One of my most vivid memories of kindergarten was when I got married.
It was a long time in the planning, at least a few days, which in kindy years is like a lifetime. My husband-to-be and I worked out every little detail, including a ring and who was to be in the bridal party. He'd already been married a couple of times so he was a great help.
I dressed in a white dress from the costume box. My groom (let's say his name was Timmy, because I've forgotten his actual name) was dressed in an oversized shirt, tie and top hat. We were married by one of our friends and afterwards we had a party. It was a joyful day.
I'm pretty sure we divorced shortly after, but for a little while we were blissfully happy. I think he went on to marry another girl and perhaps even a boy.
Everyone wanted a turn at wearing the cool dress.
I'm pretty sure we never once thought about child brides.
I also remember dressing up as a fireman and I was even baby Jesus in a nativity play. And no, I didn't think about adequate workers' compensation or the systemic sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
You know why, because I was a four-year-old. And like most four-year-olds, I was blissfully unaware of those issues.
When you're a kid there's this wonderful chance to be whoever you want, regardless of your gender, economic background, ability, race or religion. You immerse yourself in the world of other people. You are free from any constraints.
You play with rose coloured glasses on, literally and figuratively.
Unfortunately, it's the adults who stuff it all up.
Adults are right to question what is being marketed to their children and often there's very real reason to be concerned, but sometimes they need to take a break. This outcry over Kmart selling wedding dress costumes for kids sized four to six, is one of those times.
Kmart has pulled a children's bride costume from their shelves after a mother complained that it was "beyond inappropriate" because of the 12 million children who are sold into marriage each year. Does she have a point? #9Today pic.twitter.com/mZCFsHmRNs— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) October 22, 2019
The retailer was forced to pull the costumes off their shelves after a change.org petition claimed Kmart had a "social responsibility" to recognise the 12 million children globally each year who were sold or married off without their consent. Do they? Really?
Sure, the issue of child brides is deplorable. There is no grey area. None. But, c'mon, if you take this logic, then they should also stop selling any costumes relating to professions because child labour is also rife. As too is the unethical treatment of animals – so there goes any animal costumes.
And climate change is a very real threat, so please don't stock any costumes that depict burning or fire. Bye, bye devil costumes. Also don't get me started on violence in our community. Bam, destroy any costumes with chainsaws or knives. And what is Halloween without a heap of kids dressed as Jason?
I know there will be girls and boys who'd love popping on a wedding dress at Halloween. Has nobody seen Bride of Chucky? Best movie ever.
To connect a cute dress-up to the horrors of child brides is simplistic at best.
It's drawing a very long bow. And it sullies what is essentially a harmless show of love.
Because all over this country right now are little girls and boys getting married in pretend play, not being forced into it, they're just expressing their love for each other in a beautiful, child-like way.
No agendas, no political statements, just pure, joyful, imaginative playtime. And if they want to walk the streets this Halloween dressed as a bride, so be it.