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Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Costume: How to Not Slut-Shame This Halloween

Halloween is probably my favorite time of year. In addition to the pumpkins, candy and spooky décor, Halloween is a time to let your inner weirdness out and express yourself by dressing in a way you probably couldn’t pull off during the rest of the year. Whether that means wearing a simple ensemble of cat ears paired with a black dress or constructing an elaborate rendition of sexy Alice in Wonderland, you’re basically free to dress however you want. With that in mind, it’s important to remember everyone else is free to dress however they want without being judged for what they’re wearing. No one deserves to be called a “slut” or any other derogatory term for wearing what they want to, no matter what it is.

You may find yourself saying, “But I wouldn’t ever wear something that revealing!” Well, that’s your decision. Just because a girl is wearing a revealing outfit does not indicate anything about her sexual lifestyle. And in that vein, just because she has an active sex life doesn’t make her a bad person. We’ve been socialized to view promiscuous women as immoral, and though a lot of us are challenging that notion, for some strange reason, revealing attire tends to set everyone back to a Victorian-Era mindset. (I really hope we’ve all moved past ankles being scandalous, though, am I right?). No one gives a second thought to a shirtless bro calling his cowboy hat a costume, and certainly no one calls him a “slut” for showing skin. Then why do people hate on girls wearing sexy costumes, and call them names and make assumptions based on what they’re wearing? Additionally, just because a girl is dressed in a revealing outfit does not mean she’s looking for sex that night. A costume does not mean consent.

If you’re complaining about the over-saturation of “sexy” women’s Halloween costumes in the market and how there seems to be an unnecessarily sexy costume version of just about everything, then yes, I agree. The objectification of women’s bodies is definitely something to complain about. If you are, however, referring to the fact that girls just like wearing revealing costumes on Halloween for the fun of it and slyly implying that you’re in the moral right for covering up, then I will disagree. Like I said before, Halloween is a time to unleash the inner you, and everyone has the right to wear what they want. Some people just really want to be sexy cats. If someone feels awesome in their costume, it is totally unnecessary to call them any sort of demeaning name. You are not superior for choosing to wear something more conservative. Sorry to break it to you.

So is it ever okay to hate on someone’s costume then? Well, I am very glad you asked, because if a Halloween costume is blatantly offensive — be it racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic — then it is perfectly acceptable to call the wearer out. But, once again, if you’re just offended because someone is rocking a sexy nurse costume, you should keep your opinions to yourself.

Hopefully by now you’re starting to think, “Oh…I’m starting to get the point.” Good! Halloween is a time to get crazy and creative with costumes, and no one should be judged for what they decide to wear (except for the aforementioned reason). Here’s wishing all you collegiettes a fun and safe Halloween!

Photo credit: www.thedailybeast.com

Petrana Radulovic is a senior studying English and Computer Science. She hopes to be a writer someday and live in the Pacific Northwest, where she will undoubtedly divide her time between sipping coffee at a local café and sipping coffee in her living room, working on her latest story. She enjoys singing when she thinks she’s the only person at home, obsessively watching America’s Next Top Model, and wearing all black no matter what the weather. In her future, she sees many cats and many books and many mugs. She is currently the Senior Editor for HerCampus UFL, but writes the occasional article because she can't help herself. This is her sixth semester with HerCampus.
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