In 2019, children can dress up as the Devil, Dracula, or a Jersey Shore castmember … But a little girl can’t dress up as a future bride?
According to News.com.au, a Kmart in Australia pulled a kiddie bride costume from its shelves after a Melbourne woman named Shannon B. launched a Change.org petition, claiming the costume trivializes child brides and sex trafficking victims.
“Tell Kmart this is beyond inappropriate and offensive and that they have a social responsibility to pull this item off their shelves immediately,” the petition read. “Please help me get this message to Kmart by signing this petition.”
“Each year, 12 million children (girls as young as 6 years old — the same size as this ‘costume’) are sold or married off by their family without their consent. That’s one million child marriages per month!” it continued. “That equates to 23 children every minute or 1 child every 2 minutes. If this continues, 150 million more children will be married by the year 2030.”
“Child marriage means child abuse and torture in its worst forms — paedophilia, child rape, child slavery, child sex trafficking. Kmart — Take this child bride costume off your shelves,” it concluded.
Shannon B. said nothing about the social ramifications of little girls dressing up as Belle, Snow White, or Cinderella for Halloween — princesses whose stories center around marrying a prince among other things.
The petition received only 200 signatures, many from people who admitted they simply wanted to troll Shannon B. for being unreasonable.
“Shannon, this kind of crap is what makes people hate others,” one person wrote. “It’s just a costume for goodness sake.”
“My daughter has asked multiple times for a ‘dress like mummy had.’ It is a dress up nothing more … you’re ruining it for everyone. Get over yourself,” wrote another.
“Dude seriously, get a life. It’s a costume,” another said.
People who agreed with Shannon B. phrased it in feminist terms. “Totally agree. this [sic] is absurd and role defining! Wrong age group too,” said one person.
“Anything that trivialises child marriage is disturbing,” child rights campaigner Mercy Chipo Jumo said.
Despite the fact that Shannon B.’s petition generated no significant backlash, Kmart Australia decided to pull the costume anyway.
“Kmart Australia regrets the decision to range the bride costume,” a spokesperson told news.com.au. “It was not intended to cause offence and we sincerely apologise. We have made the decision to withdraw this product.”
This costume was banned at an Australian Kmart: pic.twitter.com/FeoDidMe5e
— Paul Bois (@PaulBois39) October 24, 2019
Halloween has increasingly become a holiday invaded upon by political correctness in recent years, with universities issuing costume bans and schools canceling celebrations altogether. Just last month, the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, announced that Halloween celebrations would be suspended over a lack of inclusivity.
“As part of our school and district-wide commitment to equity, we are focused on building community and creating inclusive, welcoming environments for all,” the statement from the superintendents read. “While we recognize that Halloween is a fun tradition for many, it is not a holiday that is celebrated by everyone for various reasons and we want to honor that.”
“We are also aware of the range of inequities that are embedded in Halloween celebrations that take place as part of the school day and the unintended negative impact that it can have on some students, families, and staff,” the statement continued. “As a result, we are moving away from Halloween celebrations that include costumes and similar traditions during the school day. We are confident our school communities will find new and engaging ways to build community within their schools.”