The feminist perspective of Halloween costumes

Rachel Brustein
Co-Features Editor

I think we can all agree that there’s some truth to the quote from “Mean Girls” that says, “Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a

Mean Girls Halloween (Photo: Google Images)

Mean Girls Halloween (Photo: Google Images)

total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
Halloween is the most gendered holiday – little girls are encouraged to dress up as princesses and little boys are encouraged to dress up as superheroes, indicating that girls should be focusing on beauty and boys should be focusing on power and masculinity.
Once kids reach their teen years, Halloween becomes a holiday where young women are supposed to dress up in the most revealing costume possible. A friend of mine went dressed as a Victoria’s Secret model, and everyone knows that the multitude of “animal” costumes can be provocative.
Why is it that society encourages women to objectify themselves on Halloween, but often ends up shaming them for doing so? Sure, “Mean Girls”says that girls can’t accuse each other of dressing like a “total slut” on Halloween, but in saying this, isn’t the movie doing exactly that? Perhaps no one will expressly say that a girl is objectifying herself, but many of us are thinking it. It is this mentality that leads to judgment and “slut-shaming” on Halloween, and at any other time of the year.
If dressing up in a skin-tight, low-cut outfit is what a woman chooses to do for Halloween, then so be it. She should not be “slut-shamed” or criticized for this choice. However, why should a woman feel pressured to dress this way if she is not comfortable with it? It would be pretty rad if a teen girl or young woman dressed up as Amelia Earhart, Michelle Obama, or Susan B. Anthony.  Women should be encouraged to dress however they want without being judged, regardless of the nature of their costume.
While Googling “feminist Halloween costumes,” several great ideas came up, and even some comical ones, like a NuvaRing or a pack of birth control. No matter what a woman chooses to be, she should be respected. Halloween is a holiday for everyone to enjoy, not a holiday that should lead to antifeminism.
Whatever a woman chooses to be for Halloween should be her choice and no one else’s. Even though Halloween is over, feminism is not. For more information on this topic, visit: http://therepresentationproject.org/.



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