On Halloween night, where is the line drawn when it comes to showing skin? Two Express writers take to the page to bring this issue to light.
PROLaura Cameron News Editor
Sex is a hot-button issue no matter the time of year, but never is it considered a more seasonal topic than around Halloween. With everyone dressing up for parties and trick-or-treating, the popularity and proliferation of skimpy, sexy costumes provides endless fodder for the endless debate.
Many rail against sexy Halloween outfits. They’re labeled sexist, exploitative, indecent and all kinds of other nasty names. And while I certainly agree that the sexualization of children’s costumes is a major problem and should be curtailed, I just can’t bring myself to get too worked up over sexy costumes for adults.
Much has been made the last few years — and rightly so — of personal agency in regards to how people dress. This topic was really brought to the fore with the start of SlutWalk in 2011, an international movement to push the idea that no matter how conservatively or skimpily a woman is dressed, she has the right to walk down the street without being harassed, groped or assaulted. This idea has gained extra traction in the sci-fi and fantasy community under the rallying cry of “cosplay is not consent.”
Also being advanced — again, rightly so — is the idea that someone’s body type shouldn’t limit how they dress, so long as they are comfortable with the clothing they’re in. This viewpoint has been slower to gain support — I guess a lot of people, men and women, are only OK with the idea of other people dressing however they want so long as they, the observers, personally find the other people attractive.
I could write an entire piece just about how misguided it is to insist that billions of other people conform to your specific standards of what is attractive, but this is specifically about Halloween costumes.
If we, as a society, are increasingly supporting the idea that people — women in particular — are free to dress however they want so long as they are happy dressing that way, why do we always get so bent out of shape over how they dress on Halloween night? Halloween has traditionally been a night of fun with a distinctly mischievous bent, dating all the way back to its origins as All Hallow’s Eve when medieval Europeans dressed as devils and went door to door begging for “soul cakes” with the threat of pranks against those who didn’t pony up. So why are we now, at a time when social conservatives are lamenting that we are more liberal and hedonistic in our views than ever, trying to throw a wet blanket over costumes that show a little skin?
The primary argument I hear against sexy costumes is that they are all that are marketed, at least in regards to women. And it is true that a large percentage of costumes marketed to women are clearly designed to be titillating. But non-sexualized costumes for women are not as uncommon as everyone seems to think. I’ve seen a fair selection in every costume shop I’ve ever been to.
Others decry the fact that the distribution of sexy costumes is so heavy weighted towards costumes for women. And yes, that is very true. While there are sexualized costumes for men, they’re more likely to be in the form of sexual jokes than outfits designed to be sexually appealing – such as a lab coat emblazoned with the name and title “Howie Feltersnatch, Gynecologist.”
The obvious solution to that, though, is not to call for a moratorium on sexy women’s costumes. Make more sexy costumes for men! Women enjoy eye candy just as much as men do, after all. Instead of covering up the ladies, let’s uncover the gents. Turnabout is fair play, after all.
In the end, everything comes down to personal choice. If someone is comfortable dressing in a revealing costume, they have every right to do so without being ridiculed or slut-shamed. On the other side of the coin, someone who does not enjoy such outfits is free to exercise their right to turn their head and look elsewhere.
If society is truly accepting the idea that everyone is free to dress however they want, then there’s no reason to back off from that just for Halloween night.
Halloween is here. The candies, the drinking, the parties and above all, the costumes.
Or whatever’s left of them.
In our youth, Halloween was a time to go door to door to the neighborhood houses with our parents in our Raggedy Anne and pink Power Rangers costumes, screaming “Trick or treat!” as loud we could in order to receive a handful of spoils dropped into our pillowcases. All for that ever so sacred king size Snickers as well those small but delectable Tootsie Rolls.
Nowadays, however, the times have changed, and we are now in fact more focused on showing off our own personal tootsie rolls as opposed to eating the candy alternative. The sexy ebola nurse costume currently swarming the internet is a prime example that Halloweeners have lost all of their morals.
And to that I have to shamefully facepalm as hard as I can and hide myself in a corner in order to not be identified with this generation.
We can do better than this, you guys.
Why do women feel the need to objectify themselves in this manner? Is it to get attention? To boost self esteem? To get laid?
If the answer is the latter then I’m not going to lie. That haloed angel in nothing but a thong costume definitely gives off mixed signals.
Plus, wearing a bra and panties paired together with some sort of animal ears does not exactly say “creativity” either. Instead it screams “desperate” — whether you want it to or not — and sets a bad example.
And the sad part is that it seems like costume makers are even encouraging this really bizarre, barely-clothed phenomenon.
Imagine your little sister dressed up in that Leg Avenue attire with her skin tight faux corset and skirts that leave nothing to be desired. Imagine your niece. Your daughter. Oh wait, you don’t have to.
Check out any costume catalogue and take a look at the options. Here, we have the classic “sassy” ringmaster, “sexy” cop and “flirty” red Ninja Turtle. Oh yes, because we remember that one time when Raphael was twirly and flirty. Wait, what?
And that was only the adult section. The teen and little girls section follow a similar vibe and lack all ingenuity with that redundant sleeveless, tutu skirt silhouette, which barely depicts that actual character meant to be portrayed. I remember when that used to only be the case for a Minnie Mouse costume. Now even Pippi Longstocking seems to have brought her sexy back with lots of leg and dominatrix boots.
As Halloween costumes seem to be getting skimpier and skimpier every year, the future of Halloween for our younger generations become uncertain. Parents will be doomed to resort to taking sewing lessons in order to dress their kids appropriately.
One thing is for sure. As long as women continue to become enablers to slut shaming, Halloween is going down an even scarier path.