Happy Slutty Halloween

mean-girls-Halloween-slut“In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.”   -Cady, Mean Girls

Maybe it’s because I’ve been on shopping excursions with my two teenage girls…

Maybe it’s because I know America’s growing obsession with sex in entertainment, like so many movies this fall

Maybe it’s because I’ve read this entire report from the American Psychological Association (APA) about the negative effects of the “sexualization” of our young girls…

Regardless the reason, my heart breaks for our girls this Thursday. The pressure is on during Halloween for our teen and tween girls—the same pressure they face in the sexual rat race of the social network selfie. Forget creativity, intelligence or character. Only one characteristic matters…

Are you sexy?

I’ve ranted about this subject in Halloweens past, and this year I’ve noticed others chiming in with the same complaint: the Top 10 Too-Sexy Costumes for Kids, 9 Reasons to Boycott Slutty Costumes This Halloween, or NBC News asking how far is too far with sexy? Anyone perusing through a costume store this Halloween can’t ignore it. Halloween has morphed into the slutty holiday.

Check it out for yourself. Thumb through the Party City insert in your mailbox this week. Or do like many of our teenage girls do, browse online. When I jumped on PartyCity.com this is the first image I saw:

Top-Women's-Costumes

If girls click on the featured TOP WOMEN’S COSTUMES button, they’ll see options like these:
Sexy-Halloween-Costumes

Perhaps the costumes for teens will be better. Give it a try. Choose teen costumes and you’ll see choices like these:  Slutty-Halloween-Costumes

The fact is, manufacturers know sex sells. We’ve seen Miley work it, and experts tell us she’s a marketing genius for doing so. So why shouldn’t our teen and tween girls try on what all their female role models are wearing?

Girls know ‘sexy’ garners attention. For a young girl craving someone to notice her… a sexy costume might seem like just the right thing. Sadly, experts are finding girls not only disappointed with the results of these efforts, but also facing consequences in numerous areas. The APA report on “sexualization” mentioned above revealed, “sexualization has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality and attitudes and beliefs.” (For a detailed description of those consequences, read the entire report here)

Responding in a Healthy Way
Sadly, some parents overreact to these kinds of influences in their kids’ lives. They think the proper reaction is “over-reaction” or attempting to block the influences, swooping down to protect them from any harmful messages. This helicopter parenting style doesn’t work for two simple reasons: 1. Parents can’t protect their kids from everything. 2. If we make all the decisions for our kids, they will never learn how to decide for themselves.

The answer is frequent conversations pointing to truth. Just like author David R. Smith wrote in his recent article, Messing Up Sex, “Have the talk over and over and over again.” David isn’t alone in his recommendation. Most experts agree what used to be labeled “the talk” needs to be early and often. And some studies even show Dad’s advice to be key.

So sit down this Halloween and thumb through the catalogue with your girls. Have conversations like the ones recommended here. Sex isn’t bad or naughty… but it also isn’t our identity.

What are your girls wearing for Halloween this year?SMASH-Cover-shadow

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, YOU’LL LOVE
THIS NEW PARENTING WORKBOOK
FROM JONATHAN MCKEE AND DOUG FIELDS,
SHOULD I JUST SMASH MY KID’S PHONE?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it's real easy-go here.
This entry was posted in Jonathan's Rant, Parenting, Self Image, Sexuality. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Happy Slutty Halloween

  1. Stephanie says:

    Just like David Smith said “have the talk over and over again”, my mother said “as a parent you will get tired of hearing your own voice saying the same thing again and again”. But it is so important to do so. Have the conversations about relationships, respect, honesty, etc. I have with my kids and so has my husband (who gives the same message in a far more blunt form). There’s no confusion, the messages are the same. The kids learn and get it.
    P.S. my 17 yr old daughter went to a Halloween party as a “fan of the 90’s rock bands”. She wore a beanie hat, t-shirt, leggings with shorts, and a long flannel shirt out of her Dad’s closet. Everything covered…hooray!

  2. Karen says:

    This is not just a girl issue. Boys are involved too. I suggest that you talk with both boys and girls. This article seems to let boys off the hook.

    • Boy’s aren’t off the hook, they just aren’t as effected by the pressure to be sexy. If I wrote about the lure of porn, girls aren’t off the hook either, but it statistically effects more boys than girls.

      • Karen says:

        With all do respect in porn girls are still the sluts right? I appreciate your point but would like to see a balanced approach to the issue. Raising the conscious mind and heart should be a male and female collaborative.
        Encourage one another and build up each other,as indeed you are doing ~1 Thessalonians 5:11