Halloween is one of those times where the pressure is on young girls to be sexy. If you don’t believe me, just Google “teenage Halloween costumes” and click on the first thing you see. I just did. Rows upon rows of the same, like the “Supergirl” costume pictured here (I’ve ranted about this before, girls are being pressured to dress too sexy too soon).
Well, this year my girls opted out of “sexy.” (More on that in a minute.)
We’re witnessing the symptoms of a society that values “sexuality” over other characteristics. It’s what the American Psychological Association defines as “sexualization.”
It starts with the normal feelings of insecurity.
“Am I pretty enough?”
“Do I measure up?”
These are the questions young girls ask themselves when they look in the mirror, touching up make-up, running the flat iron through their hair that one last time trying to make it perfect. Any father of teen and tween girls has witnessed this. Even the most beautiful of today’s young girls often struggle with feelings of “too fat,” “too much acne,” “boobs too small”…
Enter “sexualization” stage left.
Sexualization is the media’s solution to insecurity. It works like this: guys notice me when I’m overtly sexual (low tops, short shorts, provocative in words and action), and being noticed is what I want, right?
It’s normal for young girls to want to be noticed. It’s up to parents to teach their daughters what is truly valuable.
This past weekend Lori and I went costume shopping with our girls. Have you been costume shopping lately? Today’s teenage girls don’t want to be a pumpkin or a clown. Costume retailers know that sexy is in. Skirts need to be short and tops need to be alluring. That’s where my kids stepped away from the norm. I became aware of that fact the moment they asked me where to shop for their costumes. “Dad, can we go to the thrift store?”
It was actually pretty fun shopping for “old lady” costumes. Alyssa (on the right) found the perfect “crafty” sweater and Ashley (on the left) the perfect comfy pants that went up past her belly button. Some glasses and ultimate comfy shoes… and whalah! Sweet little old ladies.
It will be interesting to see what our future holds. Will “sexy” stay the norm? Or will young people eventually grow numb and look for something else? A lot depends on the frequency and depth of the conversations that take place between kids and their parents or caring adult role models.