Some holidays are better than others. Thanksgiving is highly ranked but as a vegetarian it’s always accompanied with anxiety. Christmas is so hyped I don’t even know what it’s about anymore (help a sister out Linus), and the 4th of July is the perfect blend of summer, revelry and blowing shit up. Then there’s the best holiday….
Halloween won my heart early in life, and that’s coming from the biggest arachnophobic you’ll ever meet. While the candy, creepiness, and excitement around the holiday are fun, the best part is getting super creative with dressing up. I love being everything from politicians to ninjas to Fräulein (obvi), and my enthusiasm for the fantasy of it hasn’t changed a bit. But something has been bugging me and personally has made me feel limited from enjoying my fave of fave holidays.
I feel a lot of pressure to be sexy for Halloween.
Every single day there is pressure for all of us to look our best, don’t get me wrong. But there is a very special, excessive, blow the lid off the best look you’ve ever had, kinky sort of air around Halloween. Especially in California.
I’ll never forget my first Halloween here. I walked into what was then Moondoggies and the first outfit I saw was a girl in straight up underwear. Like no joke she got out of the shower, put on underpants, a bra, and called it a day. There wasn’t even a theme, she literally was just a chick in underwear for Halloween.
At the time I was floored, but the shock value has gone down over the years in this perpetually sunny paradise of excessive visual competition. Here, and I imagine other places as well, Halloween has morphed away from the playful whimsical day of pretend and into a parade of mandated lingerie surrounded by snarky criticism and slut shaming.
This atmosphere has driven women into one of two very specific roles:
- Slut: Woman wearing sexually suggestive costume as anything from a ghost to a bag of potatoes. Assumptions made can include insecurity and promiscuity. Shit is talked behind her back while experiencing silent praise her for giving us what we are hungry for – sex appeal and beauty.
- Conservative prude in full costume, donning the day of the dead as a dull dud. Few pay her much mind as she is not participating in her true role of the holiday – slut.
Those are extremes and I present them that way on purpose because both are ridiculous and restrictive. Men alternatively can be sexy or stupid or hilarious, there is a large margin of freedom for our wonderful male counterparts. I’m not mad at them for it – I want that freedom too.
Which leads me ultimately to wonder, why are we SO MEAN to women on Halloween? Am I the only one who sees something wrong with that?
Let’s not forget women are under extreme pressure at all times to look their best, be super hot, and never age – it’s just that the heat is turned on maximum on Halloween. We either pick them apart for being too sexy, or ignore that they exist if they don’t meet the tacit 80% skin / 20% clothing expectation.
People, Halloween is for being whoever the hell you want to be for one day. If you want to be sexy, know it and be it. Wanna be funny? Conservative? A giant banana? Have at it. The beauty of Halloween is to explore fantasy and be someone else for a day. I realize some people can be excessive (read: girl in underwear example), but there are always ridiculous people who don’t know how to properly dress themselves. Move along.
Let’s stop pushing women into such restrictive roles. If you see a sexy girl, realize she’s a human under a lot of pressure and maybe, here’s a looney thought, treat her like a person and avoid the insta-slut accusation. Does she have an active sex life? It’s none of our damn business. Through the same vein if you see a woman who isn’t the very beacon of sexuality, don’t dismiss her as lacking creativity or assume she’s an uptight weirdo. Ask her what her costume is and be a nice person.
Personally, this year I have a pretty rad costume and can’t wait to rock it. There will be people who will call it too sexy and people who will call it too conservative. But the truth is it’s neither – it’s a beautiful costume I put together just for me to represent the muse I felt inspired by. I will feel glamorous, sexy, and deathly creepy.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is the grey space where the joy of Halloween exists. Somewhere between beauty, sex, horror and fear is that interesting area that has drawn our collective attention to this holiday. Let’s get away from being so damn rude to each other, applying so much pressure on each other, and explore the creativity of wonder.
To end on a light note, the video below is a riot. Gotta have fun with some of the cultural garbage right?