If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past week, you’ve no doubt seen the uproar over Wal-Mart’s “naughty leopard” costume for toddlers. I decided to refrain from clicking on these links, deciding to keep the last shred of faith in humanity that I had. But today, curiosity got the best of me. When my eyes were met with a cute kid in a purple tutu, all I could think was “This is what everyone is so peeved about?”
There is absolutely nothing inherently sexy about this costume. The girl in the picture is fully clothed, save for that oh-so-scandalous transparent sleeve. I doubt if anyone up in arms about this situation saw a two-year-old cruisin’ for tricks or treats in that getup, their response would be “Aww!” instead of “Ahh!”
So then what about the name? The word “naughty,” as defined by Merriam-Webster, means “behaving badly.” In the Oxford English Dictionary, “naughty” means “(especially of children) disobedient; badly behaved.” It is only the secondary entries in these dictionaries that mention anything sexual. Sounds to me like the Naughty Leopard is more likely to snag that king-sized Kit-Kat from someone else’s plastic pumpkin than anything else of questionable taste.
On the other hand, it’s easy to understand where the malcontent stems from. It’s not exactly a secret that Halloween costumes that target girls and women have become increasingly sexualized with each passing year, and that is incredibly disappointing to witness. It’s harder to find one of those awesome sumo-suits for a 10 year-old lass than it is to find something along the lines of a half-naked Tinkerbell-glitter-glue hybrid. So the thought of this trend potentially extending into the toddler realm is pretty disconcerting.
But I think we need to be honest: At most, this was a poorly-planned marketing mistake that isn’t hurting anybody. If anything, the sexualization of this situation stems completely from the public and the mentality with which we sexualize everything. If anyone is at fault, it’s not the costume company, it’s us. And that, my friends, is more disturbing than a Naughty Leopard costume looking absolutely nothing like a leopard.
Thanks to the Huffington Post
Image via KATU