Monday, October 1, 2012

Boycott Good, Censorship Bad

I came across an internet news article (of dubious origin) on the subject of sexualizing Halloween, with the following headline, and it got me to thinking about what exactly it is about calls to action like this that disturb me so, as a civil rights advocate:

"Stop Selling Halloween Costumes That Sexualize Girls!"

Really? So much for freedom of choice. If you don't like this trend in Halloween costumes, I fully respect your right to your opinion, but how about "Stop Buying Halloween Costumes That Sexualize Girls" instead? Your objection to the notion that people would willingly buy into the sexualization of girls is duly noted, but your insistence that businesses not even be allowed to offer this choice to potentially discerning customers (benefit of the doubt, anyone?) is alarming.

I would fully support a new chain of costume stores that specialize in 'traditional' (that is: scary) Halloween costumes, or even one that's totally geared toward 'age-appropriate' (by completely subjective standards) kids' Halloween costumes (assuming such a thing would be profitable), as long as they're not accompanied by vindictive ad campaigns designed to smear the sexier competition (rather than offering "a refreshing alternative").

But you know, what's popular will be popular, and supply has a tendency to meet demand. The important thing is that people have a choice. You can argue why you think one choice is better than another, but calling to eliminate the very option you detest from being considered by others is very dangerous ground. Why can't we just live and let live?

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