Katie Couric speaks her mind on modesty

Katie Couric speaks out! "Plunging necklines and navel-bearing tops" are not appropriate for Halloween, says Couric. In her "Katie Couric's Notebook" segment Monday night, the CBS Evening News anchor lashed out against the "$5 billion Halloween industry" for marketing "sleazy" costumes to girls. What's interesting is that this came from an "Only On the Web" videocast. As far as I know, this segment never made it on over-the-air television.

Embedded in this post is the YouTube version of this clip. Apologies for the 15-second ad that comes before Couric's 60-second musing. If you don't want to watch the clip, here is the heart of Couric's message about sleazy Halloween costumes:

Some will say these getups are a sign of women's confidence about their bodies, but what message are we sending our girls when today's costumes only reinforce a larger cultural message that they already see in magazines and in ads: that women get more attention by wearing less?

Couric cites the New York Times piece that tmatt blogged about Sunday as the source of her frustrations (her source could also be this NYT piece, but it's hard to say since they are both behind the money wall).

Couric's rebellion against the "larger cultural message" is an interesting development. I am not a regular viewer of the evening news, so I would not know if she has directed her news crew to do real news stories on this subject of female modesty. But note the target of Couric's wrath. It's not the individuals who dress up as sex witches, it's those darn marketers and advertisers. Oh, and it's also the industry's fault.

But last time I checked, the industry and the marketers will offer what sells. And these sleazy costumes are certainly selling. And it goes beyond Halloween. So who is really at fault for what Couric says is an inappropriate cultural development? And why is this only a Halloween issue? We know you are serious about this subject, Katie, but could you get your notebook out again and do a more serious, in-depth report on what is happening to the self-image of American girls and women?

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