And the Most Sexist Halloween Costume Award Goes to….
by Carrie Baker @ The Ms. Magazine Blog
It’s that time of year again—Halloween!–when corporate America encourages girls and women to celebrate our inner sluts.
I took my 11-year-old son to a newly opened “Halloween City” in the small southern town where I live. After wading through all the wonderfully gory zombies, steam- spewing skeletons and catapulting ghouls, we came to the costumes.
From past experience, I generally know what to expect, but even I was surprised at what I saw. All along the back wall in Halloween City were pictures of hundreds of costumes for females displayed under a sign that read “Hot! Hot! Hot!”
I’m amazed at the ability of Halloween marketers to turn any kind of cartoon character, profession or sport into a sexpot costume for women and girls. The sexed-up witch, nurse or cheerleader is predictable, but here’s what I also found:
Police officers: “Officer Naughty,” “Your Busted,” “Handcuff Hottie,” “Dirty Cop” and “Sexy Border Control Costume.”
Fire fighters: “Fire Fox” and “Smokin’ Firewoman.”
Sports: “Tackle Me,” “Boxer Babe” and “Fastball Fox.”
Fairytale characters: “Seductive Snow White” and “Racy Red Riding Hood,” and “Dorothy Diva” (as in the Wizard of Oz).
Pirates: “Pirates Treasure” (yes, she IS the treasure), “Pirate Wench” and “Sex Swash Buckler” for adults, and “Pirate Cutie” for girls, complete with very short, off-the-shoulder dress, hip wrap, fishnet tights and fishnet elbow-length gloves.
Students: To fulfill men’s sexual harassment fantasies, there’s “Teacher’s Pet Sexy.”
At this small-town Georgia store, hypersexualized costumes far outnumbered other costumes for women (by 10 to 1, easily). And there were no sexualized costumes for men, except for pervert costumes like “Banana Flasher” and “Dr. Howie Feltersnatch, M.D. Gynecologist.”
For little girls, there was “Indian Babe” and “Geisha” (sexualizing and exoticizing the non-white other), while for the boys you had the “MacDaddy” pimp costume, complete with hundred-dollar bills.
Many of these costumes come from Dreamgirls. Their Dreamgirl Junior page includes “Robyn da Hood,” complete with corset, lace-up gauntlets and money bag.
After all this, I finally came upon the costume that clearly wins the Most Sexist Award: “Anita Waxin.’” Designed to be worn by men, it includes a long blond wig, artificial breasts, pale flesh-colored stockings and a red lifeguard bathing suit with black hair protruding out of both sides of the crotch. All for $30–a steal!
The costume’s contempt for the female body is palpable. It oozes scorn for women who don’t wax and says that natural women are disgusting and a joke. Can you imagine a world in which comparable scorn for the male body existed to the degree that it ended up in Halloween costumes?
In sum, the costumes I saw at Halloween City are all about women as objects of men’s sexual pleasure, abuse or scorn.
How about you? What Halloween costume have you seen this year that should get the award for most sexist?
Reposted with permission from the Ms. Magazine Blog.
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Posted on October 31, 2011, in gender, objectification, psychology, sexism, women and tagged costumes, gender, Halloween, objectification, popular culture, psychology, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.
I love Halloween and my favorite part has always been the costumes- getting to be creative and getting to be whatever I want to be for one day (or more often as I celebrate all month).
I remember it always being cold on Halloween, so, my costumes were always suited to that weather (still consider the warmth factor even now). I remember wanting to be a Genie one year and my Mom reminding me that I might be cold in a costume like that, so, I chose something else.
I still dress up for Halloween and I love to be creative. My costumes are usually full coverage and not much skin shows, however, that’s just the nature of my costumes. I don’t necessarily do that intentionally. I put a lot of work into my costumes and want them to be unique, hand-made, and creative. Of course, my costumes aren’t usually PG because of the special effects (blood, wounds, etc.), however, I dress for *me* and wear what *I* really want to wear and be what I really want to be. Of course, I like it if others like what I wear, however, what matters most is whether I like it.
