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Photo by Johnny Doome on Flickr Q: My pre-teen daughter is dying to go as a sexy vampire for Halloween (she's a big Twilight fan) but I just don't feel comfortable with her running around the neighborhood in a short skirt, tight top, and lots of makeup, costume or not. What can I say to her without making this such a big deal?
Bella’s Nemesis in Belchertown, MA

A: Dear Nemesis,

Halloween is a day to have fun being someone different—but that certainly has consequences, so it should also come with limits. There’s a reason that every October, little boys want to be Superman or star troopers: It shows their aspirations for being mature and powerful. When teens (or adults for that matter) choose costumes that emphasize their sexuality, they are publicizing their desire to be noticed for their bodies. 

So it doesn’t necessarily matter how she dresses or who she presents herself as during the rest of the year: Going out in this costume tells the world something about her.

It’s likely you’ll get “But it’s just a book, Mom. She’s just a character.” You can respond by talking with her seriously: What is it about this costume that she likes? Does she realize how people will respond to her in it, and if so, is that what she’s looking for?  Be frank: Is she ready to be sexually objectified? Will she be uncomfortable in this costume in front of her peers, older teens, or even people her dad’s age?

Frame your conversation around the ideas of self-awareness and self-respect, and focus on how your daughter wants to be viewed as a whole person. Who knows, maybe there are creative ways you can modify the costume that would allow her to express her love for Twilight but in a less objectifying way. Hopefully, she’ll see the long-term effects of this decision in the larger scheme of choices she needs to make about how she is seen by others—and see you as someone helping her become the person she wants to be.

Enjoy your media and use them wisely,
The Mediatrician®

3 Responses to “Is my daughter’s Halloween costume too sexy?”

  1. Linda

    I don’t remember any of the vampires in Twilight dressing “sexy.” The main characters tried to fit into society and wore normal clothing. Other vampire characters wore long cloaks.
    If your daughter wants to dress sexy, that’s up to you to decide if it’s okay- but don’t let her fool you by saying it’s based upon a character unless she can show you a picture of that character wearing that outfit.

    Reply
  2. Animal suits

    Yeah, that’s a tough one. You can give her an ultimatum, ask her to either wear a legging with her short skirt or not wear that costume at all. That’ll give her a really good option and your piece of mind.

    Reply
  3. karneval kinder

    I definitely agree with Linda. I have watched the series of Twilight movies from the beginning and I haven’t seen a “too sexy” costume from there. I guess it’s just okay if you are going to allow your daughter join the party.

    Reply

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