The Feminist Media Reader #6 - Slutty Cats, Satire and the 'Sexy' Halloween costume

by - Friday, November 07, 2014

As the old Mean Girls adage goes, "In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it." Whilst we all knew what Lindsay Lohan was getting at, the truth is that people DO have something to say about it. We've all been hit with the last-minute panic that leads us to don cat ears, cut up an old sheet to form a ghost or simply wear black and pretend to be a witch, but invariably, if we women decide that we can't be bothered getting crafty and would rather buy a full costume in advance, our options seems limited to that of a badly made porn film with a pathetic budget.

I didn't go out this Halloween, but I can remember what it was like from my time as a student. Pre-bought Halloween costumes are understandably made from cheap fabrics, but for women especially, the costumes we are marketed seem to be synonymous with sex, or 'sexed up' versions of day-to-day occupations. When you do eventually make it out, the comments are never ending, and boys seemed to take it as a direct opportunity to hit on your vivaciously. My Facebook feed last weekend was positively full of girls awkwardly tugging at their hemlines, wishing they'd just gone for the sheet look instead.

That's not to say that wearing a scantily-clad outfit isn't acceptable. I wouldn't necessarily go for it myself, but that doesn't change the fact that it's entirely a woman's choice. Even if you decided to walk down the street naked, it's not an instant invitation to be grabbed, groped or harassed in any way. But let us for a second inspect the works of costume company Delicious, whose array of outfits perfectly illustrate my issue, reducing even the most mundane of choices into super-short, somewhat disturbing caricatures of the cause.

Let us consider the irony of 'sexy' Rosie the Riveter, feminist icon, reduced to a costume that most reviewers complain has clearly been designed with huge-breasted women in mind. Still, I'll let them off as at least the costume would look quite cute with tights and a vest underneath. Does that make me a bad feminist? 

How about encouraged paedophilia anyone? I hear that looks great in a nightclub.

'Sexy without being too revealing'? Oh delicious, you're just too good to us. Plus you know, are Wolf's really that sexy? I like Taylor Lautner and all, but I'm not really feeling this bizarre Twilight-esque weirdness. 

And last but not least, a sexy clownfish. Yes, you heard me right. A sexy clownfish. Because every man gets turned on watching Finding Nemo. 

However, the costume that really enrages me is the 'sexy PhD'. Because after all, after 4 years of slogging your guts out in the library to prove your intellect and dedication to a subject, you'd really want to be reduced to this stereotype wouldn't you? 

Luckily, the feminist in me was suitably amused to find that these costumes hadn't gone unnoticed by a group of actual, real life women with PhD's who, shock horror, didn't feel the need to get sexy this Halloween. 

 Delicious Nil, Feminists one. Thank god for satire. 

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