People often enjoy my costumes because they’re so creative and might say “I bet you’d win a costume contest with that,” however, they forget that creativity doesn’t count for much in a costume contest. I actually dislike most costume contests because it’s the costume that shows the most skin that usually wins. I actually won second place one year and was shocked by that because I was dressed as Bride of Frankenstein (used my actual waist-length hair and not a wig) and was fully covered from the neck down (even had on gloves!)- 3rd place was a wet t-shirt contest contestant and 1st place was a bloody nurse in a two-piece costume. I have no idea how I ended up with 2nd place in that line-up!
Of note, I don’t think “sexy” is applicable only to costumes that show the most skin as some people thought my “Bride of Frankenstein” costume was “sexy” or they find that particular character “sexy.” I find that character to be classic horror and glamourous, so, it really is “eye of the beholder” is some cases. I think the article mainly touches on an image of a one-sided view of what’s “sexy” and doesn’t allow for other less commercialized expressions of “sexiness.” Of course, “sexy” was not what I was going for with my Bride of Frankenstein costume. Not really sure what else to say about that.
Anyway, I had a discussion about clothing choices among children (mainly young females) with someone recently and I think there’s a fine line between “slut-shaming,” which I don’t think is okay, and sexualizing almost everything most of the time when it comes to this particular topic.
My discussion involved whether a parent needs to let a pre-pubescent female wear whatever they want to wear, even if that happens to be a really short skirt and high heels. My friend expressed the importance of allowing a child to pick out their own clothes and not feel ashamed about their body (or developing sexuality).
Of course, I think the argument in this article is that a young female may not feel they have other options, or, that males don’t have the same “sexy” options as females.
Also, as someone who is “not very sexual,” whenever I do show skin or want to show skin, it’s because I like the way my body looks, not because I want people to desire sex with me or become sexually aroused in response to looking at me, or because I want to attract a sexual partner. I simply want to look and feel beautiful and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. If we really wanted to, we could take this discussion in a completely different direction and talk about nudity and “nudist colonies” and cultures where nudity is pretty commonplace.
Thanks to anyone who read all of this!
Happy (early) Halloween!
And thank you. Happy Halloween to you!
In halloween of 2012 I was hanging out with my best friend and we took our siblings out for trick-o-treating in the Campbell,Ca area. There I saw a white teenage boy dressed as an arab man with his friend dressed in a burqa and had a rope tied around his neck. The guy dressed as an Arab man walked around holding the rope as a leash and giving orders. I was shocked and really wondered what their motive (besides halloween) could be. The costume seemed to have a lot of different meanings, one was the lack of women rights in the “Muslim” countries. Would they have switched the roles if Men in the Middle East didn’t have rights?
This article does not surprise me one bit. In fact, I have seen this in my own experiences. In high school a lot of my schoolmates would dress in these provocative costumes, including: the sexy nurse, fire fighter, cop, etc. Hardly ever do I see the unique and creative costumes these days, mostly it’s only the store bought “sexy costumes.” It seems that as the years pass halloween is no longer supposed to be scary, and people no longer try as hard to find a unique scary costume. Rather, halloween is the one day it is “ok” to dress provocatively. Many students at my high school during my senior year were sent home to change because of these store bought costumes. Other’s don’t appreciate originality in costumes these days, as much as they appreciate appearance while wearing the costume. Its pretty crazy to think that these stores would sell costumes that seem so degrading, but as long as people buy them they will continue to sell them.
