I don’t consider myself a ball-busting feminist. I’m a woman who believes every woman has the right to be what she wants and who wants her daughter to have the opportunity to do whatever she wants in life. I’m a feminist like all women should be.
I know the arguments against over sexualized Halloween costumes for girls and women has been made over and over again. But I’m going to make another one.
You know how I said that I believe my daughter should be anything she wants? Well, I have the fear that soon enough she’s going to want to be a princess both in life and on Halloween. And I know that’s not BAD per se. I was a princess for kindergarten and my mom made my costume and it was amazing and I am quoted at looking at myself in the mirror and saying “I’m the most beautiful girl in the whole world.” Wow. Where did that confidence go?
I want to give my daughter the opportunity to know she can be other things, too. (And btw, why do girls have to settle for Princess? How about being a Queen?)
So until my daughter has the opinion to tell me what she wants to be a Halloween, I’m doing my small and silly (and maybe melodramatic and over the top but have you met me?) part by having her be strong women in history. Last year for Halloween, she was Amelia Earhardt. For our 4th of July parade this summer, she was Rosie the Riveter.
This year, I’m putting together a costume for her to be Joan of Arc. A google search offered me no options for girls toddler knight costumes (the best I could do.) But there were many options for boy toddlers. And a generic Joan of Arc costume search found the above. There are so many amazing artist renderings of Joan of Arc from the times she was standing up for what she believed was right. Astride a horse, bowing in front of a cross, leading a group of men into battle during a time when women were treated like property (oh? you mean that’s still happening?). Guess what?
Not ONE of those renderings is of Joan in a Angelina Jolie-inspired slitted dress and a faux iron bustier, folks. Also, I’m not a religious historian but I can assure you that Joan never wore a pink tutu. (Not that there’s anything wrong with a tutu in general, calm down. I wish I could wear one to work sometimes.) I know you’re shocked to hear that there’s no historic accuracy in Joan of Arc in a slitted skirt or a tutu!
So WHY? Why do we need to feminize a woman, a role, a costume that in itself is the epitome of a strong female AHEAD of her time? Ironically, in doing so, we are moving BACKWARD.
Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Maybe. But I think its important to help my daughter and the world understand the FACT that Joan of Arc DID NOT EVER WEAR LACE UP STRIPPER HEELS during ANY documented religious siege. That’s not what she was burned at the stake for either, folks.
Now… I’m off to eat Halloween candy but leaving with a shout out to the moms of all the girls whose images I found online as they dressed as accurate Joans for religious celebrations but whose images I did not want to post for fear of invading privacy. You’re doing it right and I’m proud of you and you’re HELPING.
Disclaimer: In no way is this post meant to attack the companies who produce these costumes as they are really just reacting to a demand they see in a market for these costumes and the (in case of the adult costume) college girls who “need” something sexy to stumble home drunk in. FYI that in college I was respective angel and I stumbled home just FINE in flip flops. THANKS!