The costume is on sale now
Here, finally, is the time of year in which Halloween costume designers dig into the recent zeitgeist for inspiration. First up is the one, the only pizza rat. Pizza rat's sole claim to fame is that it successfully dragged a large slice of pizza down subway steps despite human intervention, showing that even a humble rat can make it (or lose it) in the Big Apple. Except, this costume is labeled "sexy" because nothing says sex appeal like a large, dirty rat crawling down filthy subway steps with an old slice of pizza in its mouth. Bless you, New York City, and your rats and pizza. And bless Halloween, too.
“Generally speaking, real life uniformed female police officers do not wear short skirts and low-cut shirts,” a furious mother has fumed on Facebook in an open letter to Party City that’s going viral.
Urging the store to stop selling “sexualized” Halloween costumes for young girls, Lin Kramer’s Sept. 14 post explained that she was “appalled” by the options available to her 3-year-old daughter on Party City’s website when she browsed their Toddler Costumes category.
“While Halloween costumes are undoubtedly about ‘make-believe,’ it is unfathomable that toddler girls and boys who might be interested in dressing up as police officers are seeking to imagine themselves in the incongruent way your business apparently imagines them,” she blasted. “Toddler girls are not imagining and hoping that they will grow up to become a ‘sexy cop’…Please, Party City, open up your view of the world and redesign your marketing scheme to let kids be kids, without imposing on them antiquated views of gender roles.”
Party City responded to the note, but not in the way Kramer had hoped. The company deleted her letter, as well as the comments on it, and blocked her from posting on their page in the future.
Not that the mom is deterred. “In so doing,” she noted in a follow-up comment on Facebook, “they ignited the passion of people who already had an interest in seeing *this* particular change happen.” (Party City did not respond to request for comment from Yahoo Parenting, nor did Kramer). Kramer’s hope in sharing her concern, she told The Huffington Post, is that “others will be encouraged to pause and critically think about what they are seeing — and accepting — from retailers.”
This retailer, however, is standing by its merchandise — and the manner in which they market it. “Nothing we carry is meant to be offensive,” reads a statement from Party City issued to the Huffington Post on Sept. 25, the same day that the company explained in a Facebook comment that Kramer’s original note was deleted against their corporate policy by anemployee since let go. “We expect parents to be as involved in their children’s costume selections as they are in selecting their everyday wardrobe, and we encourage parents to shop with their children. We supply the types of products that our customers, and specifically parents, demand.”
The policewoman costume that Kramer calls out, they noted, is “one of our most popular costumes.”
But do Halloween duds really matter all that much in the end? Child development specialist Dr. Robyn Silverman tells Yahoo Parenting that a limited, sexist range of costume options does impact kids’ ideas, if only for that one day.
“When girls are repeatedly shown ‘girls costumes’ that provide short skirts, tight tops, and fishnets, they can begin to believe that this is the only acceptable way for a girl to dress on Halloween,” explains the body image expert and author of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls And How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It. “Girls should have a range of choices and choose whatever feels right to them whether it’s more traditionally ‘girly’ or more gender neutral. A greater range of choices that are marketed towards both girls and boys would make it easier for parents who are trying to get their girls to see that they can be whatever they want to be.”
If parents don’t approve of the options that they see, though, Silverman says they should simply take action: “Thankfully, there are many more choices for girls [than exist in big box stores like Party City] through other smaller or niche companies, from more realistic police officers and firefighters to female Presidents of the United States.”
The lasting message that kids receive about gender roles ultimately depends on mom and dad. “Parents do need to be strong and talk to their girls, even at younger ages, about media literacy and advertising,” Silverman says. “You can say, ‘There are many costumes to choose from and even if a boy is shown on the front, these costumes can be for a boy or girl.’” It’s not as easy as if both sexes were depicted on the costume’s container and marketing displays, she admits, “but as the trusted source in your daughter’s life, your words still matter.”
That’s a takeaway Kramer is counting on. “I look forward to one day sharing with my daughter this story,” she wrote on Facebook about her costume crusade, “of how I genuinely tried my very best to make this world a better place for her.”
A new British brand has launched a protective face mask for germ-phobics, and not the cheap papery sort.
Freka's Limited Collection N°1 range of 'fashionable facewear' - a £160 contraption available in a selection of colours - claims to filter harmful particles from the atmosphere leaving only purified air for the wearer to inhale.
Billed as 'a bold blend of science and style', the bizarre masks are intended to protect the wearer from germs, pollen and 'dangerous' pollutants - but would you be willing to wear one in public?
Upon first inspection, it may look like a glorified surgical mask, but inside Freka's face mask lies a Darth Vadar-worthy maze of valves.