I remember when I was little and dressing up for Halloween was all about picking out your favorite character from a movie or TV show, sometimes a toy and then based on the amount of money you wanted to spend on the costume you would buy one that would look more and more like the real character. Now when you go into the store it is hard to find anything that you would even wear to school or how are these children going to wear these costumes without breaking their schools dress code? I think by making all the costumes “sexy” it is taking the fun and joy out of being a child and being able to run around from house to house collecting candy. I would worry sick if I had a daughter and she wanted to wear one of these costumes to go trick-or-treating because there are bad people out there, who I’m sure would love to see all these little girls in these “sexy” costumes.
Halloween is a time of year for candy, and potential creativity for costumes. Some costumes worn by females definitely objectify their own gender, and although those do indeed attract my attention, costumes that are well thought out and creative equally ensnare my mind. Young girls often try to make their own appearances more “adult” like by wearing heels, putting on makeup, and in different clothing. Although it is not uncommon for women to dress in clothing that may be a bit revealing, Halloween serves as a day in which women sort of excuse themselves to dressing somewhat inappropriately without being judged. The fact of the matter is, they are still being judged, because assumptions are made on a daily basis by everyone. It is mostly women’s costumes that are gawked and stared at, which most likely would be commented on. Females learn early on in their lives that being beautiful is of great significance, so dressing up in a costume which attracts much of men’s attention would greatly incite them to do so. It sort of is a beauty pageant in disguise for these women on Halloween day; the more attention they gather, they more they feel beautiful, which in turn causes them to feel good about themselves. This is only my opinion. I wonder what the motives are for the women who dress “slutty.” Do they dress to please the opposite sex, or are do they genuinely enjoy the costumes that they are dressed in, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive. “In sum, the costumes I saw at Halloween City are all about women as objects of men’s sexual pleasure, abuse or scorn.” With this quote being said, what’s wrong with satisfying the opposite sex, and shouldn’t the female gender be accused of all of this “slutty” dressing going on, and now the holiday Halloween? The best costumes that attract me are creative or have a positive meaning.
I surveyed my students on why they enjoy dressing sexy. Results will be forthcoming.
I believe that the fun of Halloween lies in the beauty of the costumes. The definition of beauty is subjective, meaning it varies from individual to individual. That said I would disagree with the author of this article that Halloween costumes are all about women as objects of men’s sexual pleasure, abuse or scorn. The costumes to me look good and brings out the fun in Halloween. It’s really nothing far from the usual, in summer some women wear sexy stuff ,and moreover no one is obliged to wear or buy them. It’s quite obvious that some costumes may cause sexual images in the mind of the beholder, but again this varies from person to person,and i’t’s just a style of dressing at Halloween for those who like that style. I liked the lady bird costume best this year, for it brings out the beauty of a woman to me.
True that its not much different than what women wear on the beach but on the beach men are dressed in swimsuits, too. And women’s suits are cut to make the body look more sexual. Why no men in Speedos?
All of this communicates that women are more “sex objecty” than men.
And some women do feel pressured more than feeling that they have a choice.
The one dimensional aspect limits views of women more to the one dimensional, and women can’t enjoy men’s bodies in a sexual way as much. I’d like to see more balance.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with dressing slutty for halloween, I mean it’s just a costume and if girls want to dress up as a slutty police officer, nurse, or whatever then I think that’s totally fine. As long as they aren’t little kids of course. I was at a halloween party and some girls just show up in lingerie and cat ears, which is a little pathetic and I like to be a little more creative in my costumes. Halloween has become an excuse for girls to dress slutty because it’s the one day a year you get to be something you’re not, so some girls take advantage of that. When we are kids, Halloween is all about getting scared, scaring other people, and candy. From our teenage years and up, these interests change into just another excuse to party and drink, but in costumes. As we get older, eventually we stop caring about it all together and hide in our houses with the lights off and no decorations to keep kids from trick or treating at our house. At least that’s where my parents are heading. Basically, costumes look dumb, and girls don’t want to look dumb. Girls want to look hot, especially when drinking is involved.
