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Has Halloween just gotten way too “sexy?”

October 25th, 2007     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

I want to admit here and now that Mean Girls is one of my guiltiest pleasures. Whenever I’m taking a sick day or feeling less than myself I love to pop it in my DVD player and commune with the junk food gods. The film was actually loosely based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, and however “fluffy” the film is its actually a pretty hilarious and accurate take on how traumatizing girls can make adolescence for each other. That and Tina Fey…oh, how I love Tina Fey

You may wonder why I bring up my obsession with the film at this moment, given it’s been out of theatres since 2004 and there’s a lot more relevent projects that Lindsay Lohan’s been involved in that could be worthy of a feminist critique. I bring up my Mean Girls fascination because of one scene in particular; the Halloween Party scene. That was the first time on film that I had witnessed a (joking) critique of the fact that (as Lindsey Lohan’s character Cady puts it) “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

Now I wouldn’t put it quite that way, but I have been noticing a trend over the years that Halloween costumes for women are becoming increasingly sexualized, increasingly offensive, and the ages these sexy costumed are marketed to seem to get younger and younger.

Feministing’s got a post today about some of the more disturbing “children’s costumes” being sold online, such as “French Maid Child” and “Major Flirt.” Then there’s the midriff baring “Mega Star Child.” Am I alone in this, or was everyone else dressed as a pumpkin or a clown when they were under the age of eight?

The hypersexualization of children is appalling, but the offensiveness fails to end there; for the adults there’s the “sexy anorexic costume” or the “sexy victim of mental illness.” I’m not trying to be a killjoy, but isn’t this sexualization of almost everything getting to be a bit of an overload? “Sexy Nun,” “Sexy Stewardess,” “Playboy Cheerleaders,” “Sexy Supergirl,” the “Stud Finder“… I mean the list goes on and on. When my dog needs to be dressed up as a “sexy schoolgirl” or a “harem dog” you know things have gone to far.

In Mean Girls Cady shows up at a Halloween party dressed as a blood-splattered, crooked-toothed zombie bride only to find that every girl is clad in her undergarments, vaguely dressed as a feline or rodent of some kind. Because of this she’s a humiliated outcast. The scene definitely gets a laugh, and it’s obvious that the film maker is doing a soft critique of a need for women to utilize the holiday to hypersexualize themselves. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dressing and feeling sexy, but I do think that the Halloween industry has gotten a bit out of control with this pervasive push to sex it up on the big night.

As Halloween approaches and the weekend festivities are nigh, I ask readers, how will you costume yourself to defy this trend?

Here’s my costume plan.

Tags: film reel, in my opinion...

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