Stop making children’s characters sexy

Megan Roth’s bi-weekly column discussing pop culture and all things nerdy

Thanksgiving is officially over, and even as I write this I am still full from my lovely turkey dinner.

I love Thanksgiving, I mean who wouldn’t love a day devoted to eating? It is a great day to be a little lazy and spend it with family. I was even lucky enough to have family drive eight hours to spend the long weekend at my place.

Yes, I love the holiday, but it isn’t my favourite. That would be Halloween. Now that Thanksgiving is done and a week’s worth of left over turkey is sitting in my fridge, I can happily look forward to the spookiest time of the year; Halloween.

Halloween is great, there is no other word really, it is just great. From the beautiful fall foliage we might be lucky enough to have until the end of the month, to costumes, candy and scary movies, I really love it all.

However, I have one issue; the over sexualized costumes. Particularly those of children’s cartoon characters.

I take issue with this one two levels. One, they are innocent children’s characters and are not meant to be used as someone’s sexual fantasy. The second issue comes from my costume designer side. Just because you put on a pair of ears and a piece of lingerie does not mean you are in costume.

Sexy costumes have their time and place, but we should be looking at what we are making sexy.

Characters like the Powerpuff Girls or Angelica Pickles from Rugrats have no place being made up as someone’s fantasy. These characters are actually between the ages of three and five. Can any one else see an issue?

As a costume designer I also hate seeing costumes that stray from the actual character. This has become a big thing in the nerdy world. Costumes for decidedly not adult characters are being introduced to the general population in an adult way and are being accepted as normal.

I’m sorry, but just because you are wearing ears and a tail along with your yellow bra, undies and fishnets that does not make you Pikachu.

I think it is getting out of hand. While looking at costumes of the day I grabbed one that I assumed was going to be a regular witch costume. Turn’s out it was a sexy witch costume. Not only that, but it was actually a child’s costume.

Where do we draw the line? Why is it alright for girls young and old to be paraded around as someone’s fantasy?

Having girls and young women dress up in overly sexualized costumes of childhood heroes sends mixed messages, not just to those buying and wearing the costumes but to those seeing them as well.

Making girls into a sexy version of say Hermione Granger – who was decidedly unsexy in the books – gives them a message much of the world is trying to move away from. Women are sex objects, and even the smart, funny and kind characters of popular culture are made to be better when pretty.

This can be confusing when a girl in particular wants to wear just about anything she wants. But a spaghetti strap shirt is too sexualized and will distract the boys. But it’s Halloween, so show off your goods.

Taking strong independent female characters from childhood and turning them into something dirty is not the answer. There is no reason for Minnie Mouse to be wearing a skirt so short it doesn’t even cover her butt.

Children’s characters are the first instance where girls can see they can be strong or powerful or smart without worrying if they fit into a specific box marked “beautiful.”

There are already characters out there that wear what are considered sexy outfits. Elvira and Wonder Woman come to mind. Why do we need to saturate the market with sexualized children’s characters meant for both adults and children?

Let children be young and free without being hampered by adult desires which corrupt youthful ideas of heroes.