Slut o ween

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Perhaps I'm getting prudish in my old age. Honestly, though, I don't think that's the problem. There have been stories and blog posts all over the Net about how Halloween has turned into an excuse/expectation for women and girls, even young girls, to dress provocatively and to male fantasy standards. Naughty nurse, sexy cat, sexy cop, French maid, etc. I personally hadn't given this a whole lot of thought. When I was in fifth grade, one of my classmates came to our Halloween carnival dressed as a ten year-old Playboy bunny. Everyone was aghast. I thought this was something like that--something odd that happened occasionally with young girls and was not generally considered acceptable. As for adult women, I've long ago accepted that a great majority of us will dress in a stupid way if given half the chance and hardly find it surprising when the line between provocative and sluttified is crossed and re-crossed.

Then, yesterday, I went to buy Halloween candy. While I was in the store, I checked out some of the costumes for sale.

Oh. My.

It seems that every women's costume, adult and child alike, has been sexified. There are no witches, just sexy witches; no pirates, just sexy pirates. Slutty superheroes, bad kitties, tavern wenches (OK, so that one was actually kind of cute, and at least it was for a grown up), and even children's outfits that screamed nothing so much as BDSM. Several versions of "pimp" and "ho" costumes! And then something that I can just barely describe, which I think was called a "dollar girl" costume, and seemed to be a short dress made entirely of plastic dollar bills?

Who lets their kids wear this stuff? Are the trick or treaters that come to my door tonight going to be dressed this way? Wasn't it bad enough when little girls were all expected to be fairies and princesses and ballerinas? Now they have to be sexy fairies, dominatrix princesses, and lap dancers?

I'm really not anti-sex, or even anti-sexy dressing. And I can totally see how and why Halloween is a fun night for women to dress more sexily than they would otherwise. I've done it myself. But not as a small child! At the age at which girls now are presumably dressing as "dollar girls," I dressed as a Care Bear, a (non-sexy) pirate, and one banner year, a book! And I had a great time on Halloween and all was well and I wasn't being asked to sell my body before I even knew what it was.

I find these sexy costumes for kids really distressing. The beauty of Halloween as a kid, to me, was imagination. It was thinking about what you could become that would be fun, being allowed to act out and look weird. This seems like just an escalation of the pressure young girls feel every day, at younger and younger ages, to meet a male sexual ideal, whether it works for them or not. And if that is what Halloween is going to be about, then I'd rather skip it all together.

3 Comments

You're not alone on this one...I totally agree. This is a great post.

I went (in the fifth or sixth grade I think) as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'm sure you can imagine how unsexy that was. ;)

My "Victorian poet" and "Hobo Cat" costumes were totally about getting guys.

p.s. I now see issues with a costume of "hobo" anything, but honestly in grade school I didn't know any better.

Every year I have a big debate with every guy friend of mine about a related but opposite conundrum: there is no "male miniskirt" or "male lingerie". The closest thing I've come up with to it is a suit or tuxedo or uniform, which limits the variety of "sexy man" costume in a big way.
Of course, I could go out without the notion that costumes+booze+drugs=sex foremost in my head.
But I can't think of why I would.
That said, I think it's awesome that the rise of sexy toddlers comes simultaneously as the rise of hyper paranoia about sexual predators.

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