It’s interesting that you wrote on this topic because I was just as shocked when I went costume shopping with my little cousins. They asked me to tag along so we could all pick out our costumes together. And I had a mindset of, “Well this is Halloween, there are probably tons of funny things for me to pick out at the store.” I was wrong. The women’s section almost screamed out “HEY! Pick me to wear as your slutty costume for this year’s Halloween!” There was literally nothing I could choose from within these given packages, where I could be decently presentable in front of my 7 and 5 year old cousins. Nor was I interested in any. I felt myself become more and more offended as I looked through all the options. To me, the entire section for women’s Halloween costumes won most sexist.
I ended up purchasing a big afro and some John Lennon glasses, dressing up as a hippie.
I like this topic. Every year me and my friends try and think of the sexiest halloween costumes. We’ve come up with ” sexy mechanic “, ” cinderalla after 12 “, and ” hot maid ” This year i was a vampire. and my costume was literally a corset, shorts and stilletoes. Its funny because one of my older brothers said half the girls he knew just put on lingere and said they were vampires. I dont really think that we use halloween as an exscuse to be slutty because if you go to the clubs in the city, there are plenty of half nakes girls wears shirts as dresses and head bands as skirts. Or if you go to raves, the go go dancers wear breas, furry boots and thongs on stage shaking their but infront of hundreds of people. Halloween is just an exscuse to dress up in a costume, not to be slutty.
It is kind of funny how most of the sexual costumes are fairy tale princesses and cartoons that we grew up too as children. I saw a few cinderellas, jasmines, miney mouses and what not. As for the guys, i saw a ” Dick in the box ” duo and a big trojan box. It seemed that the girls were dressed to turn guys on and they guys were just dressed as i guess you could say ” dicks “. Clearly being a big trojan box is just saying ” ya im gonna have sex with someone tonight, im a box of condoms! “
Halloween use to be a simple holiday where kids would dress up and go trick or treating. Just like what the article said, Halloween is really a time where “corporate America encourages girls and women to celebrate our inner sluts.” Halloween stores make the simplest looking outfits and still charge consumers $30, $40, $50 per costume. I believe that Halloween is another opportunity for corrupted businesses to mediate idealized physical beauty for the common citizens (p. 95) Women are constantly having to live up to certain expectations- cultural constructs that shape our every identity from being sex objects, homemakers, housewives, and subordinate to men. Living in a patriarchal society, “the idea of woman as sex object focuses on male sexual gratification” (p. 28). Women dress provocatively during Halloween because they think that it’s the one day that women won’t be judged for dressing slutty. I believe that corporations make such revealing costumes because they are attractive and pleasing for the male vision. Halloween stopped being a day where kids are dressing up for fun and going trick or treating. It’s a day where young adults dress as provocatively as possible to the big party being thrown at their friends house. Halloween is a day where consumers are brainwashed into buying costumes that are overpriced and under-made. It’s a day where a majority of women are dressing as if they were sexual objects and living up to the expectations of our society.
Talking about these costumes and the ones you could find at this store for little boys and girls shows how society imposes beliefs on the children since young of the way men are controlling women, as pimps, and women are sexualizing themselves to be what men want. I, as a female, have never dressed up skimpy for Halloween, but this year was different. I told me college roommates what I was going to wear because I envisioned myself being Minnie mouse, but they changed it up because that “wouldn’t be sexy”. It went from a long sleeve black shirt and black leggings, to a mini skirt and they made me put on a double-bra. Might I say that when I looked in the mirror, I felt like I “fit in” to what a college girl would normally look like for Halloween, so I went with it. I went out that night with my friends and I couldn’t help but notice how many guys were looking at my boobs, they would barely look at my face; I honestly did not like the attention because I felt I was demeaning myself and not valuing myself the way I should be, so I went home and decided to not wear that costume the following night. I feel like now-a-days many girls show off their assets to get a guys attention, and again, they end up doing it for a guy. I don’t feel that that is what women should resort too, but if there are costumes in our society encouraging them to be skanky, then not much will change.
