I’m neither a trick nor a treat

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I think that a lot of that is due to the fact that it’s one of the few days I get to dress up in a ridiculous costume and have fun without judgment. Last year, for instance, I dressed up as a Power Ranger. While I’m still undecided on my costume this year, I’ve already planned a trip to Marden’s to try and find some inspiration.

In the words of Cady Heron from Mean Girls, “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.” Halloween is an amazing holiday, one that I love because of the self-expression that can be seen in people’s costumes. However, a lot of women unjustly get a lot of heat for wearing sexy outfits on Halloween. Men and women alike call them sluts for wearing skimpy or very little clothing. Some feminists decry them as falling into a stereotype, while others hail them as paving the road for women. Calls of laziness arise, and many a stereotype surrounds the traditional costumes that some women adorn. I don’t know about you, but I find all of these messages incredibly confusing and concerning.

Why is so much time and effort put into defaming women for what they choose to wear one night of the year? I just don’t understand why this is such a big issue. Regardless, these types of conversations have a lot of negative repercussions. These conversations create the idea that no matter what a girl does she can’t do it right.

This is not just a conversation about Halloween, but rather these conversations are symptomatic of a larger cultural issue. As a woman, it is easy to feel like I can never do anything correctly. If I want to wear a tight dress and go out, I’m called a slut. If I want to wear something a little more casual, I’m a prude. If I don’t have the standard model-style body type, I’m told to wear clothes that will “thin me out,” but if I try to wear the slimming color of black some will attack me for not appreciating my body type as it is and accuse me of trying to be something that I’m not. This extends beyond dress though. If I try to be assertive, I am told that I’m actually being bossy. But is that better than being viewed as passive because I don’t actively work to make my opinion known? The double standards that women have to try to live up to are absurd.

Granted, many costumes for women are clearly to exploit someone’s sexuality. Whether you are buying a pre-made costume or just looking for ideas online, the obvious goal for a lot of costumes is to show skin. You can literally buy a “Sexy Ebola Nurse” costume on the Internet. And though I may not find some of these costumes tasteful (the Ebola one for many reasons), if women are wearing these costumes to express themselves in creative ways, why is it my business to care?

I love dressing up in ridiculous costumes because (let’s be honest) I have a flair for the dramatic. I am also enthusiastic and love the process of putting together an outfit that I think is funny. I am not the kind of girl who shows a lot of skin on Halloween, but that’s because I would rather wear a ludicrous or nonsensical costume. I love expressing my personality through my clothing choices, and I am thankful that my personal style is usually not subject to very many criticisms (except for maybe being told that I’m a weirdo, but I fully embrace that aspect of my personality). I think that everyone should enjoy this luxury. If you want to dress up in a revealing costume, go for it. If you don’t, that’s fine too. Frankly, I don’t care what you dress up as for Halloween; I just like to see you utilize your originality. I want to see a piece of your personality shine through your costume, and I think that this is liberating for all parties involved. I don’t want people to dress up a certain way because they feel societal pressures to act that way.

Forget what other people want from you. As Miley says, “Imma do ma thang,” and I think that you should too.

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