The increasing over-sexualization of women’s Halloween costumes needs to be curbed in an effort to allow for a wider variety of options during the holiday season.
Dressing for Halloween has always been my favorite part of the season—I live for costume clothes, wigs and makeup. Halloween is the one time a year I get to be anything I want and I think it is the most wonderful thing about October. However, as a female, searching for Halloween costumes gets harder every year as costumes for women seem to get smaller and more ridiculous. That being said, the “sexy Big Bird” costumes and all the like need to take a seat.
In the popular film Mean Girls, Halloween is addressed as the one night a year where girls can dress as “sexy” and outrageous as they want without incurring judgment. Women’s costumes have always been more “sexy” than men’s. It is our job to be sexy, right? Women are expected to traipse around in tight, skimpy material, wearing heels and sporting perfect hair, despite the fact that it is almost November and most likely cool outside. Women scavenge through hoards of Halloween costumes every year in search of the one that will strike the perfect sexy look.
The expectation of women to dress sexy has only been reinforced by the media. It has gotten to the point that Halloween companies are producing ridiculous costumes such as “sexy pizza” and “sexy hamburger.” There are even group costumes like “sexy fruit salad,” in which one person could be the sexy strawberry, while another is the sexy watermelon or lemon wedge. Thanks to Miley Cyrus’ exceptional VMAs performance there is even a couples’ costume consisting of a nude bikini set and foam finger for the female and a Beetlejuice striped suit for the male.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with dressing sexy on Halloween. I have friends that are naturally timid and use Halloween as their one time each year to go all out in a leather body suit. If dressing sexy is a person’s preference, by all means they should get their Beyonce on. The issue with over-sexualizing women’s costumes is it reinforces the belief that dressing sexy is the only way a woman can dress on Halloween, or any other time.
To those who do not believe that women’s costumes are over-sexualized—take a look at the couple’s costumes offered by Halloween companies. Everything from cops, sailors, doctors, pirates, referees and zombie couple outfits have one thing in common. The male costume is practical, and often times similar to the real life appearance of the thing they are emulating. Meanwhile, the costume of the female counterpart is unrealistic, revealing and manufactured strictly to make them look as “sexy” as possible.
The result of a push every year for more and more sexy costumes is those that should not be sexualized, are. Costume sections for teens and children are being filled with things like “pilot cutie” and “pretty pirate,” leaving the impression on young girls that dressing sexy on Halloween is the easiest way to get noticed. In addition, conditions that should be taken very seriously like eating disorders are being branded as “sexy.” Skeleton “Anna Rexia” costumes, equipped with glittering mini dresses and tape measures wrapped around their waists, are not appropriate. An eating disorder should never be made into a “sexy” costume for someone to parade around in. Eating disorders are a serious matter that plague thousands every day, not something to throw glitter and a scoop neck on.
The over-sexualization of women’s costumes needs to stop. It can lead to negative body image issues and a lack of respect for serious matters. Instead of pumping out one ideal look, society should embrace the individual desires of Halloween participants. Sexy is okay as an option, but there should be more than one option for females on Halloween.