I am not the first person to have noticed with concern that costume stores are stocked with a fairly limited assortment of highly gendered (and often highly sexualized) costume options for boys, girls, men and women (I highly recommend this article published by Miss Representation for an insightful critique of Halloween costume culture). Because of this, Halloween has long been my least favorite holidays. (Admittedly, lingering food issues and the abundance of bite-sized candy may also play into my anxieties!)
|Daria is hilarious but also kind of judgy.|
I hate feeling judgmental towards my fellow women. It goes against my feminist commitments to empathy, celebration of all women, and general disdain for ladies keeping other ladies down. Here's the worst part: feeling (and, even worse, acting) bitchy about women who choose to dress provocatively on Halloween makes me a Slut-Shamer. (FYI, according to FinallyFeminist101.com, Slut-Shaming happens when a person "publicly or privately [insults] a woman because she expressed her sexuality in a way that does not conform with patriarchal expectations for women.") Slut-shaming is REALLY BAD STUFF! It contributes to a sexual double-standard in which men are praised for their sexuality while women are shamed for it; it polices rather than celebrates women's bodies and sexualities; and it implicitly (and often explicitly) positions the slut-shamer as being somehow "better-than" the slut-shamed.
|This is Slut-Shaming. By 12-year-olds. It's awful. Really, read it. Don't do it.|
For these things, I apologize, and welcome your own thoughts on the subject. I am obviously still working through this, which is why I am spending this year's Halloween in a dark movie theater watching a documentary with my sister.
Is Halloween empowering to you?
Is it a creative outlet?
Is it a cherished and nostalgic holiday?
Does it make you cringe?
Are there any other 1-day-a-year ashamed-to-be-slut-shamers out there?
Finally, a more lighthearted question: What is your all-time favorite Halloween costume?
(Here's mine: I dressed up as a DINNER SALAD one year in elementary school. I designed and sewed my own costume and everything. It didn't exactly win any popularity contests, but I know my parents were proud!)