Friday, October 28, 2011

Costumes that disturb me most.

If you know me, you know that I have a sensitivity to violence. Maybe it's because I've struggled with fear in the past. So of course, I have a strong aversion to any of the dark, gruesome decor and costumes that you see around Halloween. Those have always been around, scary masks, death-themed front yards, and the like. I could do without all that.

But what shocks me more every year is not the scary stuff. That I expect. What I'm most disturbed by is the increasingly provocative array of costumes for little girls. This year, while I was at Target, I was blown away by the choices. This line, as I stared at it on the hangars, left me standing there speechless.

It's called Monster High. If you've never heard of it, like I hadn't, these are the dolls from which the costumes are derived. I'd describe the outfits as either in the goth-stripper category or the goth-Brittney Spears-in-the-naughty-school-girl-outfit. Which is essentially the same thing. And friends. These costumes went down to a size that could fit a first or second grader. Did you catch the footwear worn by the girls modeling the costumes? I don't believe the shoes come with the outfits at Target, but the look on the picture is definitely being sold to small children as pretty, fashionable, and acceptable. (By the way, where exactly might one find knee-high, platform, lace-up vinyl boots in a child's size 2?)

I'm not going to take this opportunity to begin a diatribe against our culture for not protecting its children. A culture that no longer simply winks it's eye at immodesty, but that unashamedly promotes the sexual objectification of children's bodies. Read that sentence again. This is real. Mainstream. At Target. It's enough to turn my stomach.

What I can address, however, is my personal struggle to train up my daughter against the driving current of the world. One of her close friends purchased one of the above costumes. This girl lives in a Christian home. I simply asked her what she was going to be for Halloween, and her exact words to me were, "It's soooo cute and not inappropriate at all." Usually quick on my feet with words, I simply did not know how to respond. I couldn't tell if this child was defending herself on a presumption that I'd disapprove, or just repeating what she'd heard. And what does this tell me about her internal gauge as to what is or is not appropriate?

The word that comes to mind is the one my dad uses to describe himself when it comes to watching shows with violent content: desensitized.

It's a difficult job raising modest daughters in this day and age. And I expect it is just as difficult to raise a son who can turn his eyes away from the parade of sexualized young ladies long enough to make wise choices. I'm not quite at that point with my 6 year old son. But with my 9 year old daughter, yes, we're going there. She can't understand sexuality in any way yet, but she can understand basics: that some girls try to get attention by showing their bodies, instead of realizing their worth comes from the inside.

She'll be a cowgirl, come Monday night, by the way. She was so excited to choose it off the Target rack. The skirt was a little bit short since she's tall for her age, but it's nothing a pair of brown leggings underneath can't solve. I tell my daughter that God made her body beautiful. She doesn't have a sense that her body is bad or shameful; just that modesty is a value in our home. We'll get to deeper conversations on "why" when she is a bit older.

For now, though, I'm curious. How do you handle issues of modesty in your house?     


  1. Well, you know where I stand on costumes to begin with:) But I struggle with the modesty thing even when looking for regular clothing for the girls, especially my oldest. Her build is difficult(she's built solid, yet tall like her momma with a Cuban booty like her dad). Since she wears a uniform to school she loves to come home and be comfy. But the clothing marketed to "little girls" is taking the same route these costumes do. Low rise jeans, short skirts, skulls & crossbones= NO THANKS!

  2. Oh my goodness- I share your sick stomach over such costumes. It is sad for our children. I'm not quite at the point of dealing with issues of modesty with my kiddos but I know it will require a lot of prayer and frequent (probably daily) conversations with my girls.

  3. it's funny that you should post this because just yesterday at wyatt's school party another mom told me that both of her girls (1st and 2nd grade) were wearing monster high costumes but i had no idea what she was talking about. i'm with you leslie, i think it's gross and why are we encouraging our little girls to grow up so fast? and be mini versions of adults or teenagers? it really bothers me. i have no answers....

  4. Wow, I had no ideas those were out there. I just read through some of the doll info on the site you linked and it is truly disturbing. My girls are only 6 so we've got a few years yet before they are more aware. I'm making their costumes today, Laura Ingalls and Jessie from Toy Story. Their brother will be Woody. I hope they never want the store bought ones. This is my least favorite month to have to take my kids into any store, drug stores and even grocery stores, because you can't escape the scary stuff. It's sad that not every parent is willing to shelter their young girls and let them just be kids.

