This is an excerpt from my first post on the Patheos Faith and Family channel. To read the entire post click Dad, Don’t Let Your Daughter Wear Sexualized Halloween Costumes.
Generation X Fathers and The Sexualized Childhood
Remember back in the 1970s when a flame retardant red devil costume from Ben Cooper pushed the envelope of decency for trick-or-treaters? My Silent Generation father forbid such giddups. Throughout my Gen X childhood and youth he frequently cited Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians:
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
He believed if I dressed up like a demon I might invite a real one into my life. He warned me that if I gave the devil a foothold in my life I might be pressured to sin and the wages of sin were (gasp) death.
That would be worse than finding a razor in my apple!
His arguments were painfully unfashionable for a girl who wanted be Isis (think Joanna Cameron), Wonder Woman or I Dream Of Jeannie for Halloween. As far back as 1976, I understood the value of being sexy and cool. And, I so wanted to be. When, I was eight. Eight! Did I mention this was 1976?
Lucky for me, my father set boundaries. He encouraged me to hide God’s Word in my heart so it would be there when I needed it most — say in middle age when beauty starts to fade.
The Growing Sexualization of Childhood
Generation X has traveled many miles since those Ben Cooper days and the amber glow of storybook porch lights and pillowcases full of candy. Unbelievably, the sexualization of children’s Halloween costumes now makes me a little nostalgic for the plastic red devil masks. Given the underprotected childhoods of Gen X and our subsequent overparenting, it’s shocking that we’ve been so quick to rub the shine off our kids’ innocence, not to mention granting them unfettered access to an Internet full of porn and debauchery.
What a failure.