According to the brand this 'intricate exhalation valve system' includes a replaceable vitaliser that purifies the air as you breathe it.
Freka designer Frank Borsboom told FEMAIL: 'We have spent a lot of time carefully studying the face - the most complex and sensitive part of our body - to create something incredibly unique that truly defines the meaning of facewear.'
He explains that the aesthetic was based on 'classic British tailoring', but that a touch of the East was introduced with the subtle scent of Japanese Hinoki wood detectable in the nose piece.
In many areas of Asia, wearing face masks in public is reasonably common. In Japan, it is something of a fashion statement.
But according to China's former health minister Chen Zhu, there could also be serious health benefits in the wearing of protective masks.
According to Mr Zhu, a leading molecular biologist, pollution in China results in the deaths of between 350,000 and 500,000 people a year - the latter being equivalent to the population of Bristol.
According to London Air, an information site run by King's College London, many areas near central London read in with very high levels of PM 2.5.
Pollen is another health factor, which affects more than 10 million Brits a year according to NHS figures.
A Freka spokesman posed the question: 'Even after recent coverage on poor air quality in big cities, and with hay fever being an issue, why don’t more people in the UK wear masks?
'Simply because of comfort and aesthetics.'
So will Freka's newly launched masks every catch on? This writer was given the opportunity try one and truthfully I am far, far, too vain and British to be seen dead in one.
Yes, it's beautifully packaged, yes, it's comfortable, and yes, it smells like Japanese Hinoki wood, but I'd take hayfever and large doses of pollution over the Darth Vadar look any day.
BRIGHTON, Mich. (WXYZ) - A Brighton woman has stumbled on to an international mystery. It all started after she discovered a note that read, "Help Me! Plz." inside a pack of girls' underwear. It's now being investigating by a New York Company, connected to the family of famous designer, Issac Mizrahi.
When Nicole Perez bought a pack of Tinkerbell underwear for her daughter at a mom-to-mom sale this weekend, she thought she was just getting a good deal. The Brighton mother had no idea there was a hidden message inside until she opened the package.
Perez found a handwritten note on a piece of cardboard insert that read, “Help me! Plz.” The back of the note had a woman’s name, “MayAnn,” listed a phone number and also read “Location: Philippines.”
The underwear is labeled “Made in the Philippines,” and is manufactured by Handcraft Manufacturing Corporation in New York.
“I was terrified. I just felt like everything just dropped to my stomach,” Perez said.
She emailed the manufacturer, who promptly replied with an apology and an offer for a new pack of underwear.
But Perez said she couldn’t ignore the nagging hunch that someone – perhaps the factory worker who packed the underwear – was trying to convey a desperate message to whoever discovered it.
“You’re wondering if this is forced labor, if they're just working long hours, they're putting these underwear together and clearly someone is reaching out for help and so you think about your own kids and you hope that this isn't the case,” Perez said.
No one could be reached at the number on the note.
Rebecca Tungol, president of the Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan said the number might be for a pre-paid cell phone, like many people in the Philippines have. They are often untraceable.
by Lin Kramer
On the hunt for a Halloween costume for her daughter, Party City was the first retail site Lin Kramer visited. Out of genuine concern over what she found – both a general lack of “Career Costumes” for girls, and realistic representations of the few occupations shown gone the route of “cute,” “sassy,” “sexy” – she wrote the following “Open Letter to Party City,” and posted it to their Facebook page. Party City, who is now making lots of noise about standing with nurses and pulling their ads from “The View” as they continue to sell the most insulting “nurse” costumes, chose to silence Lin. So we chose to amplify her voice…
Dear Party City,
Having just finished perusing your website for Halloween costumes for my three-year-old daughter, I am writing in the hopes that you will reconsider some of the content on your website and the antiquated views such content communicates about your company’s beliefs. In order to understand my concerns, please direct your attention to the ‘toddler costumes’ portion of your website. Compare, for instance, the ‘classic’ costumes offered for boys and girls.
As you can see, the classic costumes for boys include 53 assorted options, ranging from traditional vampire attire to a ‘rascal pirate’ to 16 costumes relating to possible occupations. Meanwhile, the classic costumes for girls include 45 options, ranging from a ‘vampire queen’ to a ‘precious pirate’ to three costumes relating to possible occupations. (It is worth noting that I have generously included in this number the ‘cheerleader’ as a possible occupation, despite it being well known that even NFL cheerleaders are not paid well enough for this to be their only source of income, as well as the ‘cowgirl,’ although, unlike the ‘cowboy,’ she is clearly not appropriately dressed to be employed on any sort of working ranch). To be clear, that means 30% of the costumes you market to boys are based on occupations, while just under 7% of the costumes you market to girls are based on occupations.
