More Than a Costume; Less Than an Outfit
By Abby Rollinger
“Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total **** and no other girls can say anything about it.” This well-known quote from the movie, Mean Girls, has become the basic philosophy and expectation for female attire on a world-wide holiday that was originally meant to commemorate the dead. Lately, society has been focused on one thing: sex. Whether you agree with that statement or not, there is no doubt that this cultural ideal has significantly influenced people’s costume of choice. The large majority of Halloween apparel sold today should be rated M for mature (which is ironic because the people wearing these “costumes” are everything but). It’s rare to see a cat without cleavage, a nurse wearing pants, or a version of a beloved Disney character that has not been completely over sexualized. However, these things are generally harmless. Right?
Wrong. Dressing attractively on Halloween is not a bad thing. But, like many other aspects of life, there is a line, and this particular line stands between what is “sexy” and what should be considered as “degrading.” For example, if people are confusing your vampire outfit for someone’s bachelor party surprise, then you’ve taken things a bit too far.
It has gotten to the point where even self-distorting illnesses are being made into appealing costume choices. This year, a costume titled, “Anna Rexia”, was set-up for sale on multiple websites, including Halloweenparty13.com and rickeyshalloween.com, after being discontinued back in 2011. The costume’s online visual shows a busty woman holding a piece of measuring tape around her waist, which is clothed in a short, skin-tight dress with the imprint of a skeleton on the front. This utterly repulsive outfit pokes-fun and even sexualizes the eating disorder, Anorexia, and is highly offensive to anyone who has ever had insecurities about their weight. The worst part? There were people who actually purchased it.
As women of the twenty-first century who have worked for years to gain the rights and status we currently hold in a previously male-dominated world, we should be less concerned with how revealing our costume is, and more worried about its notoriety or cleverness. We are so much more than a pair of thigh-high boots, fish-net stockings, or a corset, and it’s time our Halloween outfits start reflecting the dignity that we possess.
Just like your everyday clothing choices, your costume can say a lot about you. Please, ladies, channel your inner Beyoncé and keep it cute but classy next Halloween.