Kmart stores in Australia will no longer sell bride costumes for children after a Melbourne mom started a petition to remove them from shelves.
Shannon B. called the costume “beyond inappropriate and offensive” and said that Kmart had “a social responsibility to pull this item off their shelves immediately.” Five-hundred and seven signatures later, the company acceded to her demand.
“Kmart Australia regrets the decision to range the bride costume,” the company said in a statement. “It was not intended to cause offence and we sincerely apologise. We have made the decision to withdraw this product.”
The costume, recommended for kids between the ages of four and six, is at best kind of weird. At worst, it trivializes the serious problem of child marriage and its associated ills: pedophilia, abuse, and human trafficking.
Twelve million children are married off by their families without their consent every year, according to World Vision Australia, a branch of the international NGO.
But not everyone was so quick to draw the line between the costume and child marriage. Another mom quickly launched a counterpetition to bring the costume back to Kmart shelves.
“It helps kids with their imagination, I have children of my own and if they want to dress up an play make believe marriage then I’m not stopping them,” it read in part.
“[B]y taking this off the shelves you have taken away that dream to children like my own who wish to dress up as a bride or wear it/hack it for a Halloween.”
That petition currently has over 4,000 signatures, but it seems unlikely that Kmart reverses course again.