It’s that time of year again. Maybe one of the most prevalent seasons for slut-shaming and, possibly, the most sensitive time of the year when it comes to cultural appropriation, race, and sexuality in America. Personally, I have made an effort not to pick a Halloween costume that is overtly sexy or controversial, simply because I have not had the desire to dress in a way that would provoke people. I simply haven’t had the confidence to go all out. The boldest costume I selected, after a five-year streak of being a pirate cheerleader or dressing up as a boy, was last year when I dressed up as a pimp. Even though I am a woman, I hesitated when choosing this costume because of the possibility of being called out for “supporting” a misogynistic and anti-feminist figure. Even so, I ended up winning best costume with one of my close friends, obviously, because we had legit fur coats, not because we were calling women bitches and selling them on street corners.
This year, I’m considering something a little deeper in the “scandalous” territory — I am going to be a leopard. Generally, anything in the animal category, when dressed by a woman, is seen as sexually provocative. I first noticed this stereotype in middle school. Although I was completely introverted and unaware of sexiness and male parts, I was very observant of the girls who were more flamboyant and flirtatious. They seemed to be the girls wearing see-through leggings, crop tops, and cat ears. Back then I never understood the desire to be a domestic animal for one of the most festive times of the year when there were so many costume options.
While discussing my costume idea (to be a leopard) with two male friends, their response was “Oh, so it’s that kind of Halloween.” Clearly, this response was informed by the common stereotype attributed to women who dress up as an animal as slutty. I found the need to justify my leopard costume as not being “basic” or slutty, since I was going all out with makeup, and I didn’t want to stress out too much over the clothing/costume aspect. My simple decision to be an animal seemed an important factor in determining how I was going to act and be perceived this Halloween.
This year I want to challenge myself and do something that would attest to the makeup skills I have acquired in the past year. This year I aim to provoke something within myself: the confidence that I can do a beat face of leopard makeup and look fly and flawless.
So, if you happen to be around Soka University’s campus this weekend, you will undoubtedly see my ass in some leopard print leggings, and a fierce face of makeup.