The Dangers of Sexist and Misogynistic Halloween Costumes

photo credit: Gabi Harris

photo credit: Gabi Harris

Sydney Rogalsky, Staff Writer

“In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” – Mean Girls (2004).


Unfortunately, this quote applies shockingly accurately to today’s society. Halloween this year looks as though it will be like every other year—girls dressing up as sexy pirates, sexy nurses, sexy bumblebees, sexy anything.  And there’s nothing wrong with that. Girls have the right to choose how they want to dress up. If a girl wants to wear revealing clothing on Halloween, she’s completely entitled to do it. The only problem though, is that sexy costumes tend to be the only choice for women on Halloween.


So what’s a girl to do?


Not everyone wants to dress up as a sexy watermelon or a sexy clownfish. But truth be told, there really aren’t that many other options. It’s go as a sexy big bird, or don’t go.


But wait, you may say, you can always just buy the male version of that costume! You can find a men’s watermelon costume that isn’t as revealing. Doesn’t that solve the problem?


No, it doesn’t.


A woman shouldn’t have to buy a men’s costume in order to feel comfortable on Halloween. There should be more variety in Halloween costumes, but there just plain isn’t. It’s sexist, plain and simple.


Costume designers have turned this into a commercial holiday in which they can exploit women. They can take qualities than men find attractive (big boobs, slim midriff, nice butt) and show it off in these costumes that are meant to be cute, but really only demeans women by over-sexualizing them.


Halloween is filled with these sexist, misogynistic principles and we don’t question them because we’re used to it! It isn’t right. We, as women, are upholding the patriarchal paradigm set in place by these chauvinistic men who seek nothing more than to exploit us for our bodies.


Wait, I’m getting up in arms for nothing, right? I’m overreacting. This is ridiculous.


No, it isn’t.


In a society where rape culture is so prevalent these costumes even further perpetuate these ideas. Oftentimes when a woman is raped, one of the first questions she’ll be asked is “What were you wearing?” or “Were you asking for it?” It’s ridiculous and stupid, but it’s true.


People in our society believe that a woman can deserve to be raped based on what she is wearing claiming, “Well, she looked like a slut.” It makes no sense. But it happens. That’s the main reason why these Halloween costumes are not only misogynistic but are also dangerous.


We should feel comfortable and happy in our Halloween costumes. Usually we do. But every now and then, whether you’re out at a party or trick-or-treating, you might get that fear, that very small, very seemingly irrational fear in the back of your mind that maybe you’re not as safe as you believe yourself to be, all because you chose to wear a stupid Halloween costume.


It happens. Go ahead, Google “rapes on Halloween”. I did. I was shocked. And how many of those were followed up by, “She was wearing a sexy costume, maybe she deserved it”?


All in all, I’m not saying we shouldn’t wear these costumes, or that there is anything inherently wrong with the women who choose to wear them. If you want to wear them, more power to you. You feel confident in your own skin. That’s amazing. But there should be more variety. The lack of variety in women’s costumes is not only dangerous to women, but also extremely sexist and shows that maybe we don’t care for our mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, etc. as much as we claim.