Amazon has found itself in hot water after it was revealed that the retailer has stocked a variety of ‘sexy’ children’s Halloween costumes since 2014.
The costumes, listed for children ages 4-5, were made by Hong Kong-based lingerie retailer Silvia’s Wand and included a “Sexy … SchoolGirl” costume, a “Sexy Snow White Cinderella” costume, and a “Sexy Queen Princess” costume, among other styles.
Most options were marked within the $25 to $30 range, with some skirts only 11 inches long. In addition, some of the children modeling the costumes seemed to pose provocatively.
Amazon was alerted to the inappropriate products after child advocacy groups, including Kidscape U.K., and charities spoke out, prompting the retailer to remove the product listings.
The retailer has since said it isn’t responsible for the products, as Silvia’s Wand distributed its products through the company’s U.K. site, according to the Daily Mail.
Surprisingly, Silvia’s Wand isn’t the only online retailer selling sexualized costumes for children. A quick search on Alibaba, one of the world’s largest online commerce sites, yields hundreds of costumes for children with the words ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’ attached to them.
“Girls are learning at the youngest ages that their value comes from how they look, and the definition of attractive is very narrowly defined as being sexy or sassy (for the younger girls),” Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girly-Girl Culture, told CNN. “Sexuality is imposed upon them inappropriately, and they are encouraged to define their bodies — not by how their bodies feel to themselves but by how they look to others. This creates vulnerabilities for girls to the pitfalls we worry about — distorted body image, eating disorders, depression, and unhealthy sexual behavior.”
Hopefully, the negative publicity Amazon has received will help bring about a change among other retailers and they will market age-appropriate costumes to the children and teens who enjoy this scary holiday.