When girls think of Halloween, what do they think first? Some think of crazy costumes with their friends or significant other. But more often than not, young women always think sexy costumes: sexy nurse, sexy fairy, sexy tree.
We think about whatever we can become that requires the least amount of clothes.
Lindsay Lohan said in Mean Girls, “Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” But is this true? Is this really what we, as college women, resign ourselves to on the spookiest night of the year?
Now, don’t worry, this article isn’t going to explain why society is wrong for allowing girls to shame other girls. We all know that it is wrong, end of story. Instead, this article will explore Halloween from different college girl’s perspectives, the idea of slut-shaming during Halloween.
And yes, I did use the word slut. Some may find that offensive, but to me, slut shaming is offense, so the label should carry the same power as the word. I think it’s pretty obvious that when a girl slut shames another girl, it comes from a place of jealousy, whatever the reason.
But dammit ladies, can’t we try to move past that? So she looks hot? Good for her. As long as she doesn’t rub it in your face or put you down, just feel happy for her.
Sadly, it’s often not even controllable what we think when we see a girl that’s dressed in a provocative or sexy way. University of California, Los Angeles junior Katie Strawn said, “I wish I always thought, ‘You go girl! Own your body!’ But sometimes I still find myself judging them, almost as an instinct, which is sad.”
UCLA sophomore and Fem writer Hanna Maillard said, “I would love to see another girl and have no immediate thoughts about her appearance, but girls are raised in a society where beauty is our currency and when we see someone who we see as objectively more beautiful, it’s triggering. Therefore, when a girl is dressed rather ‘provocatively,’ I honestly feel threatened.”
When I dress provocatively, it is almost always for a party. I associate dressing provocatively with parties. For me, and I would say many other young women, it’s about confidence. You want the compliments you get. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter who it comes from. The clothes give you those looks and the confidence that comes with them.
Is that a bad thing though? Are we just dressing for other people? I feel that I dress to impress others, but mainly to feel the confidence in myself. The better you think you look, the better you tend to feel. And if you feel that way, why shouldn’t other girls too?
Strawn said, “I usually try to find more ‘provocative’ clothing that is also comfy.” Pro tip girls: Those comfy clothes can look just as sexy as the skin-bearing ones.
The main thing is to dress for your comfort level and your confidence. Strawn also said, “I think all girls run into the ‘I think she’s prettier than me’ thought process, but it’s not particularly a competition of ‘who’s the sluttiest’ but instead more of a ‘more power to you if you can rock that.’”
It can hurt when your crush talks to another girl that you feel looks better than you. But that doesn’t mean she is better than you, that your crush likes her better or that she shouldn’t get the attention just because it takes some away from you. Go talk to a friend instead of secretly staring at your crush and waiting for him to notice you again.
You also want to dress to your level of comfort. You don’t need to wear barely anything to get attention. You are enough being your true self. And if it’s not enough for them, then they are definitely not worth any more of your time. “I grew up playing competitive soccer which I think kind of skewed how I viewed and valued femininity. In high school, I was a boy, a surgeon, Hermione Granger and a pumpkin (not sexy pumpkin, a regular round pumpkin),” Maillard said. “Every Halloween I love being ‘the funny one’ in a crowd of several ‘sexy kitten’ costumes and don’t think that will ever change.”
Regardless of what you want to dress up as or how much skin you show, remember that every woman has the freedom to choose their Halloween costume. You shouldn’t judge someone for dressing up sexy just as you shouldn’t judge them for not. You make your own decisions, and they’ll make theirs. Don’t slut shame; support every woman you see.
When you think of women’s attitudes toward other women, also consider its effect on the concept of feminism.
For those who believe feminists hate men and want to skip reading anything about it, let me just remind you that feminism is about gender equality. Maillard said, “Feminism is the belief that all humans are equal and should be treated that way.” Strawn said, “[Feminism is] believing women shouldn’t be told what to do or how to act by society.”
That’s what feminism is: equality. And what’s the first step? Supporting each other while a lot of the other half of the population doesn’t. Maillard said, “Judging other women for their choices of wardrobe, sexual partners or activities, is not productive. Ultimately [it] perpetuates the patriarchy. Feminism is celebrated and effective when women support one another rather than tear each other down.” That’s damn right.
Supporting each other is the only way this will disappear.
Everyone likes to hear a compliment every so often—everyone. So, if you ever think that someone looks great, tell them. Strawn said, “When a girl compliments me, that’s awesome! Girl love!” Maillard said, “Compliments are how we as women fight to overcome the competition against one another instilled in us at an early age.”
So to all the college women who want to dress up sexy for themselves, for their friends, or even to impress some guy this Halloween, I absolutely support you. For the girls that don’t, I support you too. I don’t support any girl shaming another for what they’re wearing—genuine compliments are always the way to go.