The Halloween Slut Phenomenon

I was curious as to what people thought about the hyper-sexualization of female’s costumes around the time of Halloween. So I went around the UBC campus and asked people about their opinions. The overwhelming amount of answers attributed it to either freedom of expression/empowerment in a way, or societal norms and expectations.

Some of the answers I got from my interviews regarding self-expression consisted of people saying that Halloween seems to be that one time of the year where girls feel that they can dress however they want, or have that opportunity to dress “slutty,” without being judged by others or stigmatized by society. Some of the answers from people consisted of: “Because of the nature of Halloween, it’s all about costumes, and costumes kind of get [you] a free pass… and because of that costume aspect, it’s more acceptable socially.” Girls see it as an opportunity to “express themselves and feel freedom” because it’s “fun,” “[they] have this inner sexual desire which they can’t really express any other time of the year,” and “girls that aren’t normally the type to dress up slutty and stuff, they know that Halloween is that time of year when they can do that, and they’re curious as to how people will see them differently and act differently towards them.” Overall, “they love to look sexy, they wanna look good, they wanna enjoy life.” And not to mention, “many people are going to get laid during Halloween!”

A different view is that of self-empowerment even, “Have you ever considered that it might be female empowerment, and not because were dressing up for men?” Although this view was not as popular, the ones who did advocate for it said that, “I don’t think they do it because they wanna be considered sluts, but some of them do it… just to look good personally, because it’s one day you can dress up with not your regular clothes… [I think that it’s the] same concept as makeup… they just want to feel, and look good for themselves – it doesn’t have to be for other people.”

On the other hand, the most common view stated that this phenomenon was highly influenced by societal norms and pressures. The overwhelming amount of people said that it has become “Some socially acceptable norm,”  and that “it’s been an ongoing thing throughout the years.” Most people don’t even attribute it to girls, but rather to pressures from society: “media has a lot to do with it, especially like magazines, social media, and seeing what other people are wearing, especially the way girls are portrayed in movies on Halloween,” “it’s what you see in movies, what you see in pop culture,” “media affects politics, it affects everything, it’s all media.”

 Some of the most elaborate answers I heard were: “I don’t think it’s girls who feel the need to slut themselves up, I think it’s society that hyper-sexualizes women and requires them to constantly be attractive, look a certain way, therefore women have just responded to that, and in the best way they know how which is to quote unquote, ‘slut themselves up’ and I don’t even like the use of that word slut up, I think it’s offensive” and, “I don’t think it’s females who are hyper-sexualizing their costumes, the media is run under a male-dominated gaze, so of course costumes and stuff coming out of any industry are gonna be mostly male-orientated, and obviously guys wanna see ass, they wanna see tits, they wanna see your stomach, they wanna see your legs; they wanna see as much as they can get away with, and if they can put that on a holiday and be like ‘ohhh this is the excuse’, then all the better. It’s quite clever when you think about it, and girls have just kind of accepted it.”

Overall, I think it’s safe to say that this is a matter on which there will always be varying opinions.  A video with people’s full responses will be posted next week!

 

Some of the people I interviewed include:

Robin Kennedy

Ben Amuwo

Divya Dhami

Amelia Milne

Briana Irani

Oli Schuster

Nitin Kumar

Trevor Gitonga

Michael Warren Choi

Josh Sacks

Cara Jameson

Cougar Smith

Tayma Alassar

Alana La Rue

Alejando FH

Karyn Seng