Friday, 23 October 2015


It's strange how traditions are established and become so much a part of our lives that whole industries spring up to "service them". 

Someone writing in the one of the newspapers about Hallowe'en said, "My 12-year-old daughter, Margaret, said she wanted to be the Cheshire Cat this year for Halloween. The grinning, shape-shifting Cheshire Cat, who made his literary debut in Lewis Carroll’s enduring classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland." 

She talked about looking for costumes in Party City. I had never heard of this so I Googled it and found out that it is an American online supplier of costumes for all sorts of occasions. And, of course, Hallowe'en is a very American tradition. Hence the writer's daughter planning in advance what her outfit would be. 

The journalist's main gripe was that she could not find a Hallowe'en costume of any description for a 12 year old girl that was not marketed as being "sexy", as if that was the most important thing for a 12 year old girl. How odd that a tradition that has children, yes, children, going round asking for sweets from their neighbours, should combine that with little girls dressing up to look tarty. As the journalist pointed out, the same criteria do not apply to costumes for boys. 

In the end she purchased some bits and pieces and went, as she often did apparently, to Grandma for some help with sewing a costume to her own standards. 

I wonder about the use of that adjective, "sexy". Looking at the kid of fancy dress outfits you see on sale here, it is clear that girls really are expected to dress up to look as sexually attractive as possible. Sexism raises its ugly head again! On the other hand I have recently heard "sexy" used simply to mean "pretty" or "nice looking". Our 18 year old granddaughter came spluttering into the house recently declaring, " Did she really just tell her dog it was SEXY?" She could not believe that our next door neighbour had just addressed her new puppy, the shug(!), in just that way. I told her, however, that her ears were not playing tricks on her. I had heard the same neighbour telling one of her grandchildren, a tiny boy of about 18 months old, that he was sexy! 

Is the word subtly changing its meaning or is it just my neighbour? 

It's a funny old world.

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