If the nature of my concern is not already abundantly clear, please now take the opportunity to compare the girl costume representing the occupation of a police officer to the same occupation costumes marketed for boys (see lead image above). Are you beginning to see why this might be concerning to your customers, and, well, society as a whole?
When you look around at the police officers in your city or neighborhood, the uniforms they wear are probably substantially similar to the costumes you have elected to offer for boys. However, the same cannot be said of the costume you market to girls. Generally speaking, real life uniformed female police officers do not wear short skirts and low cut shirts, but instead wear exactly the same slacks and shirts as their male counterparts. Further, while your choice to market these different costumes to different genders is remarkable in and of itself, it is worth noting that this disparate treatment was apparently at least somewhat conscious on the part of your business. I invite you, and anyone else reading this letter, to review the description of the costumes. When describing the girl costume, your marketing team elected to use language like “cute cop” and “sassy and sweet,” while for the boy costume, they chose to note the “realistic scaled-down police shirt” and assert that “this protector of the peace has it all under control!”
I am absolutely appalled that your business reinterprets girls’ innocent and well-intentioned dreams into this costume.
While Halloween costumes are undoubtedly about “make-believe,” it is unfathomable that toddler girls and boys who might be interested in dressing up as police officers are seeking to imagine themselves in the incongruent way your business apparently imagines them. Toddler girls are not imagining and hoping that they will grow up to become a ‘sexy cop’ — which is clearly what your girl costume suggests; rather, young girls, just as young boys, see and admire their family members and neighbors offering service to their communities and delight in the idea of doing the same. I am absolutely appalled that your business reinterprets girls’ innocent and well-intentioned dreams into this costume.
Finally, the thing that I would maybe most like to point out to you is this: Your company could EASILY include many, if not all, of the costumes you have in the boys’ section as options in the girls’ section as well! And in so doing, you would not only improve the message you are sending to society, but you might actually help your bottom line by selling more costumes (since little girls shopping with their parents would be more likely to see these options)! Even if you insist (and I really hope you don’t) on offering the sexualized version of costumes for little girls, you could *also* offer girls the realistic option of the same costume.
Party City’s narrow and warped viewed of “careers” for girls extends beyond their toddler offerings.
Look at the world around you: In a world where Ronda Rousey and Danica Patrick are excelling, there are certainly girls who would be interested in that Toddler Boys Everlast Boxer Costume or that Turbo Racer Muscle Costume. Perhaps you recently read about Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, the first female graduates of Ranger School; knowing that these women were once little girls, doesn’t it seem like maybe there are girls out there today who would have some interest in the Combat Soldier Costume or the Flight Suit Costume? And surely, having observed female doctors when walking down the halls of a hospital, or female construction workers when driving down the street, or female postal workers when mailing a letter, it is reasonable to believe – both from a sociological and business perspective – that there are girls who might be interested in such costumes just as there are women who are interested in these professions.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with little girls who enjoy and want to dress up this Halloween as a ‘Light Up Twinkler Witch,’ or a ‘Doo Wop Darling,’ or an ‘Enchanted Stars Princess,’ there is also absolutely nothing wrong with little girls who might wish to give the ‘UPS Driver’ costume or the ‘Ride in Train’ costume a try! Please, Party City, open up your view of the world and redesign your marketing scheme to let kids be kids, without imposing on them antiquated views of gender roles.
Lin originally posted her open letter to Party City’s Facebook page, and the company did initially respond to her with the following reply: “Hi Lin, thank you for reaching out to us. We appreciate the insight and will consider your feedback for the future. Thank you.”
However, that response was quickly deleted from Party City’s Facebook page, along with Lin’s open letter and all the comments posted by others. They even went as far as to ban Lin from their page. She told us this morning, “Not only did they delete my letter, but they actually appear to have blocked me from being able to comment or share anything on their Facebook page.” Party City’s comments policy on their Facbeook page states, “This page is monitored in accordance with Facebook terms and conditions. Fan posts containing foul language, hate speech, or other inappropriate content are subject to removal.” Lin added, “Apparently, under their thought process, my letter falls into one of those categories.”
Just days later, Party City became the fifth major brand to pull its ads from “The View” in response to ignorant and derogatory comments made by two of the show’s hosts about nurses. We find this move incredibly ironic, since this is what Party City thinks of nurses when it comes to emulating them on Halloween. It’s painfully clear that this retailer does not practice what it preaches and #nursesmatter to them only now… when they can cash-in on the PR of someone else’s ignorance, while hiding their own.
[UPDATE: “Party City Makes Official Statement, Then Changes Story On Facebook… And Still Fails To Contact Lin Kramer”… full details here]