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This year's lament comes from mom Lin Kramer who, while shopping for her 3-year-old daughter, became so disturbed by the selection at the country's largest costume retailer, Party City, she wrote an open letter on Facebook addressing her concerns.
Kramer goes on to note (you can read the full post here) the manner in which similar costumes are named, designed and marketed to boys vs. girls. She asks the company to, "reconsider some of the content on your website and the antiquated views such content communicates."
Her concerns weren't only about how the costumes look.
She also called out the company for the limited costume choices representing occupations for girls. While there were 16 boys' costumes related to professions, Kramer could find only three for girls. And that was if she counted cheerleader as an occupation.
Sexy cop costumes for toddlers do not contribute to a healthy perspective.
Kramer encouraged the retailer to expand its view:
"Look at the world around you: In a world where Ronda Rousey and Danica Patrick are excelling, there are certainly girls who would be interested in that Toddler Boys Everlast Boxer Costume or that Turbo Racer Muscle Costume. Perhaps you recently read about Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, the first female graduates of Ranger School; knowing that these women were once little girls, doesn't it seem like maybe there are girls out there today who would have some interest in the Combat Soldier Costume or the Flight Suit Costume? And surely, having observed female doctors when walking down the halls of a hospital, or female construction workers when driving down the street, or female postal workers when mailing a letter, it is reasonable to believe—both from a sociological and business perspective—that there are girls who might be interested in such costumes just as there are women who are interested in these professions."
Others started sharing the post immediately.
My 6-year-old has not yet been interested in dressing up as any specific profession for Halloween. But she does want to be a zoo vet when she grows up. And I think Lin Kramer's letter is spot on.
It is possible to have realistic costumes related to occupations for girls. For a recent birthday, a friend gave my daughter a veterinarian costume. It came with a full set of scrubs—including hat, mask and "sterile" shoe covers—a white lab coat and a stethoscope.
Yes, the scrubs were pink. But that did not bother me or her. She delighted in dressing up and playing vet with her stuffed animals and, when they would allow it, our pets. It was a very authentic looking costume, and it made her feel like she was a veterinarian.
Pretend play, whether for a holiday like Halloween or an afternoon at home, is an integral part of a child's cognitive development, her view of the world and her place in it. Sexy cop costumes for toddlers do not contribute to a healthy perspective.