Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pet Peeves: Ho-ing it up for Halloween

Halloween (or All Hallow's Eve) used to be a time to take stock of and celebrate the harvest, a time when people believed the divide between this world and the underworld became permeable, allowing the dead to cause havoc amongst the living. During celebrations, people would often dress like ghouls, goblins, and other scary creatures to mimic and placate or scare the ghosts away.

Now? Well, now we dress like whores. The movie Mean Girls captured this beautifully. Remember Lindsay Lohan's character Cady's big faux pas when she dressed up like a zombie bride for a high school Halloween party? Cady's inner dialogue: "In 'Girl World,' Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it. The hard-core girls just wear lingerie and some form of animal ears."

And nothing's sacred. Even the most chaste and honorable costume ideas have a "sexy" twist nowadays. Angel? How about a bad angel? A nun? How about a naughty nun? Judge Judy? How about Judge Do-Me?

And me? I'm no better. That's me dressed like a belly dancer in college in the picture to the right here. . . . And didn't I just comment about being sick of the objectification of women as eye candy in a recent post, using the U2 belly dancer as an example? Yes, yes I did, Internet.

Hmm. Have I become a complete and utter hypocrite? Have I just become a finger-wagging prude in my 30's? Or was I just a young girl who was susceptible to societal gender stereotypes who has since matured? Ya, . . . I'd like to argue for the latter, . . . but, if I'm honest, the truth is probably closer to a combination of all three of those theories. Nevertheless, it's still the latter that bothers me the most . . . because it starts so early. Unless you've been in a coma for the past few years, you have to be aware of the most recent generation of little girls' unhealthy obsession with Disney princesses these days. (See a great Target Women video post regarding this too.) There they are to the left, each coquettishly tilting her head for the "camera." Yikes. Just when I think we've made so much progress, I realize how much things are still so gender-typed. Parents might as well just cut to the chase and dress their kids like this for Halloween! Boo, indeed.


Ezra said...

I basically subscribe to the point of view that societies really need some kind of a safety valve festival day where the normal rules don't apply and people can act out in relatively harmless ways some of the creepier or otherwise repressed sides of human nature.

That said, I have noticed that things do seem to be getting just kinda (boringly, sterotypically) slutty with the halloween outfits. And that sorta tanks my theory, since the same trend seems to be going on in everyday women's fashion becoming more revealing as well (so, you'd think there'd be less to repress that needs to come out on Halloween).

Regardless, something's definitely wacked with how early it's starting. A former coworker was also a former teacher and still had friends who taught junior high, and they had to start a dress code for the Halloween dance because of all the girls showing up as "dirty nurse".

As for your Halloween picture, it's honestly pretty chaste; if there's anybody that should feel a little sketched out, it's your friend with the udders.

Cheri said...

And the funnier part about bovine boy was that we didn't even know him. . . . He just showed up at our party and happened his way into our photo. Party crasher - how 'udder-ly' gauche.

Shivani said...

Your thoughts and personal experiences with Halloween costumes seem very similar to my own. I look back at pictures from a few years ago when I tried out the “sexy cop” for Halloween and can’t help but cringe and wonder what I was thinking. I wish more women would wear costumes that involve fun and creativity rather than risky hemlines, but at the same time I feel that the less sexy you look on Halloween, the less attention you get from anyone. I’ve written about my thoughts on this on my own blog and would love to hear your thoughts!