It's October my friends... And apparently it's almost over. That also means Halloween is quickly approaching.
So let me be candid with you:
I don't particularly like Halloween.
I had a really terrible experience as a kid where I was out trick-or-treating with some friends and got egged in the face by a drive-by group of older boys. It was actually pretty traumatic and was one of the few times in my early adolescence where I swore openly [and very loudly] in public because it was incredibly painful.
|Eggs. Cook them. Don't throw them.|
But there's something about Halloween nowadays that I just don't understand: The costume industry...and women. Or maybe more appropriately said, "the sexualization of Halloween."
Every time I walk into/by a Halloween costume shop, there is a starking polarization of gendered costumes. And sometimes, it really makes me want to throw up. From children's to adult's costumes, there seems to be tailoring to quantify gender differences. Particularly, adult women's costumes.
For the most part, everything geared toward women is a "sexy [insert typically non-sexy profession here]" outfit. It kind of makes me want to go: Really? Please. -- Seriously though, is a tight-fitting, low cut V neckline somehow supposed to make me/women want to buy that pleather police officer get-up? I think a larger, subtextual issue here is the way particular genders are targeted with specific kinds of costumes.
- Males can be traditonal "boy" characters, but females can be the same character so long as it's structered into a "dress" with sequenes and ruffles. For example:
- Men are doctors, women are nurses (even though there's an enormous increase in men currently entering into the nursing field; not to mention WOMEN ARE ALSO DOCTORS)
- Boys are superheroes, girls are "pink" superheroes (that is, if their mothers even let them be superheroes)
- Then there's what is pictured below...
|What if I want to wear the Cookie Monster onesie?!?!?|
Hopefully, you get where I'm going with this.
But there's something else going on here that is problematic:
I've heard a lot of people say that Halloween is the one time of year when females can dress "slutty" or provocative and "get away with it." That apparently this "holiday" gives women free liscense to wear minimal clothing and not feel shameful for doing so.
Now I'm not saying dressing sexy is a bad thing. In fact, I support the embracing of sexuality in general as a positively, liberating and necessary exercise for overall health and well being for all persons (regardless of gender/orientation). But in a lot of ways, the costume industry is turning women into sex objects by positioning the bulk of costume designs toward this sexy, fem-dom piece of eye candy (pun intended) and/or asserting traditional gender roles/stereotypes. And on top of that, the cultural notion that Halloween is the only time of year where it is appropriate to display such sexuality (sexuality that has been structured a particular way by the available costume choices)... WHAT?!
THIS IS NOT OK.
If you want to show off your body, cool. It's no business of mine to say what a woman or anyone can/can't wear and when. There might be certain circumstances where clothing choices should be mediated in respect to the occasion, but who really gives a damn otherwise? In the case of Halloween costumes, not every outfit needs to be positioned in a way that makes "sexy" or archaic gender roles the only option for women who want to partake in the Halloween tradition and festivities.
Of course there are exceptions to this: Not every costume out there shows skin or is suggestive in a variety of ways. Hopefully, if there aren't any adequate store-bought options, people can get creative and dress in a costume they feel proud in (and if that happens to be a "sexy" costume, then kudos).