Halloween, like many festivals and holidays, has become synonymous with partying. But Halloween in particular sets itself apart due to the fact that the vast majority of participants dress to impress when it comes to their costumes. While there are certainly many reasons people enjoy doing this, it is impossible to ignore the fact that underlying societal pressures exist that push women to dress provocatively. Looking hot is not only cool, but necessary when attending a Halloween party.
Though the trends of popular Halloween costumes vary, the basic concept presented to customers is often the same. For girls, Halloween costumes are usually meant to be seductive. Sexy costumes can be found for characters, public figures or even inanimate objects that are completely unsexualized in popular culture. On Halloween, your outfit and how good you look in that outfit define who you are.
Today is not the only occasion that women feel that they have to look a certain way to feel accomplished. Businesses and advertisers can always find a new reason for women not to be satisfied with their own images. Be it excessive amounts of new body lotions or promoting new gym programs, they send out a strong message that only some lifestyles should be considered successful, and that the rest of us are not good enough. Going on a diet might be an extreme case of pre-Halloween paranoia, but it is just one of many instances where people are held to unrealistic and stressful
Commercials and the media have constantly tried to tell us what is beautiful and attractive, but they are not being realistic, and the pressure we feel from these different mediums is not necessary. Parents dress little girls in Disney princess costumes on Halloween, while grown-up girls dress themselves like movie characters. Take a look at any costume catalogue and it is clear that finding a sexy costume version of any character is far easier than a regular one. It is fine to dress provocatively, but sacrificing one’s health to do so is dangerous and unnecessary. Attempting to match the exact image we see on television screens can be damaging.
Halloween should be a day when people can let loose and feel free to just enjoy themselves. People should not be patronized by mainstream media and told to look a certain way, with hot bodies and Instagram-worthy makeup. Everyone is welcome to dress up as a sexy character or a regular one, but we should not force ourselves to look hot because society tells us we must. Have fun celebrating Halloween, but don’t damage yourself physically or emotionally to do so.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, October 31st print edition. Email Phoebe Kuo at [email protected]