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UNI professor studies messaging of Halloween costume

October 25, 2012

Annette Lynch, professor, School of Applied Human Sciences, 319-830-7530,

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- When it comes to Halloween costumes, how sexy is too sexy? Annette Lynch, a professor in applied human sciences at the University of Northern Iowa, has researched costume and dress and the impacts on college students' and children's behaviors.

"The Halloween costuming worn on college campuses strongly reinforces a binary, male/female gender system, with women playing a hedonic role within a male controlled environment," said Annette Lynch.

Lynch indicates that apparel plays a large role not only in how individuals act, but in how society and peers view them as well.

"The development and marketing of 'adult' Halloween costumes has become a major business in the United States," said Lynch. "Female teen, tween and children's costuming has followed the gender-based trends we found in college student costuming, with very slight differences between costumes designated as 'adult' on costume websites and those designed and sold to tweens and young girls."

Lynch is also the director of UNI's Center for Violence Prevention, and is the author of numerous published works regarding gender, sexuality and popular culture.

For more information, contact Lynch at 319-830-7530 or