‘Tis the season to remind us that men and women are different and one of women’s jobs is to pander to a hypothetical heterosexual male gaze.  The University of Akron’s Will LeSuer photographed the Christmas-themed costumes for sale at a local store, noting the not-so-implicit gendered expectations.

Surprise, the main theme of the women’s costumes was cute and flirty:

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The men’s themes are, let’s see, comfortable and… superhero?

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And, yes, it starts when they’re kids.IMG_20131209_172436

Here’s a fun compare-and-contrast for maximum icky feeling.  The sexualization of girls and the infantilization of women, in one holiday-themed shot (“child” costume on left, “adult” on right):

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Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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