"Slutty" costumes: Enough with the Halloween shaming of grown women

halloweenSluts.jpg
This meme is my favorite, because the word "allow" insinuates that we don't get to choose how we dress during the rest of the year.
The Internet was made for judging. It sort of functions the same way that passing notes detailing a fellow eighth-grader's period mishap used to, except the shit-talking is done on the world's stage, and can be as vitriolic and hateful as the author chooses. (It can even be anonymous, in the case of comment trolls.)

Now, during Halloween season, those annoying Internet note-passers get to heckle women of all ages for what are considered "slutty" costumes. I'm never down with slut-shaming, and Halloween is no exception. So to the women of the world who want to wear what others deem "slutty," this one's for you.

See also: ColoWeen 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel

If you're not familiar with the practice, slut-shaming is when comments (like the word "slut") are used to describe a woman in a way that is supposed to be an insult to her character, based on assumptions about her style of dress, perceived sexual behavior, etc. (For a more detailed explanation of the term, read this great piece written by a dude about it.) As far as I know, there is no playing field-equalizing term for men that carries the same harmful connotations as "slut," which is why the shaming aspect is generally reserved for women (though I'm not ruling out that it is word used to shame people of all genders and orientations).

I love Halloween. I love dressing up as someone or something else, and revel in seeing what creative costumes strangers come up with. Although I don't tend to dress in revealing apparel, I don't understand why there are often social parameters put around what is deemed "appropriate" for a woman to wear. Those parameters come in the form of comments from both sexes about what has moved from the idea of a "sexy" Halloween costume to a "slutty" Halloween costume. (For the record, I'm not talking about the sexualization of little girl's costumes -- that's a whole separate issue.)

To me, slut-shaming women for their Halloween costume choices is just a symptom of a larger problem: The idea that someone else -- outside of the autonomous body wearing the supposedly incriminating costume -- gets to decide who a woman is, what she stands for and what her actions can supposedly mean.

The bad news for the cat-callers of the world? It's not really up to you to decide who a woman is or what she is about based on her apparel. Ever. Especially on Halloween, when we are all putting on a show to have fun and quite possibly escape what we usually wear the other 364 days out of the year.

The best part about this slut-shaming debacle? It is easily remedied. You don't even have to consider yourself a feminist to not be a slut-shamer. You just have to be the kind of person who has the ability to understand why it is important not to use harmful labels against others -- especially on a night celebrating illusion, mystery and the fun of being someone else for one evening.

In short, if you don't like a costume someone else is wearing or you can't control yourself around another human because of the way they are dressed, stay home. And shut the fuck up about it.




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39 comments
insanity.speaks
insanity.speaks

Maybe if we stopped with the term "slut shaming" we could put this mess behind us. The only women that are "sluts" are the ones that get paid for sex. Other than that, every one else is a woman. We should call it woman shaming because at the end of the day we are making women feel bad for dressing in costumes that show off their womanly forms. 

JNewberry
JNewberry

More pictures please... I'm trying to masturbate here.

stacyleigh303
stacyleigh303

Sassy is what I like to call my so called slutty costumes. SASSY!

Julia Story
Julia Story

How about we stop slut-shaming completely?

Kelly Watts
Kelly Watts

I'm really tired of everyone getting offended over every little thing. Go plant a tree, do some deep breathing, and drink some fucking decaf uppity people.

Kelly Watts
Kelly Watts

Please consider accessorizing all “slutty” Halloween costumes with a thick skin, a sense of humor, and the zero-fucks-given attitude required to wear an outfit where half your ass is hanging out. The only shame here is that people like the writer keep making mountains out of molehills.

flightsimulator
flightsimulator

Glad I read the article, so sad I stuck around for the comments.

Doug Hubka
Doug Hubka

No question we should ban Slutty costumes, I am sure it is offending the real Sluts in the crowd.

JimTom
JimTom topcommenter

T&A oh yea good thing.

Jeanna Christine Hoch
Jeanna Christine Hoch

Obviously the level of hurt feelings has become a little extreme. People, as demonstrated on this thread, have no decency anymore and believe they can say whatever and treat people however without facing repercussion. Just someone standing up for the "sluts" has the backlash of being called a pussy...why? Because assholes like you know most likely no one will do anything because they can't do anything. So who is the real pussy? Who is the one so pathetic as to slut shame and then run and tattle when their ass gets handed to them? Lots of talk...

