About a month ago I ventured into the local Halloween store for some costume ideas, but just ended up pissed off. There are literally no packaged costume ideas for women that aren’t sexualized. And what’s strange is that they’ve made things like soldiers, prison escapees, or soccer referees sexy.
Costumes for women can do any of the following:
a) transform women into a sexualized non-human, like the bumblebee below (it’s a bug – how is this sexy?). A classic example would be the Playboy bunny costume.
Just because you show cleavage or wear high-heels doesn’t make it a cool costume. Human peacock, case in point.
b) sexualize women in stereotypically female careers like maids, nurses, and librarians.
These costumes are generally part of the service industry where women have to be submissive to their bosses or customers. Face it – French maids and naughty nurses are outdated. But an emerging costume is the female flight attendant.
What’s sad is that female flight attendants in the fifties and sixties really were objectified like this.
Both men and women like these costumes because they both reinforce traditional gender roles of women as passive and submissive, while challenging them with a strong sex-positive angle.
c) show women “playing with gender” by dressing up in a stereotypically hypermasculine occupation.
Ok, naughty cop, naughty pilot – we’ve seen it. But these costumes portraying stereotypically male career paths are definitely getting creative.
This is undoubtedly the most popular choice because both men and women like women “playing” strong and domineering. Note the use of “play” as a woman that actually dressed as a normal police officer or prison escapee probably wouldn’t be considered all that cool and definitely not sexy.
d) have women dressing up as little girls, dressing up as women. This is by far the scariest group of Halloween costumes.
Like the recent GQ cover with Glee, these costumes make dumb, weak, desperate, and infantile sexy.
and e) sexualizing non-white women – women who are made sexually submissive and hypersexual every other day of the year in American culture.
One positive? I couldn’t find a sexy African tribeswoman. Thank god.
Here are a few fun feminist Halloween costumes in no particular order – stay safe and have fun!
1) “Sexy Nurse”
I read a comment on another blog by a woman who’s an actual nurse planning to go out in scrubs and sneakers with a large name tag reading “Sexy Nurse”
A great suggestion by Gender Focus: honor the history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by dressing up as one of the members of the 1943 Rockford Peaches, as profiled in the movie A League of Their Own.
3) Any feminist film/television character or American icon
Courtesy of Bitch: Veronica Mars, Carmen Sandiego, Thelma and Louisa, Ellen Ripley from Alien, Rosie the Riveter, Wonder Woman, and Peggy Hill
4) A Real Feminist!
Angela Davis, Dolores Huerta, a Guerilla Girl, Hillary Clinton, or my favorite
5) An Anti-Palin Mama Grizzly
6) Pro-Choice Paraphernalia
7) A breast cancer marathon walker for the gold!