Kmart Pulls 'Beyond Inappropriate' Bride Costume For Kids From Shelves Following Backlash And Petition
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.
Every year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18, which works out to one every 23 minutes.… https://t.co/n1irRr7nG0— World Vision Aus News (@World Vision Aus News) 1571729060.0
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.
"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."