I don’t think this is surprising. Since I was a little girl the Halloween costumes for women have gotten “sexier and sexier”, by this I mean more revealing, shorter skirts etc. What does surprise me is that Halloween costume stores have started making the same types of costumes for little girls. So what does this mean? A 6 year old is wearing short shorts and tank tops that barely cover their chest. The little girls are already learning to be sexy and more revealing. What I believe makes it worse is the parents actually buy these costumes for the girls. They start to think that they look good showing off their body and may start dressing this was on a daily basis.
Yes, I get concerned about sexualizing young girls. Both because I worry about preditors, but also feel females should go a decent part of their lives not feeling any pressure to be sexualized. Especially when they’re just too young for that sort of thing.
i think the award goes to all the sexy angels. My girlfriend was an angel for halloween and she was barely wearing anything. You can practically see everything. She looked hot because she was showing off her tattoo on the side of her body. She was also showing off more than just that. Halloween is the one day of the year girls have an excuse to be slutty. All girls want it more than guys do, they just can hide it better. Girls find excuses to give themselves to be slutty. Dressing up in a halloween custom is the only day where a nice girl can be naughty and make guys interested in her because she was looking more sexy than usual. And all guys can be is scary or dead people for halloween, or a stripper. Nothing major but there isnt that much to pick from not like girls do. All in all, no one knows why their is a halloween, its not where theirs parties and you can have a lot of fun with friends, etc. its much more than that. but i guess the definition of Halloween has changed over time.
This blog post was nothing new to women, for years now Halloween has turned from fun night for kids to this sex-filled day. Celebrities join in on the fun too. It seems to me that women try too hard to look “naughty” or “sexy”. I have seen all sorts of children characters turned into these grown up fantasies. It is quite sad because now women feel on this particular day they need to go all out and wear the sluttiest costumes they can find simply for men’s pleasure. Men once again don’t have to worry about looking sexy to catch women’s attention. By women doing this, they are surrendering the equality to men without them even realizing it.
See? This is why I am not a fan of our culture’s version of celebrating the holidays.
In my life, I have absolutely dressed up in a sexy costume. And it was so fun! But now that I have children (and it’s not due to body issues, I didn’t birth them– why do I feel it necessary to clarify *sigh*), I feel like that’s not entirely the role model I want to be.
Ah, I’ve become a feminist in my old age.
Perhaps it’s not the peer pressure of men placed upon women to dress sexy on Halloween, but rather other women who place the emphasis on dressing sexy is the catalyst. I think the definition of sexy is somewhat more defined for women than men, too.
This not only pertains to Halloween, but in every day life. For example, women are willing to pay $800 for a pair of Christian Loubouton shoes with a 5″ heel (which I can only imagine are not the most comfortable shoes). Some would say this is a little too sexy, but corporate America doesn’t seem to have an issue with the heel height, as long as they’re manufactured by an “appropriate” designer.
Men, on the other hand, are told they look “sharp” or “handsome” when dressing for an occasion. I have not often heard the term sexy used to describe a man, unless he happens to be on the cover of a magazine.
Because there is a lack of a universal definition of a sexy man, or perhaps there is a lack of options that a man can just wear to make him sexy, may point to the reason why we see an inflated number of sexy Halloween costumes targeting women.
I believe there are some stereotypes that go along with men’s costumes, too. Using the same demographic (19-30), men typically use more creativity and humor, primarily because they have to. A man can’t just go to the store and pick-up a sexy costume and call it a day; they appeal to their female counterparts by using humor and creativity. As some men will use these measures to help them stand out, others just don’t care. I, for one, didn’t really care about humor or creativity; I think I spent every Halloween in my 20’s as a prisoner by sporting an orange jumpsuit with a stenciled number on the back.
Sure, the pressure may not be from men primarily, but from other women plus societal notions of what’s valued. Want to be valued? Look like something that is.
