Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to one of my favorite times of the year. Gorgeous fall colors, the abatement of my hay fever, the smell of wet leaves, nice crisp weather, the uncontrollable urge to bake all of the pumpkin-related things. The hordes of both men and women making snarky comments about womens’ Halloween costu-
…wait, back it up.
I am so unbelievably tired of hearing people of all ages and genders beating the everloving fuck out of this dead horse. But I especially want to address the dynamic of women criticizing other womens’ costumes.
So, first of all, as I’m sure you’ve been told since kindergarten, how someone else dresses ain’t none of yo business. As long as they’re not being legitimately offensive, it’s not your problem. Get over it.
But, more importantly, drop the attitude that slut-shaming makes you more attractive or edgy. You are not a special fucking snowflake just because you think you’re too good to dress “like that”, or because you roll your eyes at every other costume at the party. That other girl is dressing up, for fun, on a holiday specifically dedicated to dressing up and having fun. You, on the other hand, are getting your kicks by perpetuating misogynistic bullshit centered around judging someone’s worth by how much skin they do or don’t show. Congratulations.
Also, riddle me this: what exactly are the options? I mean, it’s not exactly as though the vast fucking majority of recognizable female characters in all manner of media are at least somewhat sexualized, right? Naw. Of course not. Where would anyone get that idea? That’d just be silly. That’d totally be an exaggeration. Right? (I think I’ve made my point)
So, as a female on Halloween, you have four options.
1. Go with a recognizable costume and deal with the dirty looks and harassment.
2. Go with a less recognizable costume (I was planning on Death from The Sandman series, but considering that a member of my immediate family has been in a coma since Monday, I’m not exactly in the mood for partying), and look forward to spending the entire evening explaining who you’re dressed up as.
3. Dress as a male character. Because, apparently, you have to abandon the idea of dressing as someone of a specific gender in order to avoid offending people. Now, if you actually want to dress as a male character, go for it. But I don’t appreciate being told (and I have been) that I should do so in order to avoid being a Slut.
4. Hey, maybe you’ll get lucky and find a character/creature/icon mainstream enough that people will know who it is, but modest enough to appease the people around you. There aren’t many, but they exist. In this case, be prepared to have to make your own costume. Don’t have time (like, y’know, most people, especially the college age group)? Guess you’re SOL. Or (if you have the skill and time) you could do some really awesome zombie makeup and go with that. But, it’s nobody’s right to tell you that that’s what you should do.
So, why do we feel the need to make a big deal out of all this? Sure, you can be hypercritical if you want, but what good will it do you – or anyone? Even if you’re just trying to get a laugh, you’re coming off as insecure and rude, while simultaneously validating all the grand-‘ol slut-shaming that seems to increase around this time of year.
Next time you feel a nasty comment welling up, just cram a handful of candy corn into your mouth to prevent you from actually uttering it. Everyone will be better off: you won’t come off as a jerk (even if that wasn’t your intention, “little jokes” add up), and you’ll also get candy. Problem solved.