Slutty Halloween costumes: Exploitative or empowering?

‘Tis the season. The leaves are piling on the ground, the temperature is dropping — and soon, on college campuses across the nation, girls and boys alike will be suiting up for Halloween. Some female Halloween costumes, however, may widen eyes and cause noses to crinkle.

Sexy Halloween costumes are flying off the shelves everywhere — the classic “sexy nurse,” “sexy witch,” sexy whatever. (Have you ever noticed that there are very few “sexy” costumes for men? Why are we not funding this?)

Are sexy costumes really such a negative thing? I can definitely say I’ve been guilty of giving girls in tiny leotard-like outfits with bunny tails pinned to their butts dirty looks and thinking “ew.” I’m going to let you in on a little secret — even I, the dirty-look-giver, wish I had the lady-balls to wear all of the tight, tiny dresses and corsets.

Although I have silently judged women in the past for being so audacious, the way I look at them has changed

Image from Yandy.
A few examples of “sexy” Halloween costumes. Image from Yandy.

dramatically. Some would argue women are being exploited because of these sexualized costumes. However, in my experience of digging through racks of Halloween wear, I’ve never once encountered a Halloween Fashion Policeman that shoved a teenie tiny sex-goddess outfit into my arms and stood over my shoulder as I unwillingly bought it. Women choose to wear these outfits.

One episode of “Undercover Boss” showed women who worked at Hooters standing on the corner asking people to come by their restaurant. One woman approached the workers and explained that she refused to give Hooters her business because she believed the waitresses, in their tiny shorts and tight tank tops, were being exploited. One of the waitresses, offended, replied, “I don’t believe I’m being exploited.” She went on to explain that she chose to work there — and that she feels confident in her work uniform.

This opened my eyes. It was amazing to me that these women would allow themselves to be so vulnerable while wearing these practically microscopic outfits. However, that says more about me, the judge, than they, the judged. I’m so shocked by their audacity because I am too self-conscious to ever feel comfortable wearing this tiny clothing in public. This is something women — and men, for that matter — need to take into consideration. Just because a woman is comfortable showing a little (or a lot) of skin doesn’t mean she’s an attention whore, or that she’s looking to hook up with someone. Or maybe it’s just me that believes in this crazy idea that maybe women just want to feel hot for, you know, themselves?

Society tells us that the girl showing a lot of skin is probably a whore. Yet, I can almost guarantee 9 out of 10 times, she’s not. Instead of muttering “slut” under your breath when you see these brave women flaunting what they’ve got, we should be commending them for being confident in themselves. It’s a difficult concept, I know.

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