Women in search of a decent Halloween costume face a nearly impossible task. Unless they want to dress up as a ketchup bottle, it’s not likely female shoppers will find a modest outfit for the season. Instead, they will find short skirts and low-cut tops.
Immodesty has been pushed onto females through the evolution of Halloween culture. Sex appeal is now simply one part of the holiday.
Dressing up in costume is the norm for everyone celebrating Halloween. Dressing immodestly is the norm for women.
This is a long way off from what Halloween used to be about. All Hallow’s Eve was initially celebrated by the churches as a time for feast and worship. Throughout the years, this idea has become skewed. Now, Halloween means something else to us. Now, we embrace the party scene and Frightmares.
We have turned Halloween into something entirely different from what it was originally intended to be. We no longer honor the dead, but dress as the dead. Instead of feasting, we load up with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers.
Still, we fully enjoy the spirit of Halloween. It’s a great time of year for socialization, with something to do every night. There is an entire movie culture built around the festivities, haunted houses pop up all over the cities and children run rampant collecting candy the night of Halloween.
It is for these reasons that the sexism of the costumes has slipped under the rug. We are so bombarded with images of the ideal female costume that we have become desensitized. Dressing up was once in the spirit of the holiday; it has now become a time to put women’s bodies on display.
Unfortunately, this idea is not entirely rejected by women. If all women truly cared about the matter, we wouldn’t see so many suggestive costumes. Instead, we see movies like “Mean Girls,” in which the girls are fully aware they are going to parties dressed in lingerie and bunny ears, yet declare this to be a full costume.
The norms of our culture play a huge role in shaping the standard of women’s dress today. In the past 100 years alone, we have seen a shift in modesty from women never showing their ankles, to women showing almost everything above the knee.
So what is the point of the immodesty? Is it simply because women can’t find appropriate costumes in the stores? Or do the stores accommodate for what consumers are looking for? When shopping for an outfit to wear to a Halloween party, what are the girls’ real options?
Because the media portrays women in a certain light, they have certain expectations to uphold. Why wear an entire bunny suit when just the ears will do? After all, this is what the party-goers are expecting, right?
But women are not entirely helpless when it comes to Halloween culture. Women can fight back, whether it be voicing their opinions for what really needs to be in the stores, or by coming up with modest costumes of their own. Women have the choice to dress in racy costumes, but they can also opt out and pick something original and refreshing.
Instead of succumbing to the desires of the many, women can pick what really works for them. If it’s a sexy pirate or a sexy nurse, that is up to them. But for the women who are tired of the pressures of society, they can make a stand this season. We would love to see women show up to parties like their true selves, the women they want to be.