Yes, I’m judging

I don’t normally judge other parents. At least not publicly. But when someone does something as grotesque as dressing their child in a Ray Rice costume, I can’t hold back. Yes, I’m judging. I was shocked and disgusted when I saw this photo online:

Ray Rice costume

From an Instagram feed that was taken down since this photo went viral.

Someone thought it was ok- funny, even- to dress their kid up as Ray Rice, carrying a doll who represents Janay Rice. Because domestic violence is so funny? I’m not laughing. There is nothing funny about this costume, whether you’re putting on a kid, an adult, or the family pet. I think it’s safe to say you wouldn’t show up at Janay Rice’s home to trick or treat in this costume. So why would you show up anywhere else in it?

On the spectrum of clever versus offensive, there are some costumes, such as the Ray Rice one, that are obviously on the offensive side. And there are others, like the cupcake I saw on Pinterest but never had the energy to make, that are clearly on the clever side. It’s easy to make these distinctions, and even easier to choose appropriate costumes when your kids are young enough to be convinced that whatever you made/bought/threw together at the last  minute is awesome.

It gets tricky when the costume idea is somewhere in the murky middle, and even trickier when your child is old enough to have a say in the costume. If I were on the fence about whether a particular costume were ok for my kid to wear, here are the guidelines I’d use:
-If the costume would be hurtful to a person or a group, it’s not ok.
-If the costume makes light of violence, it’s not ok.
-If the costume sexualizes a pre-pubescent child, it’s not ok.

While I certainly do not think tasteless Halloween costumes are the cause of insensitivity and suffering in the world, I do think that as a culture, we are desensitized to sex and violence. Dressing our kids up as wife beaters and Jersey Shore cast members isn’t helping anything. (But damn if that little girl doesn’t look scary similar to Snooki).

How do you decide what’s ok for your kid- or you, for that matter- to wear on Halloween?


4 thoughts on “Yes, I’m judging

    • Pam says:

      Heck if I know. I do wonder if they would have done this ten years ago, when there was no way to post it and get attention on social media, however…

  1. Julia Arnold @ Frantic Mama says:

    I saw that same photo on the news the other day. The kid probably has no clue what it all means, but OMG how insensitive of the parents!

    I also really dislike how many little girl’s costumes are “sexy.” It is so disturbing.

    My son was his favorite country singer this year (his choice, and he OWNED it!), and my daughter was a Michigan cheerleader (but NOT sexy– she had leggings and a turtleneck on for goodness sake! 🙂 )
    What did yours end up being?

    • Pam says:

      Sounds cute!! My girls were strawberries. One (the tiny one) I made for my older daughter when she was a baby and I bought the bigger one. I used to think I would never buy a costume. My mom made all of ours, or else we made them ourselves. But Mama’s only got so much time! (And patience!)

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