THE PINK DRAGON IS FEMALE

Halloween Costumes and Gender Markers

Authors


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Adie Nelson, Department of Sociology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada. E-mail: adie@artspas.uwaterloo.ca

Abstract

A content analysis of 469 children's Halloween costumes explored the extent to which children's fantasy dress reproduces and reiterates more conventional messages about gender. Based on the presence of gender markers, masculine, feminine, and gender-neutral costumes were identified and reanalyzed using a modified version of Klapp's (1962) categorization of heroes, villains, and fools. Both male and female costumes contained a high proportion of hero costumes. However, feminine costumes were clustered in a narrow range depicting beauty queens, princesses, and other exemplars of traditional femininity and contained a higher proportion of costumes of animals and foodstuffs. Masculine costumes emphasized the warrior theme of masculinity and were more likely to feature villains, especially agents or symbols of death. Gender-neutral costumes accounted for less than 10% of costumes examined.

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