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Kmart Caves to Angry Mom, Removes Bridal Gown Costume from Shelves

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Is a bride costume inappropriate for young girls? It’s been deemed so in Australia, at least, given that Kmart there has pulled a costume from shelves, saying that it “regrets the decision” to offer it for sale.

According to news.com.au, the store made the move after a Change.org petition was started by a mom named Shannon B. to get the $6 outfit, which she called “beyond inappropriate,” removed from the shelves.

Shannon objected to the fact that she thought the costume promoted (sigh) child marriage.

“Each year, 12 million children (girls as young as 6 years old – the same size as this ‘costume’) are sold or married off by their family without their consent,” she wrote in the petition. “That’s one million child marriages per month!”

“That equates to 23 children every [hour] or 1 child every 2 minutes. If this continues, 150 million more children will be married by the year 2030,” it continued.

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“Child marriage means child abuse and torture in its worst forms – paedophilia, child rape, child slavery, child sex trafficking. Kmart -Take this child bride costume off your shelves.”

Yes, child marriage is a very serious problem.

No, it isn’t a serious problem in Australia.

It’s definitely not a problem that’s being encouraged by a Halloween costume — especially when you consider that most children who end up being married don’t have a choice in that matter, much less what to wear when they’re trick-or-treating.

Yet, although the petition apparently hadn’t even reached triple digits in terms of signatures as of last Tuesday afternoon, Kmart decided to pull the costume anyway.

“Kmart Australia regrets the decision to range the bride costume,” the company told news.com.au.

“It was not intended to cause offense and we sincerely apologize,” it said. “We have made the decision to withdraw this product.”

The petition ended up with just over 500 signatures, most of which seem to have been added to take a position one way or another on the debate.

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“Shannon, this kind of crap is what makes people hate others,” one signatory said. “It’s just a costume for goodness sake.”

Do you think Kmart made the right decision?

“My daughter has asked multiple times for a ‘dress like mummy had’. It is a dress up nothing more … you’re ruining it for everyone. Get over yourself,” another read.

Many of those who were signing in favor of the costume’s removal also seemed to provide reasons that were less than convincing.

“Totally agree. this is absurd and role defining! Wrong age group too,” one of several feminist critiques of the dress went.

“If you’d lived in places were you’d seen six year olds married to men old enough to be their grandfather you’d sign – not trivial and if kids want to play dress ups what’s wrong old recycled dress ups?!” one wrote.

So wait — it’s OK if they dress up in a similar costume if it’s recycled but not if Kmart sells it? And as for trivializing it, I wonder what one should call people creating a moral panic over a children’s Halloween costume that has nothing to do with child marriage in a place where child marriage isn’t a problem.

That’s the issue here: This feels a lot like virtue-signaling designed to call attention to the beliefs of the people running it, promoting it and signing it. Will this liberate a single child bride? Will this stop one solitary pedophile? Draw attention to a worthy organization working to do either of those things?

No. What this effort did was draw attention to itself. Even if that wasn’t the original intention, that was the practical effect of the matter.

An update to the petition posted Saturday noted that their “victory is still making some waves within the international media.”

Shannon B. said “there were less than 100 signatures when Kmart deemed it a bigger issue than parents missing out on the purchase of one less dress up option for their child for Halloween. That in itself is phenomenal. Well done to us and well done to Kmart in their response and continued support in our message.”

I can’t help but notice the wording there: Well done to them.

“As a society approaching 2020, we are becoming more and more aware of global issues and the collective impact we are able to execute,” the update continued. “When we know better should do better, and not keep defaulting to what has always been acceptable and remain quiet, in spite of the controversy it may attract.”

I beseech you not to get me wrong here: Child marriage is very real and very much a scourge in wide swaths of the world. But campaigning to have a Halloween bridal gown removed from Kmart’s shelves won’t have the faintest effect on it.

This might have had an impact globally — heaven knows I’m sitting here writing about it — but it wasn’t an impact that was either intended or welcome.

Make no mistake: This is merely the same old left-wing Halloween costume policing dressed up in a slightly different outfit, no matter how well-intentioned it may seem.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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