Straight Talk Advice

Nov 21, 2007

Halloween costumes hit deeper societal nerve

Dear Readers: Last week the teen panel and I responded to “Call me square” who complained that all her daughter’s friends dressed like hookers for Halloween. She then asked if Halloween was where girls began training to be strippers as she’d heard that one in 22 girls works as a one. To my young readers — and those young at heart — you will be happy to know that I roundly defended Halloween (Halloween is when you’re supposed to dress up! Thank heaven a little steam gets vented once a year on this unique day), and Brittney of the teen panel rightly called bull on the rumor that 5 percent of the female population strips for a living. Nonetheless, “Call me square” hit a nerve that has nothing to do with Halloween and today we will respond to that.

I often hear 18 and 19-year-olds say things like, “little kids these days are growing up too fast,” or, “that 9-year-old dresses like a slut,” or, “that first-grader watches too many R-rated movies.” Older teens feel the end of childhood sharply, and many worry about the continuous and rapid shrinkage of childhood and how its loss will affect the future. They look at the commercial media, they look at their parents’ generation, who either creates that media or doesn’t shield their offspring from it, and they shake their heads. I hope this column is a wake up call because if raising kids was a 4H project, we wouldn’t make it to the fair.

From Betsy, 19: Kids are growing up way too fast. The media influences what young girls perceive as “cool.” They see singers, actresses and models wearing next to nothing and they see the reaction it has on boys. Their insecurity kicks in and they feel mature and confident in outfits that make older generations want to faint. This Halloween I was appalled to see girls walking around in their underwear! I asked one girl what she was and she replied, “I’m a Victoria Secret model.” I felt a little foolish in my ghost costume but I think she felt more foolish when she saw my shock of disgust.

From Elizabeth, 18: The style for girls these days is tight-fitting, revealing, and sexy. And it’s not only on Halloween that girls dress this way. When I go to clothing stores I’m appalled at the clothing for children as young as three. I read an article that described young girls dressed in the latest fashions as “prostitots.” It’s a trend set by Lindsey, Brittany and Paris, and its popularity is growing at an extreme rate.

From Lennon, 21:  With clothing trends for females moving closer and closer to being virtually naked, I would think girls would enjoy putting some clothes on for a change. This Halloween many girls told me in advance they were dressing as hookers, then when I saw them in costume, I thought, “Is that a wig or did she dye her hair? Oh, she’s got some fuzzy little rope-thing twirled around her neck. But other than that, yep, seen all those clothes before.” And for 13-year-olds to be dressing like this?! What happened to being Snow White? Or a witch? You could go as Hermione for crying out loud! The problem is the media. Nonetheless, if my future 13-year-old daughter tried to dress as a slut for Halloween, I’d say “Well, this evening is going to be a real treat because we are going to sit down and watch a nice old movie called Jack the Ripper. And believe me dear, you’ll have to get into some clothing darn quick to change my mind!”

Children are growing up too quickly. The solution? Ship all the stupid adults to Mars and start over. Or get them to recognize that childhood is worth more than their quarterly sales.


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