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The Sexing of Halloween

I’ve seen some great commentary on the whole “sluts on Halloween” phenomenon.  Here’s the first, by the hilarious Jenna Marbles.

She makes some great points.  BuzzFeed came out, last week, with this commentary on sexy Halloween costumes. When I  first took Women’s Studies, back in the early 90s, my professor told me a good test of sexism was to apply any issue to men, and if it was funny, it was probably sexist.  This video is a great example of that.

Halloween has become an industry all unto itself.  It’s like the pet industry.  When I was a kid, there were no mega pet stores.  You didn’t take your dog to the vet to get her teeth cleaned.  And you generally put together a costume using your own creativity.  As someone who has thrown a Halloween party consistently since 1997, I have seen a LOT of creative costumes.  And most people make them.  There is an occasional purchase, at the store, by some last minute party-goer, like last year’s Gorilla, but in general, people buy props and get creative.

The Halloween industry allows for a lack of creativity.  Just in a five mile stretch, we have the “Spirit of Halloween” and “Halloween City” which allows lazy or stressed parents to run in and purchase their child’s costume, and sells hordes of sexy lingerie the Halloween industry calls costumes.

The issue for me is not necessarily the pressure for young women (and old) to dress as minimally as possible, it’s honestly the lack of creativity.  Halloween is the time to DRESS UP, meaning put on clothing that makes you into something else, a character or a thing.  It’s not about dressing in something skimpy that makes you look just like you, but in a Victoria’s Secret catalog.

The industry of Halloween has allowed us to be less creative.  And this is why, as much as some of my friend’s hate it, year after year, we have a theme for our Halloween party.  This keeps people thinking and creating.

Here are some of the great themes over the years:

Villains of Time:  Two people, who didn’t know each other, both came as Bill Buckner.  One of my best friend’s came as Martha Stewart, fresh out of prison, with apology letters.  My brother and his girlfriend at the time came as Brittany and Justin.  I came as President George W. Bush.

Seinfeld:  Mulva, the low talker, the Soup Nazi, Elaine, the Ugly Baby.

Horror Movie Characters:  My favorite costume, Tippy Hedron from The Birds.  My brother in law came as Quint from Jaws.  My husband came as Franknfurter from Rocky Horror.

Rock n Roll:  We took pictures of people as the dead rock n roll stars, the women, the men.  My husband’s Bob Dylan with the harmonica was priceless.

I could go on an on about the creativity and the original-spirit my friend’s have.  This year’s theme “Songs” is going to prove just as creative, maybe even more so.  I’m not here to judge the so-called “sluts on Halloween.”  I’m here to question where people’s artistic and creative energy has gone?  Is it really easier to just drop $30 on a cheap, made in China costume?  Or is it just as easy to spread that $30 out by picking up an item here and there that finishes your original costume?  You are then the ONLY person on the planet wearing THAT costume this year.

I’m not saying don’t be sexy.  I’m just saying, be original.


Me, 7th grade, Houlton, Maine, as an old man.

About thefeministcritic

Feminist, student affairs professional, actor, director, writer, yoga teacher, lover of dogs and cats, vintage trailers and an amazing cook named Jeff.

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my feminist praxis

critical reflections on my feminist praxis: activism, motherhood, and life

The Feminist Critic

Providing weekly critiques of theatre, film, books, politics and pop culture from a feminist perspective.

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