Halloween is a time that anyone is allowed to be whatever they want. Dress however they want. Or at least that is what we are told. For most women, this isn’t the case. When it comes to Halloween costume’s sexism is abound. When entering a Halloween shop, I find myself bracing for the onslaught of “Sexy Nurse” and “Sexy Witch” costumes lining the women’s isles. Now this would be fine if the men’s costumes were equally revealing if they were all “naughty” as well, but no, they get to be Doctors, Superheroes, and Princes without showing the whole world their, um, assets. Also, there is NO problem with wearing a sexy costume on Halloween. Show all the cleavage want, I honestly don’t care (I bared some bosom myself on the 31st)! The issue arises when that is all the stores sell. I want to be able to go to a costume store and see equal opportunity to look realistic as the men. I also don’t want to feel sick to my stomach upon seeing rape culture prevailing in the names of these costumes. Two years in a row now I have seen something that I find truly revolting. A bodycon style dress that looks like a prisoner’s black and white striped uniform named “Warden’s Mistress.” The Costume alone is not a problem in itself (as long as there are other non-sexual options), the problem comes with the name. I get where the makers are coming from, simply thinking of a mistress as sexy, not thinking farther into the fact where we live in a world full of non-consensual sex, especially when it comes to men in power and women in their charge. There has been many a Warden’s Misstress in the world, and I can guarantee you that few of them were mistresses by choice.
But, even more, disturbing than that is when children’s costumes are sexualized. It fills me with rage and sadness when I see young girls costumes and those for pre-teen girls that are overly sexualized. Why can’t we just let little girls be little girls? We should not be showing them that their worth comes only from their bodies and sexuality. We should show them that they can be whatever they want. Why do they have to wear a short skirt to be a Fire-Fighter while their brother gets to wear an authentic looking costume (or as authentic as an eight-year-old can look)? Let’s stop making little girls grow up too fast, and let them have power in themselves. Give them costumes they can function in – not just show their (non-existent) cleavage. Again, I want to say that there is no problem in looking sexy if you want to. Embrace your sexyness! Also, remember costumes do not equal consent. Don’t assume that just because someone is bearing it all; they want to be touched or catcalled. And remember, if you wore something sexy, don’t let anyone slut-shame you. If you were harassed or assaulted while dressed as a “Naughty Nurse,” do not, I repeat DO NOT, let anyone tell you that it was your fault and that you were asking for it.