21st Century Halloween Pressures for Women- Too Sexy? Or Not Sexy Enough?

By Caio Goncalves

Halloween is rapidly approaching us, which poses a question to young women – How will you dress up? If it is not something sexy, I will judge you. Well, I myself may not judge you, but everyone else at the party likely will.
I distinctly remember how exciting Halloween was for me when I was a young child. If the holiday fell during the week, teachers would encourage all of their students to come to school in costume, and at the end of the day, we would parade around the hallways to offer our own interpretations of our favorite rock stars and superheroes. Now that I am a senior in high school, I get the impression that Halloween has had plastic surgery.  If you ask a girl about her costume, the answer is almost always “sexy blank,” or something similar
In a world where a myriad of feminist movements constantly criticize the  enormous pressure on women to look and present themselves in a certain manner, one would naturally assume that women do not want to look ‘sexy’ on Halloween.  Instead, they might be encouraged – not only by each other, but by men – to take advantage of one day when such pressures are irrelevant.  Comedian Ellen DeGeneres recently joked about  a “sexy pizza,” outfit on her show, and thus alluded to the at the ridiculous extremes of Halloween costumes.

The expectation that women have the ability to forget about societal pressures for one night is far fetched, especially when younger women seek approval from each other and from the opposite sex.  What better way to receive such approval than to show off your body?
I feel sorry for women on Halloween. It appears as if they cannot win – if one is not ‘sexy enough,’ then she is dubbed ‘square’ or too conservative. However, if her costume is too provocative, than she is branded with the modern day scarlet letter and called a slut.  Speaking of which, I recently became cognizant of the term, “slut shaming.” The crude phrase is a criticism of the double standard women have fought against that allow society to praise men who boast about their sexuality, yet punish women who do the same. In essence, slut shaming is when one, for example, tells his or her daughter that “twerking like Miley Cyrus is bad” because it will “make her look like a slut, and ruin her chances of finding a good husband.”  It is ultimately unfair for people to call  women sluts when they seek to conform to the very expectations society sets in the first place.

It is great if a girl wants to show off your body on Halloween, but there should not be a pressure to do so.  Halloween is perhaps the most harmless of holidays, and the standards placed on women must no longer be expected.  Perhaps, men degrade women publicly because they see that so many women do so to other women. Instead of calling a girl in a sexy nurse outfit a slut, tell her that she looks great.  Imagine how much she worked out just to fit into that costume.  I then dare you to take a look at a girl who dresses as a blood-thirsty zombie, and imagine how much effort she put into her scary costume.  Praise her.  When we are kind to one another, even on Halloween, societal pressures should lessen significantly.