Modern Feminism: Halloween is Not as Simple as it Looks


By Violet Radmacher-Willis, Reporter

Halloween is a holiday people all over the nation enjoy, whether it be for the candy, or costumes. But there is one caveat that puts a damper on it. In order for a halloween costume to be socially acceptable for women 16 and older, it has to be “sexy.”

Take, for example, a young woman who might want to dress up as a nurse for Halloween. Being a nurse is an extremely difficult job that takes hard work and years of schooling. But make it a costume and put it on a woman and it turns from loose, colorful scrubs into a short, dress with a deep v. This teaches girls that women who are smart and successful should be ignored for everything except for the way they look.

Provocative Halloween costumes stem from society’s need to oversexualize women’s bodies. So are women who wear these costumes setting back centuries of feminists’ hard work?

“A big part of women’s liberation is not dressing for other people and not dressing for men,” says sophomore Emily Fox. “But what’s not ok is taking things like cultures. Like a lot of people dress up as Native Americans, taking that, and then not only appropriating that culture, but then sexualizing [it] in a way that objectifies women past their permission.”

These costumes don’t seem to be how women want to portray themselves, but rather how men want women to dress. These costumes are so suggestive that women have very little control over their bodies, unless they just choose not to wear them. There are plenty of cute costume ideas that would be fun and not sexual, but in the current environment, non-sexy costumes seem clunky and not socially acceptable.

“There are definitely costume ideas that I’ve had that I feel like people my age wouldn’t approve of,” Aspen Hansen sophomore commented.

As a result, many women and girls just opt out of dressing up at all so they don’t have to make this choice.

It is not that simple, however. It goes without saying that women should be able to wear whatever they want, and the girls who have been battling school dress codes have been making just that contention.There is an argument to be made that women who wear these costumes are taking control over their body by saying: “I’m wearing this for me and no one can tell me that it is too inappropriate because I get to choose what I get to wear.”

Fox says, “I think dressing up provocatively for Halloween is a choice that people can make on their own, but what I think is degrading about it is when it’s not a personal choice and people expect it.”    

This Halloween, think: Am I dressing up for me or am I dressing up for someone else? Whether you decide to be a sexy vampire, or a robot made out of a refrigerator box, I hope you are doing it for you and no one else.