Halloween, the one night a year when you can be whoever you want to be. Whether you choose to be a full-blown pennywise cos-play, a Primark Disney princess, or the classic slutty cat, anything goes. As long as your costume isn’t offensive, surely, it’s fine?
Unfortunately, as women, our appearance is constantly scrutinised, criticised, and outright attacked. Women are asked to fit into narrow standards of beauty; we are judged if we are too sexy, and still if we are too prudish.
For example, when a man is searching for a costume on google, google never suggests adding the adjective ‘sexy’ into the search bar – notice the difference between the different genders’ lumberjack costumes. Whilst there is no sincere ‘sexy’ costumes offered for men there is almost an expectation for women to dress this way – it is practically impossible to find a non-sexualised female costume.
Not only is this highly unfair on men (who wouldn’t want to see a guy dressed in a sexy nurse costume?), it also pigeonholes women into two categories; sexy or prudish. Not only is this arbitrary; it is also also damaging. Women are not two dimensional, we can be funny and intelligent, whilst also looking incredible, it’s not either or. Perhaps we should remember the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.
Halloween is a chance to be creative, and to have fun. Your idea of fun might be perfecting that skull make-up, and the costume to match, or it might be wearing something creepy, or funny, or even a mixture of the two. Or it might simply be dressing in a way that makes you feel great about yourself, ‘slutty’ or not. Whatever it is, it shouldn’t matter, it should be up to the individual. Feminism is about women being considered equal in everything, and if this includes being able to dress in slutty Halloween costumes I’m all for it.
That said, the news of Harvey Weinstein using his position of power to abuse vulnerable actresses reminds us that the culture of silence and quiet acceptance surrounding sexual assault is still very much at play. The Daily Mail even argued that ‘with their silence they [Weinstein’s’ victims] colluded in his activities’ – blaming the victims of sexual assault for Weinstein’s continued attacks, as if women are responsible for controlling men’s sexual urges. An insult to intelligent, rational men everywhere.
With this sad reminder that sexual assault is still very much part of our daily lives, many women may ask is it safe to dress slutty this Halloween? And the honest answer is, I don’t know. But, what I do know, is that if women continue to be bullied into behaving ‘appropriately’ then the battle for equality may never be won.
There may be risk associated with nights out, and drinking, and even wearing heels (blisters are no joke) but that shouldn’t stop you from living. What we must remember is, dressing in a slutty costume is not a crime, sexual assault is. Halloween costumes are just that, costumes. Simply because a woman chooses to dress in a slutty costume doesn’t mean she’s after sex. Like a beautiful painting, a slutty Halloween costume comes with an invitation to look, but not touch. Women, like every human, have the right to feel attractive, and safe, whatever they’re wearing.
So, with that in mind, slap those grabbing hands away, and wear your costume proudly.
Are slutty Halloween costumes okay? Of course, they are. Just don’t dress as a Nazi, not cool.