Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween: Candy, Costumes, and Raging Sexism

It's almost Halloween, and I'm having mixed feelings again. I love Halloween-- the decorations, the dressing up, the events, the candy, the pumpkin carving, yadda yadda yadda.

But I loathe-- and I mean loathe-- the bullshit sexism that goes along with it. Sexism is often institutionalized in today's world, but for Halloween it is just flagrantly twirling its nipple tassels at us.

Really? A sexy skunk?
This is Alice in Wonderland.
And while I could go on and on and on and on and on about the expectation of women dressing like hookers on this hallowed holiday, turning helpless animals and storybook characters into sex-crazed, lingerie-wearing, fetish-enabling, pedophilia/zoophilia-inflicted misogynist perv-tantalizing creatures, what I'm going to focus on is the perpetuation of gender stereotypes in toddler costumes. Sound awesomely interesting? Read on!

Now, Norah changed her mind every day for the last two months about the costume she'd have for Halloween. Princess, fairy, shark, Big Bad Wolf, butterfly... every day it was something new. So when she said she wanted to be a dog three days in a row, we figured it was semi-safe to commit and procure a costume. Aunt Sarah, Norah, and I looked online and Norah decided Scooby Do was the winner. Great. I personally love Scooby and those gang of meddling kids.

But did you know that Scooby is in the boy section of the costume places? So are dinosaurs, superheroes, humorous costumes, police and firefighter costumes, and all spooky costumes. Guess what's in the girl category? Never mind. I'll show you.


TV/Movie (Includes Yo Gabba, video game characters, characters from Cars and Thomas the Train, Scooby, Spongebob, Toy Story costumes, etc.)

Superheroes (Includes Superman, Green Lantern, etc.)

Sports (Includes football players, baseball, etc.)

Dinosaur (Duh)

Classic (Includes pirates, ninjas, monsters, devils, etc.)

Career (cops, firefighters, astronauts, military, cowboys, etc.)

Animal (Dogs, assorted zoo creatures, etc.)


TV/Movie (Princesses, Strawberry Shortcake, Lalaloopsy (whatever the hell that is), Minnie Mouse, storybook characters, Dora, etc.)

Bugs (Bees, butterflies, ladybugs)

Classic (Cute witches (not spooky), ballerinas, angels and devils, mermaids, clowns, etc.)

Career (Cheerleader, genie, dancer, referee, etc.)

Disney Princesses (Duh)

Princess, Fairy Costumes (Duh)

Storybook (Alice, Red Riding Hood, cute witches, rag dolls, etc.)

Superheroes (Spidergirl, Supergirl, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, etc.)

Let me point out some obvious stuff.

1. There are no angel costumes for boys; just devils. Because boys should be mischievous and devilish.

2. Girls have no scary costumes. Girls should be pretty.

3. Girls have no funny costumes. Boys are funny. Girls should be pretty.

4. Athletic goals are vastly different. Girls can be cheerleaders, referees, even soccer players, as long as they're cute. Boys are tough and strong and... whatevs.

5. The career aspirations of girls vs. the aspirations of boys are also wildly different. Each-end-of-the-spectrum different.


6. Look at this shit.



If there were a Spidergirl, she wouldn't wear this.


Come on.

7. God forbid a little boy want to be a Care Bear or a unicorn or something. THE SHAME. (This is heavily sarcastic, for the literal.)

Now, I know, I know-- boys can just buy "girl" costumes and vice versa. But the point is, we keep clutching on to these stereotypes and it's stifling us. It's crippling our imagination. It's limiting our vision. And it's even hurting some. It's not just stupid Halloween costumes. It's the message behind them. Girls SHOULD be one way, boys SHOULD be another. If you are "other," you are different. And guess what? Even in 2011, different = bad.

And that sucks.

So, while I love Halloween, I hate it, too. Because on Halloween, gender expectations seem exaggerated. An in-your-face reminder of how we judge and crate people in to what "we" believe they should be. We need to remember that every day kids, teens, and adults face these ridiculous expectations. We see it in bullying, discrimination, and exile. When are we going to just mind our own damn business and let people be who they are meant to be?

No comments:

Post a Comment