The Halloween season is upon us yet again and choosing a costume is approached with both excitement and creativity. When you’re little, you can choose from being any manner of animal or fairytale creature or real-life heroes like firemen, doctors, and police officers. But at some point, particularly for women and girls, the options become
limited. Take a look at any popular party stores or online websites selling costumes. Instead of finding a varied range of whimsical and imaginative outfits, women are often left with the following options: Sexy Doctor, Sexy Maid, Sexy Cat, and Sexy Prisoner. A far cry from the powerful superheroes we had the chance to be as kids.
At this point in popular culture, the notion that women will go as “Sexy (fill in the blank)” has become widely accepted. Instead of being a time when both women and men can enjoy a fun night of dress-up, the night has become yet another opportunity for women’s bodies to be on display for judgment, for objectification, and for profit. Once again women are reduced to cultural stereotypes that limit not only their creativity, but the ways in which they choose to represent themselves. Selecting hypersexualized costumes further fuels the idea that women are primarily available in culture as bodies, not people. This sends a particularly dangerous message that it is not the contributions of women that should be valued, but their appearance. At a time when we could dress as anything in the world, it is striking that women select “Sexy Bumblebee” as an option!
So why not take a stand, be bold, and change it up? Dare to buck the “traditional” and choose a costume that makes you feel powerful and exercises some real creativity! Who’s your favorite female role model, politician, or comedian? What person from history has inspired you? Why take the risk of showing up with the same Sexy Post Officer costume as someone else (heaven forbid!) when you could go as your very own version of Simone de Beauvior? Have a little fun this Halloween and dare to be different.
By: Dr. Christine Peat