LeAnn Nuss Lovato
LeAnn Nuss Lovato

Yeah, because getting your feelings hurt and physically assaulting someone are the same thing, huh? Could it be the cops get involved for one and not the other because one is against the law and the other isn't? I mean, feel free to correct me and my big ugly mouth if I'm wrong...

marth0305
marth0305

Ha, ha. :p Um, sure….ok, so I’m 17. How old should I be before I can wear a sexy Halloween costume without being “sexualized”?  Bree wrote she's not writing about the "sexualization of little girl's costumes" but I can assure you that any concern between there and what Bree writes about is a continuium, not an either/or dichotomy.  

At 17, or even 18 or 19, I'm seen by my parents as their little girl, and by many women in society as not really an adult, or as some sort of threat or unfair competition even if I have no interest and not the vaguest connection to any guy in their life.  I'm not sure what would make them happy or what they'd find acceptable for me to wear for Halloween, American Girl does not make Halloween costumes to my knowledge anyway.

Why the heck should I be any more concerned about girls being “sexualized” than guys being desensitized to violence by random violence in videogames, music videos, or in real life?

Shouldn’t REAL violence be of far, far greater concern than this? And after that, factors like psychological problems, learning disabilities, broken homes, etc?

This “sexualization” is taboo campaign sounds like a way to find a cause that is more popular and less expensive for taxpayers than paying for better services to address the other social concerns I mentioned above. More popular and less likely to increase your taxes, but not likely to be as effective, in my opinion.

Jeanna Christine Hoch
Jeanna Christine Hoch

You know what I miss? The days where someone called me a slut, my boyfriend knocked them out, and we went on our merry way. I bet these assholes here with no consideration for other people using big ugly mouths calling people pussies for getting their feelings hurt are the same assholes that call the police when they get their block knocked off. It should work both ways.

Robert Barnhart
Robert Barnhart

It's not her place to tell anyone what not to say or do. I believe in the first amendment even if it hurts your feelings.

John Reed
John Reed

Agreed. Also people will say what they want. Oh and its supposed to be protected by our constitution so yea... there's that.

LeAnn Nuss Lovato
LeAnn Nuss Lovato

Exactly! What do you think they're trying to do when they wear these skimpy costumes? GET ATTENTION! You don't get to do whatever you can to draw attention to yourself and then bitch when some of it's negative.

Thomas Kurzydlowski
Thomas Kurzydlowski

Oh yes, let me restrain my thoughts and options because it might hurt someone else's feelings. Boo fucking woo someone called me a name, let me look way too much into it and slit my wrists now. Get the fuck over it and grow up.

Jay Fox
Jay Fox

Why would anybody care?

Alyssa Phelps
Alyssa Phelps

I don't wanna stop them, it's their right-- but you can't stop me from calling her a SLUT, that's my right. ;)

Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

When you say slut shaming, aren't you just calling women sluts?

Damien Roberts
Damien Roberts

Where is the line where people (not just women) are held accountable and where they shouldn't be? I'm fine with people expressing their sexuality, but it feels like its gotten to a point where people are able to dress or act however they want and if you're annoyed with that then you're slut shaming.

LeAnn Nuss Lovato
LeAnn Nuss Lovato

Oh, Jesus, give me a fucking break. You want to talk about those who criticize being immature, why don't those getting criticized grow up and stop letting every stupid thing someone says to them upset them? Society as a whole needs to buck up and quit being so thin-skinned. What self-pittying band of pussies we're all becoming.

Jean Hawk
Jean Hawk

Sounds like a bunch of giggling junior high boys who have just seen their first Playboy magazine. GROW UP!! Women can wear what they want.

Robbie Ratay
Robbie Ratay

Who are you to try and take away eye candy? Lol

Evan Cantrell
Evan Cantrell

I completely agree! I love these costumes and the girls wearing them. To hell for anyone who discourages them.

Jessica Ward
Jessica Ward

I am on the fence about this. But I can say women look better as sluts than men do. I would much rather look at a women in a skimpy outfit than majority of males. Keep up the good work, ladies!

Michelle Vessel
Michelle Vessel

I grow weary of Bree's facile Jezebel for Dummies shtick.

Mario Parker
Mario Parker

You can't be serious...*Goes out in a g-string* "Stop looking at me"

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@Kelly Watts ... well, people like the the writer and cosmetic surgeons.  

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