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On Halloween, the sexy women come out instead of spirits… at least in Boulder. Spirits or sexy people? Degrading or not? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves and did here.
In “Mean Girls,” Lindsay Lohan perfectly describes what Halloween has become in today’s society: “In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut, and no other girls can say anything about it.”
As we began writing this article, we did not know exactly what to talk about, but we knew it would be about the “slutification” of Halloween. So, we started Google imaging “slutty Halloween costumes” (which were labeled “sexy” most often) and found ourselves pointing out the many costumes we actually thought were pretty cute and even kind of wanted. Our favorite “sexy” costumes were both fruit based – a peel-the-banana costume and a watermelon costume, complete with a “bite” taken from the side of the costume.
But why do we feel guilty liking and wanting costumes that are made specifically to draw attention to our bodies? Is this because Halloween perpetuates the idea that a person’s worth (and especially a woman’s) comes from their body and how well they measure up to societal standards of beauty? Does desiring these slutty costumes, and ultimately that attention, make us lesser feminists? Does this prove that we too are simply striving to fulfill this society’s patriarchal and often sexist standards of who women are and how they should act – in a way “real” men want?
Maybe. Or maybe it’s okay to want to look stereotypically hot sometimes, while understanding that this means subscribing to patriarchal standards. Maybe slutty can also be fun.
Plenty of girls who dress slutty on Halloween (and in general) do it for themselves, because feeling sexy doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you want to show off your body, you should be able to. This doesn’t mean you are “asking for it” – women should be able to wear nothing and still expect to not be bothered. Sometimes girls do just want to have fun. And if slutty costumes on Halloween are a way that women can have fun, then they should be able to go with it and not feel like they are betraying their gender or straying from the path of equality.
Halloween costumes labeled “sexy” typically come from a definition of this word that is patriarchal and very heteronormative, or “normal” – what most white, straight people think of as sexy. This definition can be constricting, as is evident through the fact that only tall, white, skinny women are generally seen modeling “sexy” costumes.
Even though sexy Halloween costumes can be problematic, it’s fun to dress however you want one night a year without having to take the word “slut” too seriously and maybe even having fun with the word. We are not saying that people’s worth comes from how hot a bod they have, only that they should be able to do what they want and wear what they want on that bod. To us, Lindsay Lohan was right when she said Halloween should be a night where you aren’t criticized for being whoever you want. Halloween is supposed to be fun, so it’s best to let people be, slutty and all.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writers Mira Winograd at Mira.email@example.com and Becky Powell at Becky.firstname.lastname@example.org