Some like to call Purim the “Jewish Halloween.” Whether or not that is really a correct analogy, it seems that the same costume scandals that come up around October 31 also plague 14 Adar.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) is urging consumers to boycott companies selling sexy Purim costumes. WIZO Chairwoman Gila Oshrat called them “near-pornographic,” and castigated toy stores for openly promoting and displaying them.
This year, WIZO is targeting the Shoshi Zohar costume company, whose 23-page full color Purim costume circular went out to families with national newspapers last weekend. Last year, it campaigned against another company that similarly promoted “scandalous” costumes.
While a look at the girls’ costumes offered on the Shoshi Zohar website reveals that some of them have too-short skirts, a perusal of the women’s costume section validates WIZO’s claims that the outfits are indeed risqué and hyper-sexualized. “There is no need for a nurse costume to consist of a short mini-skirt and fishnet stockings,” said Oshrat. “Why do all costumes, whether they are professional or an animal, need to be sexy?” she asked in relation to the get-ups, which range from policewoman to pirate’s wench to “pussycat.”
WIZO is especially concerned about the objectification of women and the negative messages that these costumes may be sending to children. “This should not be the way we educate our children,” said Oshrat. “These kinds of sexist ads increase attacks against women and portray us as cheap.”
Shoshi Zohar has responded by saying that she does not see what the issue is. She claims that she is simply offering a range of costumes to meet the demands of both the secular and religious communities.
The religious costumes on her website are for children, and they depict biblical characters, as well as Hasidim. It goes without saying that they cover the body fully and loosely and do not include any fishnet stockings, handcuffs or whips.