A little Halloween sex appeal: let’s all avoid slut-shaming this weekend

Haleigh McGill

What does it even mean when we deem a costume to be slutty?

Is the bottom half too short? Does the top reveal too much cleavage? Are her lips done up so perfectly in a pout that could steal the attention of your significant other? Is she barely wearing any clothing at all? I think we can all conjure up an example of what we would consider a slutty costume, but why? I don’t think going the more scandalous route for Halloween — a holiday that’s meant to give you the opportunity to be someone you can’t be on a daily basis — should be frowned upon or slut-shamed, if it’s done right.  

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I think it’s awesome when a woman can embrace her body when it comes to self expression on Halloween. Revealing can be sexy, and depending on the kind of attention you’re looking to get at that Halloween party coming up this weekend, showing a little skin might not be a bad idea. It could even be kind of fun. But the key is to not be too revealing, leaving nothing desirable to the imagination. 

What constitutes “slutty” is extremely subjective and varies from person to person, and there will never be a universal agreement on the topic of slutty Halloween costumes. However, I think there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about rocking a “slutty” costume.

Right: Taking a well-known character or person within pop culture or certain professions and adding a sensual twist. The whole point is to be somewhat of a fantasy, a figure of desire. Sexy Mary Poppins, a sexy lawyer, sexy Queen of Hearts — who doesn’t love an arousing villain? You’re sensual, you’re alluring, you’re powerful. Don’t abuse that power. 

Wrong: Choosing a costume that has no correlation with sexy images whatsoever, or sexualizing something in an offensive way. Sexy Anne Frank? Come on. Sexy Native American? Nope. Not a good example of cultural appropriation. Sexy Donald Trump? Absolutely not. That would just be painfully ironic considering how he regards women. Also, don’t be that girl who simply tapes her nipples and covers her lower half with a few inches of clothing and calls it a costume, or tries to turn a Taco Bell sauce packet into an object of sex appeal. One of the goals should be fun creativity, not lazy tastelessness. 

I feel that the sexier parts of Halloween can’t be addressed without discussing the issue of victim-blaming, especially considering the party culture that surrounds this holiday in a college town such as ours. Just because a woman chooses to wear a sexy or slutty costume doesn’t mean she is granting “permission” for anyone to take advantage of her. Of course, these costumes certainly attract attention and those wearing them likely want to be seen as sexually attractive, but that does not justify rape or sexual assault. 

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to stay aware of your surroundings and do your best to stay away from potentially dangerous scenarios, no matter what kind of costume you are wearing. Have fun but don’t go too hard on the Devil’s Punch, it’s important to keep yourself safe.

However you feel about revealing Halloween costumes, slut-shaming isn’t going to get you very far. It’s likely that those wearing the costumes in question won’t care, and it’s not going to enhance your Halloweekend experience to try to damper someone else’s. Women shouldn’t have to feel bad about wanting to look sexy in a costume, or ever. And if you’re going to wear a slutty costume, do it because it makes you feel confident and sexy, not because you feel like there’s pressure to buy in to our society’s culture of hyper-sexualization. 

Collegian Columnist Haleigh McGill hopes you have a stellar major Halloweekend and reminds you to be safe, register your party and go easy on the candy corn jell-o shots. That’s a nasty hangover. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com, or on Twitter @HaleighMcGill.