by Geneva Gleason
Every year, children, teens and adults alike dress up for the holiday when anyone can be anyone or anything. We get free candy, our teachers give us pumpkin stickers and we even have a parade in downtown Westfield. However, Halloween has become increasingly negative for the female adolescent population thanks to a culture of slut-shaming and a costume production industry that endorses it.
According to the linguistics journal, American Speech, slut-shaming is “publicly deriding women who engage in sexual activity the speaker considers taboo, usually to modify behavior by inducing guilt or to assign blame.”
On Halloween, slut-shaming happens when girls wear provocative costumes. Young men and women alike shame young women for wearing costumes found in the adult section of the party store; more significantly, we shame young women for wearing costumes that reveal their bodies. However, the body parts these costumes reveal are normal.
Everyone already knows that girls have breasts.
This shame is incredibly hypocritical because costume manufacturers don’t give teen girls a whole lot of options. With the exception of the prisoner, nun and chef costume selections on partycity.com, all of the women’s choices in the couples costume section are either skin-tight bodysuits or short dresses.
If we are so disturbed by the normal female body parts we see on Halloween, why are we still selling costumes that reveal those body parts? Besides, if a girl wants to wear an exposing costume, that’s her decision. And good for her. Wearing a more revealing costume means a girl is confident and comfortable with her body.
If we shame someone for wearing a skimpy costume, we are essentially shaming her for liking her body. Especially with the teen girl population, body positivity is something society should be encouraging.
As a culture, we discourage girls from wearing revealing costumes and call it morality. But what’s really occurring is slut-shaming.
If the costumes are distracting to young men, we should teach young men to stop oversexualizing the normal female body. Young women should be able to wear what they want on Halloween and feel confident and comfortable, free from the threat of judgment.
This is not an issue of morality; it’s an issue of choice.