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Halloween costumes: More sexualized stereotyping for girls

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(Read caption) Good old-fashioned skeleton costumes – like Cotton Kilian's at the Kansas City (Mo.) Zoo "Boo at the Zoo," Oct. 28 – are harder to find for little girls as even Halloween costumes are increasingly sexualized.

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For years, families struck a balance between store-bought and homemade Halloween costumes. But these days, do-it-yourself Halloween costumes are out; store-bought costumes are a $2.87 billion business. 

What does this mean for consumers? Well, for one thing, we’re seeing a lot of costumes that reproduce tired gender stereotypes. Sex sells, and in an $8 billion seasonal industry, it seems designers and retailers are maximizing profits by creating more and more “sexy” costumes for women and girls.

In today’s relatively new, hyper-commercial Halloween, it’s become an expectation for females to dress in sexually provocative ways – even when costumed as, say, a children’s cartoon character, like Nemo from "Finding Nemo," or a mundanely macabre item like a body bag. Are you a man? Your body bag Halloween costume will resemble an actual body bag. Are you a woman? The ladies’ version of a body bag costume will be (drum roll…) a skimpy dress with a hood that zips over your head. Seriously.


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