M decided to test her bravery by going to the Halloween store (but not to the scary parts). As a result, I spent a tremendous amount of time wandering around the kids’ costumes, studying them. There’s one key thing to notice about girls’ costumes: they are all exactly the same. A tutu/petticoat skirt, stockings, lace up or button bodice, typically puffed sleeves, and a headdress of some sort. Aside from a color swap and a few nips and tucks, they are all exactly the same style. The skirts get shorter as they get older, but that’s about it. M studied them, noting characters she likes.
Now, a note about me–I’m not a huge fan of most comics, but I love Batman. (Although, like most things, I’m more of a fan of the villains, especially Scarecrow. Come on, I’m a horror writer!) I have a wide array of comics and video games. As a result, M likes superheroes too, especially Batgirl.
Point of reference: this is Batgirl.
So I see that there are girls superhero costumes, and go to look. Here is the Batgirl offering:
This. is. not. Batgirl.
Even M, who adores all things pink and frilly, looked at this and said, “That’s not Batgirl. That’s a ballerina with a bat on it.” Hence why we decided to refer to this offering as “Baterina.”
What’s the problem with Baterina, you might ask? Some girls like pink! Sure they do. And if this is a costume they like, well, have it it. But it’s not Batgirl. I googled Batgirl costumes later, and not a single one actually looks like Batgirl. For one thing, none of them have pants. Even the black ones have skirts. M didn’t like them, because they’re not Batgirl.
Why in the world is there no costume offered that actually LOOKS like the character? If you’re looking for Disney Princess, you can get those down to the fake glass shoes. Though, for some reason, all the princesses have a picture of their faces glued to the front, as though they all suffer from short term memory loss and need to know who they are. You can get Merida’s wild wig, Dorothy’s basket with Toto, Glinda’s fluffy pink skirts, any sparkly thing you can imagine. But a girl wants to be a superhero? Sure, little girl. Now put on your damn ballerina costume and add a mask. Isn’t it cute?
Google “little girl Halloween costume.” I dare you to find one that has pants above infant size. This is doubly irritating, not only on the level of sexism, but on the level of practicality. I live in Colorado. It’s cold. The costumes need to have pants. Even when my daughter had princess costumes, she wore jeans under the skirts. Most of the costumes offered need to have a jacket over and pants under.
Finally, the ridiculousness of how the little girl costumes mirror their sexy adult counterparts. Now, I have no problem with sexy adult Halloween costumes, if that’s your deal. I have an Arkham Asylum Harley Quinn costume for Heaven’s sake. But I’m an adult and I know what I’m getting into. My daughter does not need a miniskirt and tie up bodice to accentuate her non-existent boobs. I want costumes for her that are suited to a little girl, not a mini version of a “sexy witch.” She needs time to be a child. And she has the right to have a real Batgirl costume. One that actually could fight crime without catching her tutu in the door.
If you are looking for fantastic, girl empowering costumes, check out this site: http://takebackhalloween.org/about/