One problem women have is that men aren’t seen as being as sexy as them. So it’s lopsided. Men have controlled media images and continually portary what they find sexy (heterosexist sexy). If women had controlled media/images all these years, maybe men would be portrayed as sexier.
But now men and women both see women and men through the eyes of men.
Women Seeing Women as Sexier than Men
Women Learn the Breast Fetish, Too
Men, Women React to Male/Female Nudity
i really do think that the holloween costumes that are out nowadays are rediculous, honestly. i use to work at party city, and almost all of the costumes for both women and girls are pretty revealing and i think quite inappropiate. i even witnessed some girls finding not so revealing costumes that they liked, and it being shot down bye ther own mother’s, telling them “no, honey, thats not hot, thats ugly, pick something else.” like, really? are you serious? lets your daughter wear whatever she wants, she doesnt have to look like a slut. the most “sexiest” costume that ive resently seen, is probably the “naughty nun” a costume that was on display at partycity when i worked there. it was rediculous, like nuns are the most reserved and conservative people i can think of and your going to disrespect them like that? come on, thats not right to me.
This isn’t surprising at all. When I walked into to Spirit halloween store and went to the adult section, there were many more costumes of the sexy woman nature type than just a costume or even for men. The ratio is very shocking the majority of the store even is dedicated to the sexy look every girl is supposed to be on halloween. I don’t think it’s bad that women want to be sexy once a year on halloween but the way it is personified and how much it objectifies women is just ridiculous. I would love to see a man walk around, in heels, half naked, on a cold halloween night. I don’t think they would have very much. And why do most women want to dress sexy, well for the most part its to get the male attention yet they go and just ridicule it by making costumes like the one described. Then there also the boyfriends of some girls who get upset when she wants to dress sexy on halloween but all she is doing it for is to fulfill the fantasy he has and wants. Men can be very condratictory sometimes. Men say women don’t know what they want, well it doesn’t seem like they are the all knowing magi’s either. Decide on something men. Sluts or no sluts?
I have always thought of halloween to be a holiday where women can be super sexy without the care of the dirty looks or un-approving thoughts. I do not mind this and im not sure if it is because i am a man or because i believe strongly in freedom for all. I also work at a halloween costume store and i stocked plenty of costumes suitable for children and teens that did not suggest a more sexy image. I believe it is all in how you interpret what is on the shelves. I also feel if you do not approve of something, ask for the department where the “approving” costumes are. Do not get upset and angry with things you will not change. There are plenty of ladies who indulge in the more sexier costumes for halloween. Parties and club events are for adults over the age of 21 and that is where most of these costumes will be seen. Halloween is just another day for the world to have fun, kids and adults. Lets keep it that way, and stop trying to pass judgement all the time.
It is funny this topic is brought up because my brother recently mentioned it to me. He came home from school the Friday before Halloween weekend and was appalled by how many ways you can sex-up a costume. He came home and was ranting about, “Did you know there’s a sexy everything!? How can you make Batman sexy! There’s even a sexy Sponge-Bob!” This year for Halloween I was surrounded by both younger kids (I took my brothers and cousins out for trick-or-treating) and adults (Halloween parties). Thank goodness, my cousins did not wear any “sexy” costumes for children (they are only 8!) and I don’t think their parents would allow it but I don’t want them to think that to look good, they have to dress sexy. When I was in elementary school, my mom bought me a really long Pumpkin costume (not sexy at all), but my cousins friend (8yo?) was in this peacock tube top very short tutu. All my friends were wearing either 2 piece costumes (looked more like lingerie) or a really short costume. I am not against sexy costumes but I am against the fact that it is implanted in social norm that short, small, barely-there clothes are the only ways to be sexy. And of course, the famous Mean Girls quote, “In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
I hear what everyone, including the article is saying. However, I am the woman who sees Halloween as a day that I can dress up and feel sexy. I get a lot of grief from those around me for this, but no one ever said that Halloween is a child’s holiday! I dress sexy but appropriate-more is less sometimes and leaving some things to the imagination are a must. As to the Halloween store’s that advertise costumes to young girls that are sexy; this is wrong! I am a grown woman and can choose my costumes appropriately. I do not feel that children or young teens can do the same. There should be a “children’s section” that is far away from “sexy” and “grown up” costumes. This will help keep the areas clear from each other. But in retrospect, girls can go into any store and see clothing that is inappropriate; this is where parenting comes in handy. We can not prevent everything, but if there needs to be a change-make yourself heard, and remember what you expose your child to is your choice.
