I’m usually a pretty open-minded person with a live-and-let-live philosophy of life. But sometimes you see things that are so ridiculous, annoying, or stupid that you can’t help but get your knickers in a twist. (Hoping it isn’t just me…)
Like one Halloween season a few years ago when I visited one of those Halloween superstores because I needed more purple lights and because you can never have too many faux tombstones. While I was shopping there, I was reminded of a Halloween pet peeve of mine… one that set me off on a rant.
It’s the one current Halloween trend that really just pisses me off, and it’s impossible to avoid. And that is the Sexification of Halloween.
You know what I’m talking about.
It’s those ridiculous costumes they’re pushing now for women. Costumes like Naughty Nurses, Sexy SWAT Snipers, and Spandex-clad barely dressed pirates… or any number of nearly interchangeable outfits based on super-short skin-tight tube dresses that look like someone forgot to include the pants?
Adults dressing up for Halloween is a relatively recent phenomenon. For those of us who dressed up to take our kids out for Trick-Or-Treat back in the day (or just because we wanted to!), there were few store-bought costumes to choose from. Most of us made our own costumes.
Then in the 90s, cheap costumes made in China began flooding the market. The manufacturers pushed sexy costumes because with less material in the costume, it’s cheaper to make them and ship them. Combining the sexualization of society in general with the cheapness and availability of risqué costumes, they’ve become the norm, and that bothers me.
As one of the world’s most devoted Halloween fans, I believe that everyone is entitled to celebrate Halloween in their own way. But enough is enough!
There’s nothing wrong with having fun and dressing up in a risqué costume one night a year. But what I object to is this: Why are so many of the costumes sold for women and girls deliberately sexualizing? There’s so much pressure for women and girls to wear costumes that are provocative and revealing, especially when they don’t even resemble what they’re supposed to represent.
And if you want to explore the very depths of their cluelessness, consider this: One company is marketing a “Brave Red Maiden” outfit this year, clearly modeled after the garb of the sex slaves in The Handmaid’s Tale, a show about rape and misogyny! (Update: The company has pulled this costume off the shelves after being taking their lumps on social media .)
Here are some other real examples that are available online and in stores:
Sexy Polar Bear
“Bad Habit” Nun (seen at left)
Sexy Disney Characters (Minnie Mouse is called “Mousie Mistress,” they don’t want to get sued!)
Sexy Food, including Sexy Pizza, Sexy Taco, and Sexy Hamburger.
and even Sexy Transvestite Donald Trump – aka “Donna T Rumpshaker”
Arrgh! Where is the brain bleach when you need it?
Perhaps I’m just a sexually repressed old lady (though I hope not). But some women are modest and don’t want to show that much skin. Some of us just don’t have the body for it. And some resent the sexification that adds body image pressure to a holiday that should just be fun…
Which is why I was so excited when my daughter turned me on a couple years ago to a fabulous website called Take Back Halloween.
Founded by writer/actress/historian Suzanne Scoggins, the site was launched in 2010 “to make the world safe for creative and empowering costumes.” Take Back Halloween offers free instructions for costumes that represent renowned women, both real and fictional, including historical figures, goddesses, actresses, warrior queens, movie stars, heroines, and inventors. They’re inspired by notable women from cultures around the world and throughout history, from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to Hollywood, from feudal Japan to Russian folklore.
Costume categories include:
Glamour Girls like Mae West, Billie Holliday, Anna Mae Wong, and Diana Ross
Queens like Nefertiti, Boudicca, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and shaman queen Himiko of Japan.
Goddesses and Legends including Artemis, Baba Yaga, Hecate, Pele, and Isis.
And other notable women like Amelia Earhart, pirate Anne Bonny, Frida Kahlo, and Joan of Arc.
… and many, many more!
Each do-it-yourself costume idea is accompanied by illustrations or photos, background information, and direct links to buy the elements you need to assemble the costume. No sewing is required!
Suzanne will be revamping the website this year to make it more inclusive – not just Halloween, but empowering costumes for women and girls for any time of year. The name of the site will also be changing to reflect this.
Take Back Halloween is a labor of love; it sells nothing, so it’s supported by donations. And thanks to successful Kickstarter campaigns since 2013, there’s an alternative for women who don’t want to appear in public as a Sexy Firefighter, Sexy Hamburger, or Sexy Elmo.