By: Taya Nabuurs
Halloween is one of my favourite holidays, because for one night every year, you have the ability to transform into anyone or anything you want to be; the options are endless.
However, the past few years I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the options that are marketed for women. Walk into any Halloween costume store and you’ll find characters of all sorts, usually with one costume design for males and another for females. Unfortunately, the female options seemed to be a bit more limited.
As you can see from some of my findings at various local Halloween stores, many characters/costumes are unnecessarily feminized. Police uniform costumes for males look somewhat realistic, while police uniform costumes marketed for women are designed as short dresses with startlingly low necklines. I find this a bit odd, seeing as police uniforms for men and women are practically identical (and wearing a skirt for such a job is rather impractical).
The feminization of Halloween costumes is not in itself what I have a problem with; it’s the lack of alternative options. I, for example, am going as the Tin (wo)Man for Halloween as part of a Wizard of Oz group costume, because I thought it would be a fun take on the character. That’s perfectly fine, and you should be free to get creative with your costumes in whatever way you see fit. Being comfortable and confident is what you should aim for, no matter how that looks for you.
My issue is in the lack of other options and the lack of female representation in more gender-neutral, less revealing costumes. I cringe to think of little girls walking through Halloween stores and seeing themselves represented only in the extremely revealing gendered costumes, with no pictures on the costume packaging of females wearing police uniforms that actually resemble the type of police officer they might want to be when they grow up.
This article is not about perpetuating the idea that girl and guy costumes should always look exactly the same. This is not about shaming women who choose to wear costumes that are more revealing than others. This is about a lack of diversity in costumes marketed for females and the ideas that these unfairly gendered costumes are perpetuating. When you take a traditionally male character or career and give it an obnoxious gender dichotomy in which the female role is represented only in hyper-sexualized clothing, you make a joke out of the idea that a female wishes to be represented in this role or position.
For those who are just as frustrated as I am with this lack of fair representation, I propose two alternatives: 1. Homemade costumes provide infinite freedom of design. And 2. Just because a male is pictured on the costume packaging, doesn’t mean you can’t rock it. You do you, girl.