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COLUMN: Don't tell women what to wear on Halloween



10.30

Costumes are a hallmark of Halloween. Walk into a Party City and you'll see them everywhere. And for women, more and more of those costumes are sexy. 

It appears that some male bloggers have a problem with it, such as Tim Falletti, blogger for ChicagoNow's Acrimonious Clown.

I feel if women want to wear sexy costumes, they should, and that if people have a problem with these costumes, then they should stop placing a women’s worth into what she wears

Falletti opens his argument against “slutty costumes” with “coming from a man...”

This already harms his argument. Most women do not solely choose their outfits to please men. A woman could choose a sexy costume to have fun with her friends, feel good about herself or, hell, pick up a significant other if she wants. 

But that is her choice, and she shouldn’t police herself based off of one man’s opinion

He wants women to show respect for themselves. However, Falletti shows no respect for women who wear a sexy costume. He says it leads to them contracting syphilis and calls them unimaginative

And if it was just one jealous male blogger I would have been mad, but this also seems to be a trend. Margot Robbie, an Australian actress , said she “never got slutty costumes” and commented on how during her first Halloween in the United States, “all the other women were dressed in lingerie.” 

Robbie may not have been trying to slut-shame, but the word slutty is demeaning enough as it is. 

Slut has been used to negatively describe women for having sex since the 15th century, and even after the feminist movement of the 1970s, this term has been focused more on women than on men

And while there have been attempts to reclaim the word for women, the surrounding problems with intersectionality and diversity make this a difficult battle. 

The trend of demonizing sexy costumes becomes even worse when it is used to justify sexual assault. Mayim Bialik, an actress in the "Big Bang Theory," stated she “always made conservative choices as a young actress.” 

Bialik said as a non-traditional looking woman in Hollywood, she has always been overlooked by the predators in her industry, compared to the girls who were societally-accepted as "prettier" and dressed less conservatively. She addresses that young women may feel that not wearing what they want is oppressive, but maintains that is simply the way of the world. 

However, it does not need to be the way of the world. If men like Falletti and women like Bialik can all come together and support women in their agency, we wouldn't need to have conversations like this.

A sexy costume is just another piece of clothing.  And yet women who choose to wear them are seen as less valuable than women who dress more conservatively.

Halloween costumes are meant to be fun. Instead of demeaning people who choose to wear sexy costumes, we should acknowledge it is just a costume. 

A woman’s choice does not tell you anything about her mind, personality or her life.

npatwari@indiana.edu

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