When searching for Halloween costumes for myself and my teenaged daughter, the vast majority of costumes I find in stores and online for women and teen girls are sexy Halloween costumes. When did Halloween become all about sex? And more particularly, an event solely for the male gaze? Isn’t it about dressing up, having fun and going door-to-door begging for candy? Isn’t Halloween for the kids?
Not anymore. As a woman and the mother of a daughter, I am appalled by our choices for costumes and how Halloween is another event based on selling sex.
Looking at our choices for costumes, it is apparent that Halloween has become severely entrenched with sexual innuendo over the years. From a witch to a police officer, a nurse to a vampire, a private school uniform to a devil and a French maid to a fairy, they are all made to look sexy on Halloween. What is interesting about these costumes is the irony in the context of which these costumes are taken from.
Think about a witch. In general society, witches are seen as evil and ugly. A witch is a name that some people call a woman when she is non-compliant and confident. But for Halloween, witches are sexy, objects for the male gaze and something to be adored.
How about the private school girl uniform? It disgusts me when I see men who gawk at young women wearing private school uniforms. I feel as though it is child pornography and that some men don’t know where to draw the line.
Now let us look at nurses. Nurses wear scrubs and can viewed as mean or stern. Historically, nurses were most often compliant women who wore form-fitted uniforms. This is the uniform that is still used today for the sexy nurse costume, another costume that is created solely for the pleasure of men.
When did Halloween become so shallow? When it’s filled with nothing but sexual innuendo I do not want to relate it to anything that I subscribe to. Nor do I want to relate it to anything that my daughter subscribes to. Therefore, the solely-for-male-gaze-sexy-costumes will be referred to as “Shalloween.”
I suppose the only option for women who do not subscribe to Shalloween and protest becoming mere objects for the male gaze is to return to the tradition of making our own Halloween costumes for ourselves. This way we won’t get the only available options for costumes: packaged, sexy costumes for females. I guess I’m off to a second hand store for supplies!