Calling a series of overtly sexy Purim costumes that appear in a recently distributed catalogue for children “scandalous,” Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO) chairwoman Gila Oshrat urged parents on Monday to boycott companies that sell such outfits.

Oshrat said the costumes, which are featured in the 2012 Purim catalogue of retailer Shoshi Zohar, not only dictate to women to present themselves as sex objects but also send a negative message to young girls that this is how women should behave.

She urged parents to consider a social and economic boycott of companies that produce such outfits, which are displayed prominently in most children’s toyshops at this time of the year.

“We have seen that the nation does have economic power and maybe it is time for parents to speak out about this,” said Oshrat.

“With only these kind of costumes available to women, it leaves them with little choice but to wear a near-pornographic outfit,” continued Oshrat.

She said WIZO had raised similar concerns last year about a line of Purim costumes sold by another retailer.

“There is no need for a nurse costume to consist of a short mini-skirt and fishnet stockings,” said Oshrat. “Why do all costumes, whether they are professional or an animal, need to be sexy?” “Is this the message that we want to send our children?” Oshrat asked.

The catalogue was distributed for free last weekend in national newspapers and is readily available in toy stores and shopping malls throughout the country.

It features 23 colorful pages of costumes for babies, young children and teenagers and seven pages of adult costumes. Of the adult costumes, the majority display various professions, animals or television characters and almost all include fishnet stockings, microscopic skirts and revealing tops.

One of the costumes, described in the catalogue as a “sexy cat,” includes a bondage mask and whip, while the “sexy policewoman” includes a latex bodice and handcuffs.

“This should not be the way we educate our children,” said Oshrat. “These kinds of sexist ads increase attacks against women and portray us as cheap.”

WIZO runs an annual campaign against television and newspaper advertisements that are deemed sexist or degrading to women. Each year, the organization awards a mock prize to the commercial it finds the most offensive.

In response to the claims that images and costumes in her catalogue were bordering on pornographic, Shoshi Zohar said that her range of costumes provide something for both secular and religious communities.

She said that this year she had made every effort to select costumes that were modest and less revealing than in the past. One half-page of the catalogue does display “religious” costumes, but only for children.

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