I don’t think there’s a problem so much with the existence of sexy costumes. Rather, that the ratio is 10:1, and that men are decidedly not sexy. Otherwise, agree w/you.
This year I noticed that a lot of girl kid costumes were very short, I know when I was a princess we had a full dress, almost a true reproduction. This year I saw a Hula Girl which I felt it look like it was more for an adult, and a poodle dress that came to far above the knee. It’s very sad that society allowing little girls to be training that this is what sexy. This year the only adult costume I saw that was not “sexifed” was two different goddess costumes and a Queen of Nile costume, but for me most sexist Halloween costume would be between Sexy Women’s Play Nicely Referee Costume or the Women’s Sexy Bolly Ho Bollywood Costume.
This is hardly a surprise. People use anything and everything to sell, and nothing sells better than sex, be it a car, morning cereals or a Halloween costume.
The Anita Waxin is indeed over the board – it’s impressively inane and yet worrisome in what it conveys by being so grotesque: women who do not get their Brazilian are unattractive and highly undesirable. Thing is: as nature has it, females without pubic hair are girls before puberty. So – – – this thick hint(?) in favor of waxing – which aligns nicely with all those ads for waxing – pretty much conditions men to aim their desire and fantasies at women without any hair that implies sexual maturity. Um… that kinda paves a path that verges on pedophilia, doesn’t it?
I haven’t seen any exceptionally sexist Halloween costumes this year (in fact, I have seen very few as of now), except for a few of the usual kitty or bunny-eared ones that seems quite naïve in comparison with the images you have here.
And yet, I find myself wondering how many women ARE going to wear these sexist costumes in order to please their partner, to attract potential partners or “just because it makes me look cute”. A more disconcerting thought: how many mothers are going to dress their little girls as “Indian Babe” and “Geisha”? Quite a few, I dare guess. Otherwise, those costumes would probably not be at the store or online. Similarly to violence in the media and aggression, can we really put all the blame of those who come up with these ideas, design and sell them? What about all the women who become enablers to such sexism by buying into this?
Yes, sex sells. Though usually pleasurably for men (look at this semi-nude woman) and painfully for women (I feel bad about myself: I don’t look like that). Maybe not so much that dichotomy w/Halloween costumes (except for women who’d like to release their inner slut but feel they can’t because their bodies don’t fit the narrow sex object requirements?)
And yes, women do collude in the whole thing. But largely unconsciously. They’re bombarded w/these sexy images, learn that’s how they’re supposed to be. It seems natural and normal. A feminist friend of mine said, “well, it’s just biology.” Actually it’s not. See the “related posts” on this piece. But believing it, they repeat the cycle. Also see these posts:
Women Seeing Women as Sexier than Men
Men Aren’t Hard Wired To Find Breasts Attractive
Women Learn the Breast Fetish, Too
Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?
Anything Good About Being A Sex Object?
Men: Erotic Objects of Women’s Gaze
Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze
I don’t have a problem with women being sexy.
I do have a problem with a one-dimensional focus on it/lopsided focus (9/10 costumes sexualize). Narrow notions of what’s sexy. And the extent to which women are EXPECTED to sexualize themselves. Also dislike the extent to which women are supposed to be sexy but men aren’t. And then, sexualizing young girls (“For little girls, there was ‘Indian Babe’ and ‘Geisha.’”)