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This Halloween, Respect Women

It’s that time of the year; the leaves are falling, inverted umbrellas are flying down the street, and the judgy slut-shamers are climbing out of their pumpkin spiced lattes to haunt Halloween. The pressure for women to look a certain way exists around the clock, but at this time of the year, it’s amplified. Should the costume be punny and Instagram worthy? Maybe couples themed or #squadgoals? How about solo and sexy? The options are endless. You either succumb to the “don’t dress like a slut” or “Halloween is the day to be scantily clad.”

There is a spectrum of reasons why a woman may choose to wear a certain costume that is of a certain length which shows certain amounts of skin. None of those include your business. If our society can lawfully agree that women have the right to their bodies, why is Halloween any different? Why does something as silly as cloth start to define her integrity, intelligence, and intentions?

Men’s Costumes vs. Women’s Costumes

For every “regular” men’s costume, there is a “slutty” or “sexy” equivalent for women. If you want to buy a nun costume, be prepared for latex and high heels. If you’re dressing as a police officer, get ready to squeeze into a skirt that is probably shorter than your fake gun holster.

Instead of asking why a woman is wearing the “slutty version” of a thing, ask why stores widely carry the selection for them.

Here is a Google search for men’s lion costume vs women’s lion costume:

          Screenshots courtesy author

Here is a Google search for men’s police costume vs women’s police costume:

          Screenshots courtesy of author

Mainstream fashion industries target women to adhere to a particular narrative for a corporate incentive. If constant images and inventory of “slutty somethings” bombard women in costume stores and on social media, there will be a push to conform. So maybe women aren’t slutty. Maybe our culture is.

The Double Standards

Every time Halloween rolls around, women encounter these same predicaments: the same people who beseech us to cover ourselves are the ones who drool over the naughty teacher in thigh high boots.

The irony is that men who say, “you don’t need to dress slutty, you’re better than this” are the same ones who enjoy seeing half-naked women.

These testaments include but are not limited to phrases like:

“You don’t need to exploit your sexuality to get attention.”

“You’re a victim of marketing.”

“Your breasts don’t represent you.”

Well, excuse me, who are you to tell me what I should wear when you’re in a banana costume?

Outfits are NOT a Representation of Sexuality

It’s ridiculous to make assumptions about anyone’s sex life because of what they wear. Even if someone wearing a sexy outfit is sexually active, that is not a bad thing. If someone has an active sex life, great. That is literally no one’s business but their own, and making any sort of assumptions on their character because of that is disgusting. Likewise, choosing a sexy Halloween costume means absolutely nothing about anyone’s sex life.

Mind Your Own Business

Mean Girls taught us that “Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

There was something strangely comforting about this day being a free pass from slut-shaming when no girl-on-girl crime could be committed and we could all embrace our sexuality to whichever degree we see fit.

Halloween is not just an excuse to dress up, it’s a day to embrace our fantasies and to become things we thought we could never be. So if I want to be a cop, cowgirl, flight attendant or paleontologist, the choice is mine. And if I wish to preface any of those costumes with “slutty” or “sexy,” the choice is also mine.

I’ll end this the way we started: Respect women.

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Zahra Khozema

Western '19

Zahra is a Pakistani-Canadian storyteller doing her masters in journalism and communications at UWO. Traveling, fondling Spanish on Duolinguo, and practicing salsa moves in the shower are ways she keeps sane. Her ultimate goal is to travel to 30 countries before turning 30. So far, she's got 19 down! Catch her on insta @zahratravels
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