Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Surprise in the Mailbox

Every semester in my freshman composition classes, I have students write an essay about the culture of American advertising. While the magazine advertisements constantly change, they all still seek to manipulate consumers into buying not merely the product or service, but also the dream or desire portrayed in the ad.

I tell my students I've seen it all...but that doesn't mean my jaw still doesn't drop in outrage when I see an ad laced with sexual imagery that has been placed in a magazine for teenage girls.

And this week, it happened again, although this jaw-dropping moment came courtesy of a weekly circular placed in my own mailbox rather than of a student's paper.

Tucked inconspicuously between the Dollar Tree and Winn Dixie circulars was an over sized ad for Halloween ad that just so happened to unfold like a Playboy centerfold. But this fold-out didn't show merely one scantily clad woman. Instead, it was covered with row upon row of 2" rectangle photos containing women who were modeling the various costumes one could buy.

Sexy Witch. Sexy Bar Maid. Sexy Indian Princess. Sexy Nurse. Sexy Woman Firefighter. Sexy Woman Gangster.

Sexy Little Bo Peep!?

The outfits for children were cute. Most of the outfits for men were not worthy of comment. But for women, there was not one outfit that wasn't skin-tight or that didn't have a plunging neckline and a skirt well-suited for the days preceding Noah's flood!

Honestly, if it weren't for the children and men pictured in the ad, too, I might have thought I had just received an advertisement from a sex fantasies shop where a wife could buy sexy little outfits to fulfill her husband's dreams behind closed doors!

But there's obviously nothing private about going to a costume party in one of these costumes.

I know I've been out of the loop for the last year while raising the twins, but I don't think I've had my head buried that deep in a hole.

When did this happen? When did Halloween become equated with demeaning women by flaunting their anatomy about in jest?

Or is this another stab at female empowerment? If so, then where are the costumes that empower me as a woman to keep my secrets that God says are for my husband's eyes only?

Yes, the costumes appall me. But I'm more appalled that I've heard nobody say anything about this trend! And I'm even more appalled that just this week, I've seen Halloween party photos of women I know, women who didn't balk at this sexy dress code.

Oh for a little modesty. For a little more respect for our husbands, letting some parts of our female bodies belong to our men and to them only.


  1. It's not just Halloween. It's any and every single opportunity to prey on young girls and women.

    And you're right! Not many stand against it. Hence, the lack of comments on this post. It's time we raise our voices. I'll be the first to say I have not done my part. I have girls. ALL girls. I don't want to lose them to this battle.

  2. You know, that kinda' looks funny. My comment with my beach avatar.