A defense of sexy – NOT slutty – Halloween costumes

9622984492_273b872370_zI am the first to admit that, especially in recent years, I’ve grown tired of the overdone “sexy nurse,” “sexy police officer,” and “sexy maid” costumes so often worn by the young, 20-somethings of the female population on Halloween. As of late, I have embraced the traditions of All Hallows’ Eve, including dressing up in my scariest attire (i.e. zombie bride and Little “Dead” Riding Hood). I have personally enjoyed being scary far more than being sexy.

However, just like it’s a woman’s prerogative to wear what she wants on any regular day of the year, it is the exact same situation on Halloween and can we please stop referring to these costumes as “slutty”? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “slut” as a sexually promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute. It goes on to discuss a woman’s reputation which, for the sake of this article, I will gloss over because that’s fodder for another rant.

So, where were we? Ah, yes. The revealing, provocative costumes you see while out and about on Halloween are sexy, not slutty. By defining a woman’s costume as “slutty,” you, by association, define the person wearing it as a “slut.” You tell her that, based on her clothing choices, she automatically falls into a socially-constructed category. Essentially, according to this mentality, she is putting herself on display for you and she is “asking for it,” whether “it” refers to public shaming, sexual advances or being categorically “siloed.”

Heaven forbid a woman wear a costume that deviates from her regular attire on a day when you are supposed to dress up as…something you’re not. Perhaps this article can articulate what I’m trying to say more eloquently than I can: “What’s wrong with having a night where we can say “This is my body, and I’m not ashamed of it,” or of using it to express my sexuality? In fact, the only thing about that that seems wrong to me is the fact that it’s limited to one day, when the other 364 days of the year turn that idea on its head.”

In all honesty, I know plenty of men who love Halloween for the sole reason that they get to look at “sexy” nurses, police officers and maids. If a woman chooses to tack “sexy” as a prefix to her costume, then so be it. That’s her prerogative. Why are we shaming her for doing so? It’s the same ass-backwards logic that came from critics who said Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton shouldn’t have taken nude photographs of themselves and sent them to their significant others (again, another topic for another rant). I don’t know too many straight males who wouldn’t love to receive a photograph of a beautiful woman in scantily clad attire or nothing at all. All you are doing, in shaming these women, is discouraging them from doing…exactly what you want them to do.

Women and men, for that matter, should be able to wear whatever they want on Halloween and command the same respect they would receive on any other day of the year. For the record, I am not planning to wear a sexy costume this year, but if I was, so what? Halloween costumes are no longer limited to vampires, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches and devils. Dressing up as a sexy version of any of the aforementioned supernatural figures or something entirely different should be celebrated!

So, this year, instead of rolling your eyes at the girl who dressed up as Miley Cyrus in a “Twerkin’ Teddy” costume or the guy who donned a “Frank the Flasher” outfit, take a deep breath and reserve your judgment. Halloween, especially in this privileged part of the world, is one night out of 365 nights when we are encouraged to celebrate a deviation from the norm. So, let’s do that and, for goodness sake, please stop using the word “slutty” to describe people who have sexual histories we know absolutely nothing about.



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