October 29, 2014

Scanty Costumes 2

Filed under: Estrogen,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:30 pm

So there’s been a big uproar lately about the types of Halloween costumes available to those of us who happen to be female. Including those who are female and not yet in kindergarten. Not that there hasn’t been plenty of uproar on this topic already. But it’s slightly different now, in that it thankfully isn’t blaming little girls for choosing revealing costumes over a modest ghost or pumpkin in some conscious attempt to be more sexy and adult. In fact, it’s placing blame where it belongs: on the adults limiting the girls to the more revealing options.

One common example is how the police officer costume for boys looks like an actual police uniform, while the one for girls is a ridiculous short skirt with high boots. Same with the firefighter costume and countless others, that the one for boys actually looks like a miniature version of the real thing while the one for girls seems to make it over-the-top feminine to the point of ridiculous.

Thing is, I see an obvious solution to the above, and it’s a solution that interestingly enough is being forgotten due to adherence to gender binary. Just buy the “boys” costume for the girl. I mean, we’re talking prepubescent kids, so there aren’t nearly the body shape differences between the sexes as there will be later. The “boy” costume should fit her just fine. I mean, why is it a “boy” costume anyway (or the skirt one a “girl” costume for that matter)? Says who? The packaging says so and you can’t defy the packaging ever? The packaging will be out of the picture once the costume is being worn, so, tada!, you now just have an adorable little girl dressed like a cop all ready for trick-or-treating! Awww! 😀

The other issue is the cringe-worthy prevalence of sexy Halloween costumes for women, everything from sexy pizza to sexy killer whale to sexy Darth Vader to sexy Olaf the Snowman, and sexy everything in between. The costumes are low-cut on the chest, with a skirt length mere millimeters longer than indecent, and skin-tight and sleeveless. It’s like the goal of the costume is for there to be as little costume as possible! And apparently these things sell, for some reason. And they’re apparently getting to be all that’s available as far as women’s costumes, so we don’t have much choice!

Except we do, if you use a bit of imagination. I’ve never worn a full store-bought costume. I always thought they were too rigid. My costume for the past few years has been a devil. Not some “sexy she-devil” get up. I bought the head band with the horns and a plastic pitchfork. The rest of the costume is just me in a dark red shirt. Horns. Red shirt. Pitchpork.. bada bing, bada boom, devil!

Same with my old witch costume, another one I’ve done for many years throughout my life. I had the black hat and the costume broom and the black cape. And under the cape I just wore all black clothes. Witch! I think one year my aunt put some green crap on my face for more effect, but still, nothing more involved than that. Even if the stores were only offering sexy witch costumes for the under ten, I got around it.

And when I was 12, the age the pearl-clutchers would think I was surely itching to flaunt what I did not yet have, I went the other way entirely and wore a big ass cardboard box. I cut out holes for my head and arms, and wore a cylindrical hat, made of rolled up poster board and covered in aluminum foil. The box was also covered in the foil. I was a geometric figure. That was my costume, and I was damn proud of it. I wore it again when I was 14. Not when I was 13, because my mom hated my awesome creation for some reason (not something she would ever admit to now, nowadays she’d be all “but I loved it, you were so creative” and try to downplay the fact she was embarrassed or some shit) and made me wear some borrowed costume from a coworker of hers. Not 15 either, because at that point she decided I was too old to be trick-or-treating, though probably just didn’t want me to be the geometric figure again.

And in 2003, just after my college graduation, I returned to my college town to join my friends for another Halloween party, and reprised my witch costume. I only had the broom, though, as I didn’t know what happened to the hat or the cape. I wore all black clothes and went hatless and carried the broom. And I found a substitute black cape… my graduation gown. Well, I’d already graduated, so what the hell else was I going to use it for? I tied the sleeves around my neck and it trailed behind me. It looked absurd, but damn it, I rocked it.

But, all of that said, and I want to be clear on this, that doesn’t mean the concerns about the scanty costumes being all that’s available for women and girls aren’t still very valid. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve run into this problem in the past even with regular clothes. And while in both of these situations I’ve managed to make do and not be made to reveal more skin than I was comfortable with (not that that has generally been on my mind with the costumes, particularly in elementary and middle school), I really shouldn’t have had to. Some people prefer more to their costumes than I’ve been satisfied with, while not having the ability to improvise much, and they should be able to just pick something out that isn’t more interested in what they’re not wearing than what they’re wearing. I mean, plenty of people want the skimpy sexy costumes, and that’s totally fine obviously (should I really need to clarify this?), but there’s more. Besides, Halloween is at the end of October, and weather’s getting cold, so even “sexy” concerns aside about the bare skin, you’d just be shivering all night!

Of course, the more I think about it, I can’t help wondering if this “problem” is even real. I mean, concerns about scanty costumes for children have been around forever, but I can’t think of one kid who has come to my house on Halloween night who seemed to be wearing anything at all revealing. So maybe they’re getting around sexist limitations easier than is commonly thought. Or maybe I should head to a party store and see if this dearth of decent costumes for kids is even a thing and not just an invention by those who want to make some social or political point, who are intentionally ignoring the “good” costumes so they can create a moral panic…

Yeah, yeah, I think I can guess the answer to this one. :irked:

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