There you are, frantically pawing the racks for this year's Halloween costume for your little princess who's almost four. Will she be a cat or a ladybug or . . . a scantily clad firefighter?
This nightmare was brought to you by a Victoria, B.C., mom who stumbled upon the offending costume at her local Value Village. No wonder Raina Delisle saw red.
Firstly, there is no good reason why a firefighter costume for tots shouldn't be unisex, but the girl version of this particular costume looks "absolutely nothing like a firefighter. It's a skin-tight, black, shiny dress. It doesn't even have a helmet. It has a fascinator instead in place of a helmet."
Repeat after me: the words "sexy" and "kids' costumes" don't belong in the same sentence. Frankly, I even object to all the adult ones looking like, well, adult-rated ones. If I choose to dress up that way, I would visit a different kind of store and the party would stay in the bedroom, thanks.
It is possible that not all women who want to dress as a nurse for Halloween want to be the hussy nurse. But digression aside, Delisle then scouted around to find other gender-specific costumes for the four- to six-year-olds being marketed in much the same way. All featured miniskirts or highly sexualized styles.
"A little girl cannot even be a pumpkin without having a lace-up corset-like outfit. It's absolutely disgusting," said Delisle.
First and foremost, parents must exercise their dissent as consumers. But retailers also must take responsibility for what merchandise they choose (and reject) to stock.
Value Village eventually pulled the costumes, and promised that going forward it will be discerning when it comes to offensive costumes.
You tell me: Have you come across any offensive kids costumes lately?
Have you seen FCKH8's new vimeo in which little girls keep dropping F-bombs in the name of feminism? Yes, it's essentially girls swearing and dropping stats to promote equal rights. The shock campaign is nothing new for the for-profit company that sells gear with anti-hate messages and then shares some of its revenue with charities.
I get that we're a largely cynical and busy bunch of individuals. I further get that it takes something extra special to get our attention (and don't envy anyone who works in any kind of advertising capacity). But, folks, girls directed and scripted by adults to cuss and spew language that is not their own? Well, this doesn't strike me as ingenious as much as desperate and mildly offensive.
After all, this is coming from the same people who used kids from Ferguson to promote their anti-racism campaign. They want to punch you where it hurts, to be sure you really feel the impact. But surely there are better ways to achieve this than by using kids to do your dirty, click-bait work.
Want an example of feminism that is classy and effective? Look no further than Ms. Emma Watson.
Want an example of a creative way to get millions of people to donate to a previously little-known medial condition? Hello, ice bucket challenge.
You may think the message justifies the medium. Personally, I'm not convinced that using kids for shock tactics is ever justified or even truly creative.
You tell me: What do you think of the FCKH8's latest campaign?
Snips swiftly turned to snipes for a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was teased for having short hair. In honour of a friend who died of leukemia, Jetta Fosberg donated 14 inches of her hair to Wigs for Kids. But a selfless gesture turned ugly after Jetta was targeted and bullied at school for her new look.
Kids taunted her for "wanting to be a boy," but when her mother confronted the school, the principal wasn't exactly supportive, claiming "he didn't know of any child that had ever died from words," and that both Jetta and her mother "needed to toughen up and deal with it."
Ouch. Fosberg created "Stand With Jetta," a page to rally support for Jetta in light of the school's apathy. Facebookers—all 21,000 of them—didn't disappoint.
"Knowing that there's people who think that my haircut's cute, and that they think that I'm a good person, it kind of helps me fight against [the bullies]," Jetta said.
No doubt the principal's comments were insensitive and callous. Growing up, I was called worse than "ugly" and a "boy," and it sucked. But like many people in my generation, I was fed the line about "sticks and stones" and encouraged to be stoic in the face of name calling. I'm not sure whether this kind of stoicism still exists, or should exist, in the age of zero tolerance...
On a side note, a friend's young daughter had a fight with the scissors one day and wound up sporting a very funky short haircut to school. Fortunately for her, the girls in the class all wanted to emulate the new fashion!
You tell me: What would you do if this was your child?