Home » A+E » Opinion: Women’s ‘sexy’ costumes absurd, often worn in bad taste

Opinion: Women’s ‘sexy’ costumes absurd, often worn in bad taste

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Costumes on display at Spirit Halloween on 1624 N. High St. Credit: Molly Tavoletti / Lantern photographer

It’s Halloween, which unfortunately that means we are about to be subjected to a lot of tasteless costumes.

Last weekend, I went out with a friend of mine to go shopping for costumes at Spirit Halloween, located at 1624 N. High St.

We were shopping for a wig for my friend’s costume, but we couldn’t help but notice — and be disgusted by — the female costumes on display.

It seemed as if the costume designers either ran out of fabric or thought that all women on Halloween want to bear their legs under skirts during brisk October nights.

The movie “Mean Girls” became a pop culture phenomenon after its 2004 release, but I thought they were joking when they said women used Halloween as an excuse to “dress like a total slut.”

As a child, I didn’t wear costumes on Halloween because of my mother’s religious beliefs, and I never could find the answer when the nice man or woman handing me candy would ask “where’s your costume?”

As an adult, I didn’t realize that the answer would go from “nowhere” to “barely there.”

The one time I did dress up for Halloween was back in 2012 when I was a woman from the Renaissance period at Walt Disney World’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

It was the most conservative costume I found when I went shopping at the local Halloween store, and my legs still had to suffer the chills that night.

I’m not trying to bash dressing sexy on Halloween. Women obviously have the free will to dress however they please on Halloween, but when did “sexy” become our only option?

I was hard-pressed to find a costume that didn’t involve major exposure of the female form. The “Pocahottie” and “Playboy Pirate” costumes made my friend and me groan.

Halloween is also well known to give people the excuse to be as racist as they’d like and cry, “Oh, it’s just a costume.”

These are the same people that are making the Ray Rice costumes that have been springing up all over the Internet, but I digress.

It is not just a costume. It is a caricature that demeans a whole group of people.

How would Native Americans feel seeing their culture being stripped down to a tight costume with “Pocahottie” slammed over it? People do realize that, according to the history books, the real Pocahontas was about 11 when she met John Smith in Virginia? Even if the sexy costume was based on Disney’s Pocahontas, I still felt insulted while looking at it because that was my childhood.

Even more insulting were the stark differences between the same costumes for men and women.

The male nurse costume looked simple enough: scrubs, face mask, gloves. The exact same thing modern female nurses wear. But when it came to the female nurse costume, it was a “scrub-dress” with gloves and a large needle (just in case you didn’t get the innuendo that was already there).

There is even a sexy female Ebola containment suit now being sold online. I’m not even joking, but the costume’s description will give you a good laugh. “As the deadly Ebola virus trickles its way through the United States, fighting its disease is no reason to compromise style. The short dress and chic gas mask will be the talk of Milan, London, Paris and New York as the world’s fashionistas seek global solutions to hazmat couture,” the description said.

It just goes to show how outrageous costumes are becoming.

And it’s not just the women who have to deal with ridiculous costumes. At Spirit Halloween, my friend and I saw several lame costumes directed towards men.

“Skele-boner” and “Happy Camper” were so juvenile that I felt like I had teleported back to middle school gym class. The ideas behind these costumes seem to be uninspiring and relying heavily on crass humor.

The stark differences in costumes don’t stop with the adults. While browsing the kids’ section, we ran across the prisoner’s outfit for boys and girls. The boy costume featured the standard orange jumpsuit with handcuffs. As for the girl costume, it was a pink-and-black stripped outfit, complete with leggings, a necklace and a matching hat.

There’s nothing cute about female prisoners, so I can’t fathom the thought process behind this outfit.

The fact that I have to go to the men’s section to find a decent costume to wear shouldn’t be a reality. If I could make my own costume I would, but my novice sewing skills left me back in high school.

Not everyone can make their own costumes, so they depend on stores for their Halloween needs. Women shouldn’t have to have their choices limited to “sexy” or “cute.”

Women want to be zombies, werewolves, ghouls. They want to be Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees (and no, not Kotobukiya’s Freddy and Jason). Halloween is a night in which the entire country can cosplay (costume play) as its favorite monsters, celebrities and TV or movie characters. So why is it that the bulk of female costumes have to appeal to the male gaze?

The popular website BuzzFeed released a video earlier this month called “Men Try On Ladies’ Sexy Halloween Costumes,” with costumes including a sexy firefighter, sexy nun, sexy ladybug and sexy Girl Scout.

Girl Scout? I remember being in Girl Scouts and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even 10. I really don’t think selling cookies should be associated with anything sexy.

To quote Buzzfeed’s Keith Habersberger, “Girl Scouts shouldn’t be selling those kind of cookies.”

The sexy ladybug also received some excellent comments in the video.

“I’ve never really looked at a ladybug and thought, ‘I’d hit that,’” Buzzfeed’s Eugene Lee Yang said. “Let alone the lack of fabric, I just think this is just a stupid costume.”

The men all agreed that they wouldn’t want to wear the costumes in public, so why are women expected to? Unfortunately, it’s a trend that won’t be going away anytime soon because a lot of women end up buying these costumes. To all the ladies who are not keen on dressing sexy for Halloween, you don’t have to. It’s quite all right to dress sensibly.

“Give the girl some pants,” Lee Yang said. “Pants can be f—— sexy.” And warm.

That is very important.

All of the aforementioned costumes are real and are being sold in stores as well as online. If dressing sexy is supposed to be the norm, then I think I’m done celebrating Halloween.

To quote Lee Yang, “F— this, this is stupid. I f—– hate it.”

4 comments

  1. If girls didn’t buy it, they wouldn’t sell it. Not saying i approve of it but its the truth.

  2. If you don’t like the costumes don’t go to the store. Thousands of “appropriate” female costumes are available online and at costume stores frequented by theatre companies, schools, etc… Oh and how about a reminder that you are shopping near a university where you’ll find more costumes for immature minds than anywhere else. Duh. This isn’t an article it’s a rant disguised as an “opinion” backed by very little research offering alternatives findable within 5 minutes of google searching.

  3. SB and Dawson, ur both full of it, there are not “thousands” of women’s costumes available online that aren’t skimpy- you have to dig and dig to find them – also you shouldn’t have to go online, they should be easily available as there are for men >:-(

    SB, if those costumes are the ONLY THING available, r u saying we have to go naked or not wear any costumes? Only let the men enjoy Halloween?

    Truth be told, there needs to be something done and they should offer both skimpy and non-skimpy Halloween costumes for women as well as men (in the store themselves that u can walk around in and try things on and feel and touch).

  4. Who are forcing to wear the badass women? no one is telling you to buy badass costumes. If you aren’t intend to buy one, don’t buy and instead settled for a good one. But you know most of the women will got the market to buy sexy and badass costumes. Who want to be boredoom just have some fun freaking out!!

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