There’s no denying it: We’re looking at the tail end of a politically charged year. And 2017 kids are likely a lot more aware of the fraught sociopolitical climate surrounding them than, say, 2010 kids were. If you’re a parent, you may be fielding kids’ questions about racism, sexism and bigotry more often than you’d like. But keep those answers coming, because honest discussion is the only way we can hope to foster a new generation of open-minded, educated, empowered, free-thinking intersectional feminists. Well, that and Halloween costumes.
Why not? There’s no reason kids can’t turn this holiday of dress-up and make-believe into a fun and educational chance to embody a powerful woman — real or imagined — who’s got strength and smarts in spades. At the very least, it’ll be a welcome switch from princesses and fairies.
And hey, even if you can’t fully explain to your baby quite yet what it means to believe in full equality for all genders, religions, orientations, races and abilities, you can at least snap a photo so you can tell them all about it in a few years. Here, 10 feminist costume ideas even the tiniest nasty women will love.
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Artist Frida Kahlo used her creative medium to bring awareness to a variety of issues — such as gender, class, race and identity — in the early- to mid-20th century. If your heart is still aching with Mexico as it recovers from the earthquake that ravaged its capital, encourage a toddler to pay tribute to the country’s history with this simple (and beautiful!) Halloween costume.
When women were protesting the right to vote in the suffrage movement of the 1920s, eventually resulting in the 19th Amendment, many proudly displayed their ‘Votes for Women’ sashes. Even though an 8-month-old gal might have to wait another 17 years and four months before she can cast her selection for president, reaffirm the importance of exercising her constitutional rights early with a “suffragette” onesie she can wear on Halloween and all year long. Have an older kiddo? Transform her into the infamous leader of the suffrage movement, Susan B. Anthony, with this traditional costume.
You might think the hoopla surrounding the “nasty woman” movement has died down, but many would argue that this is only the beginning. This onesie will be a timeless standby costume that can be passed down from sister to brother and beyond. Accessorize at will with pink pussy hat, “I’m Still With Her” button — go wild.
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Rosie the Riveter
During World War II, Rosie the Riveter represented the expanding female workforce that filled in for men at factories and shipyards when the men were sent abroad. Though the battle for equal pay and opportunity for women continues, iconic Rosie remains a cultural representation that jump-started the feminist movement during that time period. And if you’re not handy with a sewing machine, you’ll appreciate the ease of this costume, which comes complete with everything you need to make a riveter out of the kid in your life.
Best known as a civil rights activist and feminist, writer and poet Audre Lorde used her words to make waves. Through writing, she tackled social injustices impacting the black community. This toddler-size shirt could raise some eyebrows and jump-start important conversations about race today.
The First Female President
Of all the hopes you have for the kids in your life, you probably hope they’ll witness much more progress in their lifetime ahead — compared to the few years they’ve been on Earth so far. This to-the-point “Future President” tee for toddlers tells them they can be whomever they want to be, haters be damned. Accessorize with a tiny suit jacket — and bonus points if you and a partner dress up as bodyguards.
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For a modern take on feminism, let the budding musician in your life sing her heart out as one of the most iconic strong women of our time. Thanks to Beyoncé‘s powerful lyrics, activism and sheer talent, this award-winning superstar is a Halloween (and everyday) role model for any kid. With some braids, jewelry and a hat, kiddo will be Lemonade-ready.
A black turtleneck and glasses is definitely the lazy-girl’s feminist Halloween costume, but who wouldn’t want to be Gloria Steinem for a day? Since the 1960s, Steinem has remained a pivotal leader in the feminist movement, founding Ms. magazine and writing/speaking all over the place. There’s no better Halloween treat than political debate, right?
If you have a talker on your hands — questioning everything and always seeking truth — encourage them to pursue a path to the courthouse via this inspiring (and majorly easy) costume. Sonia Sotomayor has served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 2009. She also happens to be the first justice of Hispanic heritage and the first Latina, as well as the third female. Talk about a role model!
Who said all heroines need to be real? Getting lost in the magical world of Hogwarts isn’t difficult for most kids, since many would love to have the power to fly, be invisible or cast spells. But while there are plenty of reasons to adore Harry Potter, an easy in for parents or caregivers who want to teach about feminism without getting too deep is the character of Hermione Granger. Independent, brave and tenacious, this witch’s spirit will make Halloween that much more exciting.
Regardless of whether you go with a classic or modern take on feminism, encouraging another gaggle of bra-burners to be confident and kick ass isn’t just about the costume they wear on Halloween. It’s a look they can sport — and rock — for the rest of their lives. Trick or treat or smashing the patriarchy? Both, we hope.
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