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A feminist looks at Halloween costume options

Women have come a long way since the 1920’s when we were allowed to vote for the first time. The term ‘Feminist’ is more prominent in the passing years and proclaiming your allegiance next to the fight for women’s equality is becoming a trait many look for in their partners and their friends.

Women are working their way to high positioned jobs (however still getting paid .79 cents to every dollar a man makes), and more and more female voices are appearing within the media.

A long way, yes, but not far enough.

Many women, if not all women, grow up in this world understanding that just by existing in their body they are walking hazards. Overly sexualized and still massively stifled in their intellect, women for years have been pushed into a mold of what they should look like, sound like, dress like and think like. Many women all over the world are pushing back for a drastic change in those systematic misogynistic ideals. With this change comes responsibility to myself and to my fellow women to break down these rigid gender roles that many may not even be aware of.

Assuming you have a slight knowledge of the massive inequality women still face today, as well as high numbers of sexual assault and street harassment, let’s play a game. This game is called Halloween Options, googling female Halloween costumes, and then juxtaposing those findings with the male options.

Oh, was this fun. I rarely ever feel reduced to a stereotype just for having a vagina and breasts but this, this is ridiculous.

It should be noted that if you are of age and have the ability to wear whatever you want, you deserve full respect to do so. What you chose to do with your body is your business and you should feel safe from sexual assault and discrimination regardless of what you wear. Women’s freedom of sexual expression is hugely important in today’s culture, but not always met with respect.

Googled: “Female Halloween costume”

Options: Adult Wild Tigress, Women’s Egyptian Goddess, Adult Aphrodite, Adult Stop Traffic Sexy Cop, Sexy Bondage Cop Costume

Thoughts: When the hell have I ever thought “Oh you know what I really want to be for Halloween? An Adult Wild Tigress! Or a Sexy Bondage Cop!” Oh yes that’s definitely what I want social media proof of. It is cold outside in October why the hell do my options consist of enough cloth to make a bathing suit and nothing more? Last time I checked female cops did not wear short skirts and low cut tops.

Zechariah Etheridge, a senior at UNCG, commented on this topic, “As if women can’t serve a real purpose and are only there to be gawked at and fantasized about. Costumes just mirror this concept and socialize our young women to fit into the patriarchal and oppressive scheme of America.”

Googled: “Young girl Halloween costume”

Options: Girls Sassy Stripes Zebra, Disco Diva, Venus child, Goth Prom Queen and (my personal favorite), Hooded Huntress Costume (I’d happily rock that)

Thoughts: These young girls’ options are tight, short, and are using words that still perpetuate the narrow line women have to walk. Where are the female Brain Surgeon costumes? Or the badass Young Lawyer? Successful painter? Air Force Pilot? No… none of that? Ok cool. Instead young girls are stuck with words like sassy, diva and prom queen. Ugh, give me a break.

Local Greensboro artist and Artisan Market organizer Lulu Page chimed in, “As far as young girl’s costumes go, I think it’s going a bit overboard. As the mother of a girl, I am worried how the world will try to tell her how she should present herself. Which means it’s up to me to raise her with confidence, self-worth and self-respect.”

Googled: Male Halloween costumes

Options: A Bacon Suit (what the hell?), Captain Black Heart, mens Banana Flasher, mens Inflatable Ostrich, Skeleboner costume, and Homer Simpson

Thoughts: Are you joking? Mens banana flasher? Skeleboner? Is Halloween suppose to be this utterly sexualized, orgy night rather than a scary exciting evening to go have fun with friends and family? Once you are too old to go trick or treating does the candy and ghost stories turn into sex and alcohol? Why? Why are we straying so far from other kinds of fun and entertainment and going straight for the sexualization of everything?

Googled: Boys Halloween Costumes

Options: Tron Legacy Costume, Navy Seal, Inflatable Sumo Wrestler, Fade into the Darkness costume

Thoughts: So young boys are allowed the opportunity, along with older males to be funny, completely covered (and warm) and convey somewhat strong representations of themselves? Lucky them.

In reality almost all of the costumes manufactures are making are horrific and let me also point out all the “models” used in 99% of these costume photos are Caucasian, size 0-2 women in their twenties. That in itself is a huge problem.

The solution: call some artists together, get creative and make your own costume. Put different pieces together that show whoever/whatever you want to be on Halloween night. Don’t let anyone push you into a tight dress or a sexualized costume if that is not actually what you want to wear.

There is more to a woman than her outer appearance. Repeat that 100 times if you really need to.

Maybe if we as a society start challenging these terrible systematic social norms of wearing what others want to see, women will start to finally get their point across and equal- ity will rapidly move forward. Every piece of the puzzle counts. !

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