Undressing for Halloween

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Agnessa, Managing Editor
October 30, 2013
Filed under Opinion

There is nothing like the anticipation of dressing up on Halloween to scare friends and family with Justin Bieber masks or Pennywise (IT) the Clown costumes.

At the end of the day, we all know that the scares are all in good fun and our characters fictional; however, in recent years, the spookiest of all holidays has given trick-or-treaters real reason to be scared stiff. Rather than live up to the holiday’s tradition of instigating frights and screams, many have used Halloween as an excuse to dress up in provocative, so-called costumes that most would not otherwise dare be found in any other day of the year.

Whether it is dressing up as a trashy nurse, a naughty school girl, a hot to trot French maid,  or a pirate whose bust area is cut specifically to reveal their booty, more often than not, Halloween costumes of late seem as if they have been specifically designed to impress and attract rather than to scare. Sorry ladies, but dressing up in short skirts and tight shirts is not going to land a girl a conveniently dressed Prince Charming.

These past few months, singer Miley Cyrus has broken headlines about her nude appearances in music videos and foam-finger abusing performances on stage, but her actions are really not all that different from those who use Halloween as an excuse to dress like harlots. It all amounts to one thing: the sexual objectification of women…by women.

Wearing trashy costumes for a day may not really be all that big of a deal, but it is appalling that women willingly play a part in their sexual objectification by freely purchasing costumes that display them as toys to be gawked at rather than actual human beings to be admired. Although men have played a role in the repression and objectification of women both in the past and present, women who participate and encourage their own gender plight shoulder part of the responsibility as well. The fact that women continue to promote their sexual exploitation nowadays, when the women’s rights movement has given them the tools to break out of that mold, is really quite pitiful.

If people want to dress up — or down — in costumes that more closely resemble prostitute apparel than they do traditional Halloween clothing (like a blood-sucking vampire — the scary kind, not the sparkly), then they have every right to do so. But what does it say about our culture today that people look forward to Halloween not for the screams but for the sexy costumes?

Unfortunately, Halloween is the one day of the year when men and women know that anyone can get away with provocative outfits.  Girls who dress up in high-heeled, short-skirted referee costumes or tight, stripper-like Cinderella outfits are not really promiscuous — they are just dressing in the spirit of Halloween.

The “spirit of Halloween” does not rest on half-naked, often underage girls. According to history.com, Halloween derived from ancient Celtic traditions, more specifically the festival of Samhain, during which people would dress up in eerie costumes and light fires to ward off spirits. It was later adapted into Christian holidays in what became known as All Hallow’s Eve or All Saints’ Day, gradually evolving into the Halloween we celebrate today.

No doubt, those very saints would roll around in their graves at the sight of the oversexed costumes that are currently so sought after — whether in horror or lust, who’s to say?

When most of us were kids, Halloween was about dressing up as a favorite Disney character, a butt-kicking Power-Ranger, or a Grim Reaper to scare the easily frightened next-door neighbor. Creative and scary used to be the trend, but now it is sexy and sleazy.

In this case, a little tradition definitely wouldn’t hurt.

Feeling “sexy” or confident is great, but women in particular should not feel the need to achieve that through overly revealing outfits. Nobody is suggesting that women start dressing up like nuns, but sexy is not synonymous with nudity.

 

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