Halloween costume showdown: Superheroes beat princesses this year

(CNN)Every year, kids are asked a simple question: “What would you like to be for Halloween?”

Young boys might be steered toward G.I. Joe, Han Solo, Robin Hood, a Ninja Turtle, or any character from a long list of superheroes and action films and TV shows. For girls, at least in the last decade, Halloween costumes largely gravitated toward princesses.


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“I remember 10 years ago, [when] trying to find a costume for my oldest daughter, it was very hard to find an option that wasn’t a princess,” said Carrie Goldman, author of “Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear.”


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When flipping through a Halloween costume catalog, Brown’s daughter will often critique the girls’ costumes: “She can’t fly with this skirt on!”
Short skirts, leotards and tights are common in girls’ superhero costumes, a frustrating reminder that even superheroes can be sexualized and marketed toward girls. For example, Harley Quinn, a female super villain from the recent film “Suicide Squad,” is popular among girls. But her costume — short spandex shorts, a skin-tight top and fishnet tights — seems sexy rather than powerful, Goldman says.
“I’ve seen [“Suicide Squad”] and liked it, but my daughters are too young to watch it,” Goldman said. “It definitely makes me uncomfortable to see young girls wearing shirts with ‘Daddy’s Lil Monster’ across the chest.”
Instead, Goldman thinks a better role model is Supergirl from the eponymous CW show — she wears long sleeves, a skirt, and doesn’t show cleavage.
Parents may need to say “no” to a costume that’s too sexy, Brown said. “It’s helpful to explain why, for instance, a short skirt isn’t the best alternative for a superhero. Superheroes want to be more athletic.”

Nontraditional costumes are more fun

Age-old conventions around dolled-up girls and macho boys are still robust today, and they especially impact children, Goldman said. Letting girls dress as superheroes not only broadens their costume choices — it may also lessen the stigma of being “un-girly.”
“I think there will be more acceptance of boys and girls if costumes don’t box them in,” Goldman said.


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Jess Day, another campaigner for Let Toys Be Toys, agreed.
“Costume and fantasy play are fun, but if kids are only ever offered certain options, then so much creative play is closed off to them,” she said. “Children should feel free to choose [costumes] for themselves, without having to worry whether it’s ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls.’ ”
This year, Goldman’s youngest daughter, who is 6, is playing a different type of hero: George Washington, from the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” her daughter’s favorite. After some online searching, Goldman was able to find a tiny costume of the first president.
“The General is her favorite character,” Goldman said. “She can’t wait to scream, ‘Here comes the General!’ on Halloween night.”

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/19/health/halloween-costumes-superhero-princess/index.html

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