, a fluffy tale, and no exposed body parts.
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#2 toywithme on 10.19.10 at 10:56 am

Thank you for broaching this very important subject. Unfortunately until parents stop buying this type of objectified merchandise the products will continue to be made and sold.
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#3 Tracee on 10.19.10 at 11:57 am

It’s only “sexy” within the context that most people have seen porn like this. So when we look at it it freaks us out.

It’s not sexy within the context of girls who have never been exposed to porn. It’s the porn that’s ruining it for us.

Looking realistic is the opposite of the point of halloween.

#4 painted maypole on 10.19.10 at 3:32 pm

the designers of the costumes are going for sexy. there is no question in my mind. i agree that the kids don’t see it as sexy, but the designers do, that is what they are marketing. I agree with toy with me, the parents need to stop buying it. but parents are too lazy to make the costume themselves, and let the kids buy the inappropriate stuff (and no, you don’t need a lot of time or sewing skills to make a costume yourself. imagination. why can’t we all go back to handmade costumes that truly are about imagination and dressing up?)

#5 Deconstructing Halloween Dress Up — The Girl Revolution on 10.20.10 at 7:13 am

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