Halloween is around the corner, so of course this “naughty” toddler costume is being sold at Walmart


“Naughty Leopard” toddler costume spotted by Rachael in WalMart.

We all know Halloween can bring out the worst in already terrible people, with its penchant for insensitive, sexist costumes, cultural appropriation and of course the phenomenon we will refer to as “Sexy Halloween“. But I had hoped we were still too far out to start seeing signs of the Hallo-pocalypse, it being September and all. Not so, according to the Consumerist and a good samaritan reader named Rachael, who snapped a photo of this “Naughty Leopard” costume for toddlers. That’s right, your small girl-child is being urged by Walmart to invoke one side of the virgin-whore dichotomy whilst dressing up for Halloween this year.

Perhaps most confusingly, the outfit itself reads more “adorable leopard” and less “sex sex naughty sex” to me, which means that it’s deliberate marketing and less some necessity of design (?) that’s leading to this completely inappropriate sexualization of young girls.

A friendly public service reminder, one week out from October: Here are some non-racist non-sexist Halloween costume ideas. And don’t forget one of our favorite Tumblrs, Fuck No Sexist Halloween Costumes!, whose page suggests it might begin to update again for the new season shortly.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/kcar1/ kcar1


    On the bright side, I bet this will be dumped into the bargain bin en masse because it is a lame costume from a small child’s perspective.

    It is a not-so-pretty dress compared to the PINK and PURPLE and SPARKLY options, particularly the Disney Princess themed options that have a LOT of cache among the preschool set.

    And it doesn’t look like a leopard if that is what the child wants. Preschoolers are pretty concrete in their thinking and are probably more than familiar with Diego and Baby Jaguar, which is the visual they are going to costume shopping/wearing. No tail, not the right color, not a leopard/jaguar.

  • honeybee

    When I looked at the pic I just assumed the ‘naughty’ referred to kids well, being naughty. In the same way little boys can be naughty. But reading your article maybe it does refer to sex?

    What’s weird is it’s not sexy so why did they throw the “naughty” in there?

    • http://feministing.com/members/skjaere/ Skjaere

      Show me a “naughty wolf boy” costume or similar, and one might have an argument in that direction, but if the “naughty” label is only applied to female costumes, it certainly is a lot more questionable.

      • honeybee

        Well in all fairness if you google “halloween costumes boys naughty” you find all kinds of boys costumes labelled as “naughty” though most seem for teens. But I get your point.

  • http://feministing.com/members/laurenkellyny/ Lauren

    This is the worst. Perpetuating “naughty” as sexual and needing of punishment toes the line between sexuality as empowerment and rape culture as is, I think it always needs more context. Obviously though, a kid’s halloween costume needs to be very very far from anything sexual. The worst.

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    Well, I suppose “naughty” could mean “mischievious”, I know the Smurf movie that just came out for kids had all these posters around the city of Smurf characters called “the Naughties”, don’t think it was sexual.

    But none of this changes the fact that this doesn’t remotely look like a leopard costume.

  • http://feministing.com/members/ladysonic/ Josie Poulter

    ”Naughty” might be an ambiguous term, but with ”sexy” having seemingly become the default label for costumes – at least for women – it’s understandable that people will be on their guard.

    If it was meant in a sexualised way – what the hell??! The weird thing is the costume itself seems fairly innocent (albeit not looking anything like a leopard); I don’t think anything about it could be viewed in a sinister way until someone had the bright idea of labelling it ”naughty”.

    The whole ”sexy costume ” trend really annoys me overall. Yes, adults can dress up how they like, but it would be nice if there were a bigger market for decent costumes whose primary function *wasn’t* to titillate.

  • http://feministing.com/members/ailammalia12/ Malia

    “Naughty” is definitely a bad choice of word in this context. Even if it wasn’t meant in a sexual manner, it still perpetuates a negative assumption of toddler behaviour being ‘naughty’. I mean, you want kids to associate themselves in a positive light. As a mother, those kinds of things do bother me. I’m quite sure they could’ve achieved the purpose of the costume, without using the word “naughty”.

    And since when is a leopard purple?