Kmart Pulls 'Beyond Inappropriate' Bride Costume For Kids From Shelves Following Backlash And Petition

Jarretera/Getty Images

Halloween costumes that should have been thought through a bit more before being put on the shelves are nothing new.

However people don't always agree about what is or isn't offensive or even why.

Kmart Australia's wedding dress costume for children ages 4-6 turned out to be especially problematic for some consumers.

Kmart Australia has since chosen to remove the costume from its stores after an online petition on Change.org was created asking the retailer to do so.

In that petition, "Shannon B" pointed out that real child brides are all too common in the world. Children as young as the age group the costume was aimed at are routinely sold or married off by their families without their consent.

They added a costume that trivializes that reality is not helpful to anyone.

The petition went on to list some sobering statistics about child marriage (which are supported by information available at Girls Not Brides)

"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. That's one million child marriages per month!"
"That equates to 23 children every minute or 1 child every 2 minutes. If this continues, 150 million more children will be married by the year 2030."

It ended with a call for Kmart to do the right thing and remove the costume.

"Child marriage means child abuse and torture in its worst forms... Kmart -Take this child bride costume off your shelves."

The petition gathered nearly 500 signatures, though some who signed seemed to do so just to criticize the petition creator, who they asserted was overreacting.

But others genuinely supported the overall message and called for Kmart to remove the costume.

"I want little girls, like my grand daughter's, to know that they're protected." -Raquel Newsome
"Clueless/uninformed at best. Get educated. A child bride is child abuse" -Catheryn Tsai
"This is just wrong on so many levels." -Bob Hires
"This is beyond inappropriate for a costume." -Robin Slagle

There were folks on social media who found the costume troubling as well.

Despite the many mocking trolls on the petition, Kmart Australia quickly chose to remove the costume.

In a statement to news.com.au the company said:

"Kmart Australia regrets the decision to range the bride costume. It was not intended to cause offense and we sincerely apologize. We have made the decision to withdraw this product."

The mocking tone taken by many discussing the removal of the costume doesn't change the fact that child marriage is a huge and severely troubling issue in the world.

The children who are married to much older adults often face abuse and are not in a situation where they can get away from their abusers. Young children cannot work to support themselves, even if they were to escape their "spouse."

Several of the mocking comments on the petition said that there were bigger issues to worry about, or that child marriages don't happen in Australia so the petition creator was making something out of nothing.

The idea that folks can only work to fight one social issue at a time—or that just because it isn't happening right in front of them means they can't protest injustice or abuse—is false.

Whether the petitioner was serious about the costume itself or just using the costume and petition to try to raise awareness, people are talking about the global problem of child brides as a result.

Seems like that's a positive outcome.

The true story of one child bride, the book I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, is available here.

"Nujood Ali's childhood came to an abrupt end in 2008 when her father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. With harrowing directness, Nujood tells of abuse at her husband's hands and of her daring escape."

George Takei's Halloween Costume Contest 2019

ANGELA WEISS / Contributor / Getty Images

Questions arose earlier this month when Donald Trump Jr.'s new book almost instantly climbed to the top of The New York Times Best Seller List for hardcover nonfiction.

Keep reading... Show less
Education Imaged/Getty Images; Kelley School of Business at Indiana University/Ann Schertz

Indiana University is using the First Amendment as an excuse to not fire a professor with discriminatory views.

The decision to not fire Professor Eric Rasmusen, who teaches business and public policy, has caused immense backlash.

Keep reading... Show less

A Tucson man recently cheated death, and he's giving all the credit to that most magnificent of foods:

a taco.

Keep reading... Show less

Sometimes life just doesn't have our best interests at heart.

You've hurt yourself in the kitchen, you've hurt yourself in the garden, you've hurt yourself working around the house. But have you ever hurt yourself while drinking water? Have you ever injured yourself while looking at the microwave?

Keep reading... Show less

When we think of teenagers one of the first things that comes to mind is the idea that they have a total know-it-all thing going on. I'll be honest, as a teen I was convinced I had things at least mostly figured out. Oh god, so wrong. So very, very wrong.

So now that I'm an adult, there are tons of things I try to explain to the kids and teens in my life, but I know they just sit and stare at me blankly the way I did to my family members who tried to guide me. It's a cycle, I've just come to accept it.

Keep reading... Show less

We can all agree getting older is the worst decision we make as humans, right? Who thought this was the best way to live our lives? Being a kid was the best! Everything seemed to be easier, including playing sports, making friends, somehow learning foreign languages without taking four years of college courses. But then...you grow up, losing all those skills.

Keep reading... Show less