Are These Kids' Halloween Costumes Sexist?

Kids love dressing up for Halloween. For many kids, it’s the perfect chance to pretend to be someone they admire like a firefighter or a doctor.

That’s something boys and girls like to do, right?

Not according to Party City, apparently. One mom is speaking out after finding more career-themed Halloween costumes for boys than girls while shopping recently at Party City’s website.

Lin Kramer was looking for a costume for her 3-year-old daughter and noticed the limited number of empowering costume choices for girls. Kramer says the few career-themed options that were available for girls were strangely sexualized, Huffington Post reports.

Kramer even took count, finding 16 career-related options out of 53 total costumes boys and only three occupation-oriented choices out of 45 total costumes for girls.

“To be clear, that means 30 percent of the costumes you market to boys are based on occupations, while just under 7 percent of the costumes you market to girls are based on occupations,” she writes in an open letter to the company.

The letter was initially removed from Party City’s Facebook page but gained traction as Kramer shared it with sites like Women You Should Know.

“Please, Party City, open up your view of the world and redesign your marketing scheme to let kids be kids, without imposing on them antiquated views of gender roles,” Kramer writes in the letter.

She also questioned why the girls’ costumes were sexualized, like the store’s police officer costume that includes a low-cut dress and tall boots.

“Toddler girls are not imagining and hoping that they will grow up to become a ‘sexy cop’ – which is clearly what your girl costume suggests; rather, young girls, just as young boys, see and admire their family members and neighbors offering service to their communities and delight in the idea of doing the same,” Kramer writes. “I am absolutely appalled that your business reinterprets girls’ innocent and well-intentioned dreams into this costume.”

Party City defended its costumes in a statement to Huffington Post but did say its manufacturers and leadership teams would receive the feedback.

“We expect parents to be as involved in their children’s costume selections as they are in selecting their everyday wardrobe, and we encourage parents to shop with their children. We supply the types of products that our customers, and specifically parents, demand, and the Girls Cop Costume mentioned by Ms. Lin Kramer is one of our most popular costumes,” the company writes in its statement.

Not everyone shares this mother’s concerns. On the Huffington Post article, some commenters suggest Kramer is being “overly PC” or taking the issue too seriously.

“I’m all for parents encouraging their daughters into typically male careers but come on, this is Halloween,” Rochelle Angulo commented. “The costumes aren’t meant to make a political statement; they’re meant for fun and entertainment.”

But I think she has a point. Even if customer demand is what dictates the type of costumes offered for boys and girls, the execution is all wrong on some of these girls’ costumes. Young boys can dress as a wholesome-looking police officer but little girls have to accept the sexy version? This particular costume is decidedly adult and Party City should be ashamed for offering it to young girls.

Times are changing and parents are demanding better for their kids. Target is removing unnecessary gender references from its aisles and the same company is re-thinking its clothing lines after one mom blasted the store for its ridiculously-short shorts for little girls. Change is happening and it’s all thanks to parents like Lin Kramer who are willing to speak up. Party City needs to get with the program.

What do you think? Should Party City change its selection? Have you encountered this problem when shopping for your daughter? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy Huffington Post, Party City

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