The Washington Post, apparently unconcerned that its reputation as a serious newspaper might get a bit sullied, has posed a burning, riveting question sure to keep Americans up at night: Is your dog’s Halloween costume sexist?
Now, assuming you dress your dog up for Halloween, (and who doesn’t?), try not to be offended by PetSmart, where the dogs’ career costumes labeled “male” include firefighter and police officer, but female dogs are offered costumes like a pink cowgirl costume and pink loofah.
PetSmart is not alone in perpetuating the horrific sexist treatment of dogs, whether Fido or Fidette. BaxterBoo.com offers costumes for Fidette including “sweet heart nurse” or French maid. To make matters worse, the description for Fidette’s costume reads, “Any tidy girl dog will look adorable wearing this French Maid Dog Costume. Whether your pup is a clean freak or a messy mutt, she will enjoy playing ‘dress up’ in this fun costume.”
But for Fido, the macho choices include fireman, mob boss and doctor, with the latter suggested to “match up with a girl friend with the Sweet Heart Nurse Dog Costume.”
According to the National Retail Federation, 16 percent of Americans say they’ll dress up their dogs for Halloween.
Scott Lawrie, 36, who co-hosts a podcast revolving around gender issues titled She Will Not Be Ignored, lamented, “It seems silly on the surface, but this is part of a larger message we’re sending, that there are certain jobs for men, and certain jobs for women. The career options for women — and dogs — need to go beyond pink loofahs and pink cowgirls.” Lawrie tried to ascertain if there were a practical reason for the gender differentiation in dog costume, surmising, “I thought surely there was some reason behind this: maybe the pets needed to relieve themselves a certain way, or something like that. But all of the costumes are identical.”
There may be a more mundane reason for the outlets’ gender differentiation: At Party City, Supergirl and Wonder Woman dog costumes were priced 30 percent higher than Superman costumes; Batgirl costumes sold for 33% more than Batman costumes.
As difficult and painful as it for female dogs to endure the sexist implications of their costumes, they may not want to complain to their male counterparts who have been neutered.
The response may not be as understanding as they might wish.