It is once again the time of year where we are forced to adorn heinous costumes and down copious amounts of alcohol in celebration of a holiday whose origin and purpose I still don’t quite understand… This year, I have a prospect of an exciting party that I actually want to attend, and given that it falls a week before Halloween, costume is mandatory.
I don’t mind the idea of dressing up every once in a while- in fact the more ridiculous the costume the more fun I will have, (case in point the ‘90’s theme’ party thrown by a friend for her 21st which saw my best friend and I dress as Pearl and Walter, the slightly disgruntled 90 year olds who came to the party in their pyjamas) but undoubtedly my least favourite part of Halloween is actually searching for the costume. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that this year I would be attending any and all Halloween parties in the form as a dinosaur, so the search for the perfect costume began!
It only took about five minutes for me to become completely disheartened with the costume industry. It became upsettingly obvious that if I wanted to purchase a female costume this Halloween it would be something like this:
So, I turned to the male costume section, and the difference was apparent immediately.
First off, these dinosaurs look like actual dinosaurs, as opposed to the weird, mismatched female dinosaurs which you can practically hear screaming ‘kill me’! I wonder if this is because the costume industry assumes that women aren’t smart enough to the tell difference between a dinosaur and a costume that looks like it’s been assembled from the spare pieces of fabric littering the costume production room floor? But that’s an issue for another time… I literally only took the addition ‘female’ into my search bar to change these dinosaur costumes from G to MA, and once again I feel overwhelmed by the idea that a woman’s only worth lies in the length of her skirt.
I suppose this disparity in the costume industry shouldn’t really be new to me. Every year when Halloween comes round I see millions of posts pop up on my newsfeed about the ridiculous ‘sexy’ costumes that are on offer to women. On the flipside, I see many posts about people complaining about how girls dress so provocatively around Halloween. There are two major issues I see here- first of all, if a woman wants to dress provocatively be it on Halloween or otherwise, she has every right to do that without being subject to disgusting criticism. But on another note, there literally are no other choices for costumes. I’m not kidding; I’ve spent many hours looking for a costume designed for women that is made out of more than a handkerchief. Regardless of how we’d like to dress, women are being forced to conform to some morphed social standard that tells us that we are only attractive while dressed provocatively. Why is it that women’s costumes are so sexualised? It’s almost as if society is telling us that unless you’re looking provocative and turning heads than you’re not shit. The implication is that a woman is only as good as her body.
Maybe it’s because I am so insecure with my own body that I find a problem with this, but the idea that a woman’s worth is dependent on how attractive she is incredibly insulting. Now, I want to make it clear right now, I have no problem with women dressing provocatively. If you’ve got it (and you want to) flaunt it! There is absolutely no problem with a woman feeling proud of her body and wanting to show it off. However, the thing I can’t stand is the assumption. The assumption that because you are a woman you will dress provocatively because that’s what society expects of you. I want to be able to wear clothing that represents who I am, and if that means wearing the stupidest, most unflattering costume one night of the year then I should be able to do that without being forced to choose between purchasing my costume in the men’s section or wearing something that will barely cover my arse.