Maybe I need to get out more. Or is it that I’m hanging with a boring crowd? Whatever the case, an innocent trip to the party store to purchase items for a baby shower led me to discover an entirely new opportunity to shake my head in disbelief, along with my 11-year-old daughter. There are so many offensive frontiers out there that I shouldn’t be surprised anymore when I stumble upon one. It certainly provides a teachable moment for whichever of my offspring happens to be with me. We discovered that Mrs. Claus isn’t who she used to be. She’s sexy. And so are elves. And winter wonderland vixens.
Everybody loves a good party, and costumes seem to be standard fare these days for holidays like Halloween (of course), which is apparently more lucrative for adult purchases than for children. Remember our Dialog blog about “Sexy” Rosie the Riveter? These days everything is made “sexy” or “hot” from tweens and up. As costumes go, there is also an apparently strong market for St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and other holiday costumes because for some reason adults need to dress up to celebrate them. (And that’s an entirely different blog post that needs to be written.) The overall theme is that women need to be scantily clad (oops, I mean “sexy”), while men are covered in armor or wool from head to toe. Santa sure isn’t baring any skin. I’m not against sexy, but why has it become the default for women and girls? Many studies document the negative impact of these kinds of images on girls.
So it wasn’t totally surprising as we perused the aisles of balloons, invitations, and candy to come upon the usual holiday costumes (reindeer antlers, elves, Santa suit) and find out that Mrs. Claus has a new attitude. She’s a babe. She’s Adult Sexy Lace-up Ms. Santa. Definitely not the one from storybooks. You know — ruffled white cap and red dress with an apron (on all the time, because apparently she spends a lot of time in the kitchen to keep Santa well-fed). The Adult Sexy Elf costume caught my eye as my daughter stood beside me with an expression that clearly showed her annoyance.
Later, at home, I checked out the retailer’s online site (where we buy totally innocuous items for birthday parties and other events), and it went downhill even further. There’s even a section with the Top 10 Sexy Santa Costumes for Women, including Adult Toyland Babe (“This sexy helper is really heating up the workshop!”), Adult Holiday Honey Elf (“All he wants for Christmas is his honey elf, dressed and prepped for the occasion!”), and Adult Sexy Foxy Frosti (“This snow fox will melt any icy heart!”) Even the basic Mrs. Claus costume can’t maintain her dignity with the online description “’Tis the season for matronly sex appeal … ” I am not making this up. I wish I were.
I haven’t seen a Sexy Mary costume yet — but unfortunately it’s probably only a matter of time.
My hope for 2013 — let girls be girls and “sexy” not precede the description for “elf.”