Ready for your Halloween fright? Check out this column by Ellen Goodman about what girls are choosing to dress up as this season. Best summed up by the headline in today's National Post: "Halloween's parade of sluts."
Apparently the costumes of choice for today's modern girl and woman include "Hottie Little Red Riding Hood" featuring a bustier and boots, Biker Chick, Blushing Bride, Naughty Housewife and French Maid. In other words, outfits designed with a "less is more" approach.
Should we be surprised? Especially given the hypersexualized messages from this Girls Gone Wild, Brazilian waxed, release-your-inner-stripper-in-fitness-class culture? It was only two seasons ago that I wrote about a run on "pimp and ho" costumes for the aged 4 and up set. Some people were enraged. Today that kind of stuff barely warrants a shrug.
But Goodman's most compelling point is about how the porn-star culture is so often flaunted as "a matter of choice" by the post-feminist generation. She compares this reasoning to the arguments used by Muslim women in Britain fighting for freedom to wear the full head veils there that would be imposed on them in a fundamentalist country. Or as she puts it:
Have you also noticed how many women believe they are making their own choices when they are actually caught in a cultural vise?
It's a question plumbed recently by Ariel Levy in her engaging and intelligent book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. Levy's exploration of the whole skank-as-empowerment trend is a must-read for parents (of girls AND boys) or anyone else who cares about how pop culture is shaping the next generation.
For tips on guiding your daughter through a culture where the phrase "girl power" has been co-opted by marketers to mean the power to shop and attract boys, look for Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown's new book Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes.
What are the girls you know dressing up as tonight?