  5. I haven't seen these costumer but what makes me more sad is that I am not really surprised. My daughter is old enough to discuss modesty yet but my sisters are 18 and 14 right now and we have had a lot of conversations over the years about whats appropriate and body image and modesty and luckily they have both been very understanding and honoring of God in their clothing choices!

  6. This makes me scared to have a daughter someday!! Those costumes are HIGHLY inappropriate - unbelievable!!!

  7. dude.
    parenting is hard.
    teaching our children to live in the world but not conform to it is not a small task.
    but, if anyone is up for the challenge it's you, little lady.
    i think that it must feel especially strange to raise your kids to be comfortable with being different from "everyone else" if you weren't raised that way.
    when i was growing up, i frequently felt like the rules at our house were different than "everyone else's"...and a lot of times i hated it.
    but i'm ok.

    for me it's hard to keep my eyes on my job and not get distracted by the overwhelming evil around me during this season.

    but the key thing is that whether it's fear about violence or fear of your own daughter following the worldliness all around her, God asks us not to live ruled by fear.
    you are a good mom.
    you are obeying Him by listening to His voice.
    and he never ever promised no opposition to your mission.

  8. this makes me sick. i know many parents who allow their girls to "express" themselves through inappropriate clothing and their daughters have no clue what they're missing by showing themselves off like that. it's training a generation of girls to never go deeper than the surface of their skin and to live outward lives that never look inward. teaching your daughter to literally swim and fight against the flow of her immodest culture is training her to be a woman who does that in every area of her life. to speak the name of jesus when it's not "socially acceptable", to submit and serve even when the women around her tell her she's selling herself short, etc.

    good job, leslie. i applaud you for writing this post!

  9. i agree with you 100%, Leslie. it isn't easy staying in the straight and narrow in this perverse generation. we try to instill God's truths to our children and protect them from as much as we can, and pray that God will fill in the gaps, and that His Holy Spirit will draw them to Him every day, guiding their steps.
    great post!

  10. I agree!! I can not BELIEVE those costumes!! So sad and disappointing. Thanks for speaking against it!

  11. I grew up in a very modest household. But rather than making it seem stifling, my mom had this way of using it to inspire creativity. The idea was not that Halloween was a chance to dress like a slut (excuse my frankness); rather it was to come up with something clever that no one else would think of!

  12. "desensitized" is the word we use here in our home.
    we explain to the kids what is and isn't acceptable for us {not just with halloween but in many situations}. we talk about why others don't see it... desensitized, the world makes so much the norm. however, it is isn't our norm. we are christ's. what is his norm for us?

    and i think the kids understanding that helps us to lead them in not being legalistic towards others. it helps lead them in grace. grace that says look at what's on t.v., adds, magazines, TARGET...everywhere! how can people not become desensitized?!?

    as of now we will have a fully covered teddy bear, a mime, and a carpenter.


  13. Thanks for sharing your heart, I couldn't agree more!

  14. Clever post, hahaha what a crack up--but yes those costumes seem to get worse and worse by the year!

  15. i kinda think i'm having a girl and this terrifies me.

  16. I just found your blog and praised the lord for you!

    I'm 22 and in college, but I so respect and admire the way you're seeking to raise your daughter.

    I got saved just a few years ago, so it wasn't that long ago that I got the modesty memo, but for me it all comes down to my motivation when I get dressed. To impress others? To have fun and enjoy gifts god's given me? It all depends.


  17. This turns my stomach.

    I'm already thinking of how to raise a boy in a culture that doesn't value modesty. For all the moms of daughters, I vow to do my part by raising a son who honors your daughters in a Godly way and who sees that their worth is not measured by what they wear (or don't wear), but in what truth they cling to.

    What a scary world this is.

  18. I hear you!! We typically make sure that the girls know what our standard of modesty is. They know what is too short,etc. My youngest daughter is 9 and when her go-go costume came in the mail, it was WAY TOO SHORT, like shirt short. She had to wear opaque tights with it. I ordered her size up and everything. I don't know, but today every style is coming in kidsize. I was shopping for glasses online for my 11 year old and the description of one of the frames sold to kids had "sexy" in the description! What? Why?

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