Opinions

Sexualization of Halloween

By Hayley Schulze, Contributor

Photo: Bridget Sewell, Kailie Melchoir and Riley Dunn dressed as Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey at a Gal-oween pary, a Halloween celebration featuring succesful women. Photo courtesy of Riley Dunn
Photo: Bridget Sewell, Kailie Melchoir and Riley Dunn dressed as Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey at a Gal-oween pary, a Halloween celebration featuring succesful women.
Photo courtesy of Riley Dunn

It is the most wonderful time of the year—with kids trick-or-treating and scary-themed greetings and ghost-haunted halls—it is the spookiest season of all. I remember my past Halloweens: slipping on my notorious poodle skirt for the fifth year in a row to go out and peddle for tiny packets of impending cavities.

When it no longer became acceptable for me to go trick or treating, I assumed that my days of Halloween fun were over. But when I arrived at Furman my freshman year, I was shocked to find that the eerie holiday was a highly celebrated event. However, this Halloween culture was a complete 180 from my childhood memories. In college, you no longer see the bulky costumes and sheet-adorned children parading as ghosts. Instead, the Halloween culture has become sexualized, every possible costume imaginable having the word “sexy” before it.

With this mentality, even respected occupations can be sold in a sexualized manner such as sexy doctor, sexy police officer and even sexy judge. More often than not, women are the ones being exploited on Halloween. With the pressure to appeal to society, college women attend parties clothed in overly sexualized costumes: ranging from sexy animals to esteemed occupations-turned-sensual.

Although these women believe they are appealing to others by wearing these outfits, they are, in fact, doing a disservice to their gender. I understand that Halloween is a time to dress in a way that you would not normally, and I recognize the freedom people feel by becoming someone else for one night of the year. However, when did the Halloween culture make the turn from the white sheet ghosts to an influx of sexy kittens and sexy princesses running drunkenly through the streets? Imagine if we took this day to promote a positive image of women. What if instead of dressing up as these sexualized characters we dressed up as someone we respected and admired? Think of the change that could come about—starting a new revolution of positive female imagery.

I am not asking that you parade around in turtlenecks and floor length skirts (unless you truly want to). I am just asking us, as women, to think twice about the costumes you choose, and remember to adorn them tastefully.

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