Sexy Halloween Costumes: Less than purrrfect for women

The old saying goes “Halloween is the one time of year when girls get to dress slutty and no one can judge them.” I mean seriously, everyone knows this rule. And if you don’t, then you’re probably a home-schooled freak from Africa who’s planning on dressing up as the Bride of Frankenstein (and will scare the shit out of some people).  Sexy halloween costumes have become the norm around this time of year. Everywhere we look we’re seeing costumes getting sexier and more outrageous. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I saw a non-sexy Halloween costume for sale. So ladies, if we’re not the Cady Herons of the world then we must be the Regina Georges … at least that’s what culture tell us. If we’re not trying to scare people with our outfits then we’re trying to seduce them.

Cady, on the left, is wearing a scary Halloween getup. Her "friends" on the right, are wearing costumes appropriate for the "girl world."

Cady, on the left, is wearing a scary Halloween getup. Her “friends” on the right, are wearing costumes appropriate for the “girl world.”

Excuse me, but I need to call bullshit. As if women aren’t sexually exploited enough in the U.S., now, a whole month out of the year, companies can advertise this exploitation and get away with it. Halloween has become another excuse to put our bodies on display and I’m really just not into it.

How did this happen? 

Well, besides the fact that we live in a patriarchal society, I think consumerism has a lot to do with it. At the end of the day, the goal of consumerism is to make money, and lots of it. Consumer spending on all – things Halloween is expected to hit $6.9 billion this year. With the idea that sex sells, companies give us the opportunity to be as sexy as girls in movies, on TV and in magazines. We can parade around the streets (refraining myself from making the obvious joke here is not easy) and at parties like sex objects.

“Witch and sexy kitten. That’s it. The only two choices for women, with and sexy kitten?”

“Witch and sexy kitten. That’s it. The only two choices for women, with and sexy kitten?”

While some may say that companies are giving us what we want – the ability to be sexy for a night without being judged – I’d like to argue that we’re just pawns in their game. Because people now believe that Halloween is the chance to be sexy, women look for sexy costumes.

Even Jon Stewart commented on the issue in his usual, satirical way. Kristen Schaal discusses how during her mothers younger years, she could only choose between two kinds of sexy. But presently, since women are freer than ever, a woman can be a “sexy whatever-the-hell-she-wants.” This includes a sexy doctor, nurse and lawyer – since, you know, there aren’t any inequalities in the work field anymore, we really can be anything we want to be, and we can do it with as much ease as men !  For women feeling a little bolder, they can be a sexy pizza, carrot, dragon or squid. Nowadays, sexy costumes really are endless. You know, I think this is what the women’s lib movement had in mind when they were fighting for our rights.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dressing up on Halloween, or any other day for that matter. Sometimes there’s nothing I want more than getting dressed up when I go out. But I feel that many women and men – especially young women and men –  have been tricked by executives into feeling that we women have to dress provocatively on Halloween. If we don’t, then we’ll be cast aside by our peers. Instead of being the center of attention like Regina George, we’ll be missing out on the guy and planning her demise like Cady Heron.

**Side note: does anyone have a more definitive reasoning as to how Halloween costumes became exploitative? I’d love for you to comment with an explanation or provide a link to a site with more info. Thanks ! **

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