Nikita Richardson
September 18, 2015 10:47 am

In the past few years, Disney has been making concerted efforts at progress, including announcing earlier this year that there will be a new Latina princess on Disney Channel while talk of the upcoming movie, Moana, which features a Polynesian princess, is already generating positive press.

But, as The Mary Sue points out, the company is not only moving towards diversity with its ongoing transformation, it’s challenging traditional gender norms as well. This week, the company quietly made a major change when it launched its line of Halloween costumes—with very little gender delineation to be seen.

In the past, parents and kids browsing the site would have found Halloween costumes divided into Girls Costumes and Boys Costumes, with listings like “Buzz Lightyear Costume Collections for Boys” and “Cinderella Costume Collection For Girls” featured below.  But this year, parents looking to dress their kids up in Disney gear will see listings like “Tinker Bell Costume Collection for Kids” and “Peter Pan Costume Collection for Kids” (emphasis ours) as opposed to the gender normative divisions of the past.

Yes, the kids pictured wearing the costumes are divided according to gender (i.e. boys are pictured wearing the costumes that will be more popular among boys), but at the level of words—which can have a tremendous effect on how we perceive and act—there is nothing that says a little boy can’t be Belle and a little girl can’t be Woody.

In fact, parents who do end up searching by gender (it’s still a search option on the website) will find Star Wars costumes under the Girls label and princess costumes under the Boys label.

It’s a step in the right direction when it comes to knocking down gender-conforming barriers, and it’s an awesome reminder that kids can be ANYTHING they want to be— for Halloween and every other day of the year.

Related:

Amazon’s toy search is now gender-neutral 

Gender-neutral toys of our youth that deserve a comeback

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