11/2/09

Halloween Geek Style and Sexy Costumes Gone Too Far?

If you'll recall, one of my sisters is quite crafty when it comes to the holidays. She did some fabulously unconventional Valentine's Day cookies last year. When she told me she did a Star Trek pumpkin this year, I thought, "Oh cool, I wonder which symbol she chose." But oh no...she did a ship flying by a planet.





Also, Jake and I finally found some halfway decent costumes. But so help me, next year we will be Troi and Riker!

Also, I have to just make a commentary on costumes for women that I'm sure echoes a million others right now, but good grief, trying to find a non-trashy costume nowadays takes a ridiculous amount of effort. Thank goodness for Tina Fey, who made this spot-on commentary in her script for, "Mean Girls".

To quote the film, "Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."

Oh, but we can.

If you'll notice, the only Leia costume I could find that wasn't embarrassingly trashy-looking still had two gigantic slits up the side. Which is not only obnoxious, but completely innacurate to the costume of the film. Annoying. So I had to wear bike shorts and white tights underneath.

And I've just been wondering ever since, what equals sexy to the costume industry, the American public, and women everywhere? What are they peddling and why are so many women buying? The short list is...

1.) Super short skirts.
2.) Lots o' cleavage.
3.) Sterotypes. (Beer wench, Sexy Nurse, other characters frequently mentioned in male fanstasies.)
4.) Hyper-sexualized versions of pre-existing characters. I even saw plenty of trashy versions of Disney princesses this year.

And I HATE thinking that I'm just being reverse judegmental, so let me clarify. I am not anti-sexy. Sexy is great. So is attractive, beautiful, feminine, mysterious, and on and on. But come on, there's only one reason why a woman would put on a Snow White costume that looks like it should be appearing in a pornographic movie. To get attention, and to get a specific kind of attention from a specific audience. Men.

Jake summed it up well when I asked his opinion on why these costumes are so prevalent now. He said that he thinks men (not him per say, remember, this is his expert opinion) see those costumes and think, "easy". I think women think they're being sexy, but I think if you're looking through the man goggles, the real message is, "easy access". Easy to look at, nothing in the way, no effort required. No need to talk to the girl, you can just look across the room and take in the visual buffet. Kind of creepy, no? I'm recalling a phrase, "pearls to swine".

I saw a little girl in a cart at the Wal-Mart while I was hunting for a Star Wars costume that wouldn't bare my midriff, and one that wasn't the infamous slave bikini. She was looking at the pictures of the Disney Princess costumes for adult women, and I wondered what exactly was going on in her mind right then? Was she doing that instant analogy thing that kids so often do? "Okay, if the Snow White I know and love is dressed like she is in the movie, and that's a costume for grown up women, that's what it means to be a grown up. That's what it means to be pretty."

She probably wasn't thinking that. She was probably thinking, "Candy, candy, candy, candy..."

So what's my point? I don't know. I guess partially it's that I'm a prude. Partially that I wonder what the popular opinion of "sexy" is and why. When did this fad take off? Are the "adult" stores losing business to Wal-Mart on Halloween? When did I get so old?

Hypothetical of the day: What if we lived in a world where the more clothing a woman had on, the sexier she was, because it represented more of a challenge somehow, or a mark of intelligence and taste? The wishful thinking of a feminist I suppose.

I love the idea that Halloween is the one night of the year when we can all shake off our inhibitions and be what we really want to be, whether that's a character from a film, a book, someone from history, or what we want to be when we grow up. I also know that it can be helpful, figuring out what we dream about, what we think is attractive and why. That process can be a key component to figuring out what makes us tick and what will make us happy. So I'm not at all insinuating that we shouldn't notice someone attractive or consider when we feel most attractive.

My real question is, why is that look the majority of what you see on Halloween from women, and what does that say about what women want to be now?

(You should probably read these sentences in an increasingly fevered pitch of anxiety.) Have we lost our ability to connect with what WE, as women, think is sexy? Has society just completely succumbed to the idea that we should be what the majority of people think is attractive? Where's the creativity in Halloween today? Are popular Halloween costumes a scary litmus test on American sexual culture?

Probably not. Trust me, I know that I overanalyze and am often accused of old-ladyness. I know this to be true. Halloween is probably just a time to dress in a way that you otherwise can't the rest of the year, to wear a mask, to put on the costume of the modern equivalent to the Wild West Saloon Girl. A time to work it, a time to own it, a time for fun.

But I, for one, have certainly had my fill of beer wenches and sexy nurses for the year. How about you?

4 comments:

Costumes said...

Great post, I love the Star Wars costumes.

Borscht said...

You guys looked awesome! Good times.

Halloween Costumes said...

WOW! That pumpkin is great! I wish I could do stuff like that. I love your costumes! You guys look great!

On the sexy costumes. I think it is fine. It is one night that you get to be something you are not. Everyday of your life you have to be proper and stand for what you believe in. This is the one night that you can let your hair down and throw caution to the wind without someone judging you. It is always nice to have people think your hot. One day everyone gets old and then at that time they will wish you could slip into a beer girl costume and people still want to see them in it! It's just a day for fun.

PS. I'm not saying the mom should go trick or treating with the kids like this.

Olivia said...

Great post, I am also a big fan of Star Wars Costume and I have a huge collection of star wars costume.Also we had a play in our college and my collection was useful and appreciated by my friends and teachers. Vow! you guys look overwhelming in those costumes.