The sexualization of women’s Halloween costumes isn’t a new concept, and I’m sure almost all of you are familiar with it. Last year, in the midst of the Ebola outbreak, the “Sexy Ebola Containment Nurse” costume turned some heads, and this year there isn’t a costume in the book that hasn’t been made sexy in some way, shape, or form. On Amazon alone, you can buy a sexy Red Riding Hood costume, be a sexy Cat in the Hat, a sexy bat, even a sexy Edward Scissorhands. This isn’t to say that some costumes in the “sexy” category aren’t problematic, because more than a few definitely are. Certainly, cultural appropriation has become a huge issue where women’s costumes are concerned, but that article has already been written (and it’s fantastic). What doesn’t need to be made problematic, however, is who happens to be wearing the costumes.
Herein lies the importance of being pro-hoe: whose job is it to decide who gets to wear what?
Last time I checked, it was the wearer.
With rape culture becoming increasingly prevalent, not just in America but everywhere, watching your back (and your front, and your left and right) is becoming less of a precaution and more of a necessity. On Halloween especially, at parties or in the darkened streets trick-or-treating, young ladies are going to have to be more alert than usual, watching for potential predators and possible perpetrators. However, as rape culture gains more followers, so does feminist culture. The “my body, my rules” slogan has become a mantra for women all across the globe, and why shouldn’t this apply to how we choose to dress on a holiday? From sexy Ebola nurses to sexy Edward Scissorhands, there is no way to stop the rise of women’s “hoe” costumes. And as the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
This, of course, begs the question: what are the parameters for dressing like a Halloween Hoe? Is there an age limit? A weight limit? A racial standard? The patriarchal society in which we live says “YES” to all three. Realistically, we know better. Common sense is also a key factor here. Toddlers aren’t going to go out trick-or-treating with their parents dressed as Sexy Elsa. I highly doubt they even make Sexy Elsa costumes in toddler sizes, anyway. That being said, there is no age limit. Sexualizing toddlers isn’t the toddler’s problem, it’s the problem of the person who looks at a child in a sexual manner. The same goes for the opposite end of the spectrum: if your grandma wants to dress up as sexy Edward Scissorhands, good for her! Some women find validation in knowing and being told that they’re attractive, and if that’s what they need to get their self-esteem levels up to where they should be, good for them. The same goes for weight limits. This sentence shouldn’t even have to be written, and yet here we are: a woman’s weight does not determine what she can and cannot wear.
Again, for those who might have missed it: a woman’s weight does not determine what she can and cannot wear. Thick women, thin women, muscular women, soft women, any type of woman you can find, they are all in control of the choices they make regarding their bodies and are all aware of how they look in their costumes. On that note, similar to the weight statement, here’s another sentence that shouldn’t have to be written: women’s races don’t determine what they can and can’t dress up as for Halloween, and they certainly don’t determine what they can and cannot wear. Black Elsa? Fabulous. Hispanic Belle? Amazing. Oriental Ariel? Wonderful. Race doesn’t need to be an issue, especially not with something as innocent as Halloween costumes. It is nobody’s place to judge what a woman chooses to wear, ever, under any circumstances. Our bodies, our rules, remember?
The bottom line here is to remember the importance of being pro-hoe this Halloween. Women are going to do what they want, and as Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch has reminded us, “women and cats will do as they please.” Women dressed as cats, sexy or otherwise, will also do as they please. Judging women for what they choose to wear, in addition to being an outdated idea, is only reinforcing the power of the patriarchy and really, it makes Halloween less fun for all of us.