Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Shut up about costumes

Stop talking about your opinion of other women’s bodies like it matters.

For some reason there are those among us who think it is appropriate to tell strangers that leggings aren’t pants, people who gleefully whisper about an acquaintance’s “muffin top” and TV commentators who can’t get enough of Hillary’s ? “cankles.”

Unless you are the author of office dress policy, you don’t get to decide what women wear or how they wear it — even if you’re a woman.

Sure, you’re allowed to have an opinion. But you’re overstepping your bounds if you expect women to change the way they look just to please you.

Holding women to your own personal dress code is like the U.S. Congress expecting Canadians to follow our laws.

This problem can affect men, too — particularly those who wear styles of dress often associated with blackness.

But as Halloween approaches, women will bear the brunt of this body policing.

Every year, another news outlet runs a story on the societal scourge of “sexy costumes.” E! News celebrates women’s uncanny ability to make anything “completely ?inappropriate.”

A columnist for the Indy Star insists that the mere existence of these costumes undermines the legitimacy of “perfectly respectable professions.”

A Tulane student warns that women clad in sexy costumes are just asking to be harassed.

And of course, we make fun, acting as though sexy costumes are a dumb, ?illegitimate choice.

But why, during Halloween, presumably at a costume party, are these costumes “completely inappropriate?” Why is being sexy, identifying yourself as a sexual being or expressing your sexuality not ?“respectable?”

Clothing is never — never — an excuse to mistreat women. Dressing “sexily,” on Halloween or any other night, does not make ?someone stupid.

All of these narratives reflect a general sense of ownership our society has when it comes to women’s bodies and sexual expression. When women make independent choices about what they wear and how they wear it, we freely write think piece after repetitive think piece, blaming women for the limited sexual expression our society allows them.

Cady Herron shows up to the Halloween party as a zombie bride and is laughed at for being out of touch. Regina George is a “total slut” in her Playboy Bunny costume. Neither is an enviable position.

Yet men can have it all. Simply by donning a well-tailored suit, a man can asserts that he is strong. He is respectable. And damn if he isn’t sexy.

My pantsuit holds no such status, no matter how sexy I tell myself it is.

Damning women for failing to live up to unrealistic and sexist societal standards is ?counterproductive.

Let’s attack the ?standards instead.

Get stories like this in your inbox
Subscribe