Where’d that 6-year-old get an AK-47?

Seriously. Where.

While the rest of the internet is in a tizzy about Sexy Noun costumes being the only ones available to women in Halloween stores, my Halloween-related moral panic is CHILDREN! WITH GUNS!

As I strolled the aisles of a Halloween store last weekend, I was struck by the sheer volume of military costumes for boys. And not just any military costumes. Military costumes like this:

If that one wasn’t gross enough, I was treated to this gem as well:

I’m sure parents all over the country are thinking: Finally! Now I can teach my young son how to be racially insensitive AND hypermacho at the same time! Yes!!! Spirit is the best Halloween store EVER!

I also saw a toy AK-47 (hence this post’s title) that had a picture of a young boy on the package. I can only assume this is meant to signal that this is an AK-47 meant for children, not adults, thus saving all of us the embarrassment of showing up to a party with a little kid’s gun. (Bullet dodged! ha… ha..)

Now, I’m not saying that a child dressing up as a soldier for Halloween is necessarily a cause for moral panic. As much as it might make me uncomfortable to see a 7-year-old in military fatigues, I can’t say it’s all that much different (to a child) than dressing up as a firefighter or a cop. And if this child has a parent in the military, I can understand why he or she might want to wear a military costume.

What I don’t understand is the two costumes I posted pictures of. However, they make more sense in light of the fact that United States culture seems to be pressing hypermasculinity on boys earlier and earlier. That same weekend, I was in a Game Stop and heard a boy no older than seven ask his father if the new Call of Duty was out yet. He could barely pronounce Call of Duty, he was so young. Of course, the problem of Call of Duty and its effect on other games, and what effects they all have on our society (especially when younger and younger children are playing them) is a complex enough issue for its own post.

As much as we as a country pretend to be concerned with keeping guns off our streets etc etc, where’s all the moral panic about 6-year-olds carrying toy guns and wearing weird dreadlock wigs? What are we teaching little boys about violence? Why does Call of Duty have to ruin every non-fantasy game series I enjoy? Who the hell would let their kid wear a “Dreads Commando” costume?

I can’t answer any of these questions, at least not in so small a space. In any case, deconstructing the hypermasculinity sold to boys is just as important as deconstructing the hyperfemininity being pushed on girls. Both are extremely detrimental to society and to individual boys and girls. So, consider raising hell about these at the same time that you’re complaining about cutesy pink Batgirl and her sidekick cutesy tutu Batgirl.

-Joanna

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Costumes, Costumes, Costumes

Regular readers will probably have noticed it’s been a bit of a ghost town recently around here. My excuse is, holy shit my thesis. But I’m back (today, anyway) for the one-year anniversary post about (what else) comics!

Now, after giving up on AvsX, I haven’t been paying too much attention to what Marvel’s been doing lately. (Again, holy fucking thesis). I do know that Marvel is relaunching Uncanny X-Force, and the updated costumes rock. Storm’s mohawk is back, and Psylocke gave up the bathing suit!

Comics Alliance interviewed the writer and artist about the new costumes, and guess what? They thought about practicality and character personalities when designing the new costumes! I thought the day would never come. Artist Kris Anka had this to say: “I felt that every costume should not only highlight the personality of the character it is wrapped around, but also of the function that the costumes will serve towards.” For this reason, Psylocke was given an outfit she wouldn’t be “falling out” in, and they took away her heels. While I’m extremely supportive of this change, I wish it hadn’t just been made with Psylocke. The other female team members also, despite not being ninjas, need “mobility,” so those wedge shoes need to go. It’s disappointing that in a design so heavily focused on functionality, wedge heels still make the cut.

They look great on Storm’s new costume (which I love! someone cosplay it! immediately!), and emphasize her regal posture, but since realism was a factor in the design, it falls a little short. It’s also one of those moments where I wish someone asked a woman what she thought of the design. Aesthetically it’s wonderful, but, again, these costumes were supposed to be more than just pretty.

Interestingly, the female version of Fantomex has smaller wedge heels than Storm:

This means that they considered that two female characters might choose different heel heights, but still decided that they would both choose heels.

Still, there’s a lot to like about the new costumes and the new team, including the 4:2 female-to-male ratio. Kudos to Anka and Humphries for making my week better after it was ruined by seeing this gross chained-up Storm cover of Wolverine and the X-Men. Also, kudos to commenters on the Comics Alliance article for suggesting Storm’s hair be left natural, and even posting this cool picture of a natural mohawk.

And, in case reading about these costume changes is getting you in the mood for making your own costumes, there’s a great site called Take Back Halloween that catalogs really cool costume ideas and how-tos for women who aren’t interested in the generic Sexy Version of Whatever Men are Wearing style of Halloween costumes.

Til next time!

-Joanna