Halloween provides platform for suggestive costumes

stbridgesymposium

Jennifer Whalen

stbridgesymposium

âÄúHalloween is the one time a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.âÄù This line made famous by the 2004 movie âÄúMean GirlsâÄù has become the rule to live by as women on campus prepare to celebrate Halloween weekend. As clothing and textiles junior Lindsay Welke designed her âÄúsexy vampireâÄù costume for this year, she said she remembered her freshman year when she went as a tame version of Tinkerbell. She said she saw all the other women out in tiny outfits having fun and decided to dress more scandalously for Halloween the next year. âÄúIt is one of the days of the year that, like they say in âÄòMean Girls,âÄô nobody can say anything to you,âÄù she said. Nursing first-year Karissa Braden , who is dressing as a âÄúsexy chef,âÄù said she absolutely believes the âÄúslut ruleâÄù exists for college women dressing up for Halloween. Dressing scandalously on any other night might earn dirty looks from other women, but on Halloween there isnâÄôt judgment, psychology first-year Courtney Lloyd said. âÄúItâÄôs fun to be promiscuous and not get judged for it because everyone is doing it,âÄù she said. âÄúOn any other night [girls] would be like, âÄòWhoâÄôs that slut?âÄô âÄù Lloyd, who is dressing as a âÄúsexy referee,âÄù said she chose her costume because it was cheap, cute, short in length and had âÄúgood cleav[age] going on.âÄù Although Lloyd said she usually doesnâÄôt dress provocatively, she said Halloween allows women to let loose for a night. âÄúYou donâÄôt want to be pegged as âÄòthatâÄô girl, but on Halloween you are kind of unpeggable,âÄù she said. But when Jill Lipski Cain , the violence and prevention education coordinator with the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Aurora Center , sees the costumes women wear on Halloween, she said it only makes her think about how our culture sees women. Costumes like a âÄúsexy police officerâÄù or âÄúsexy sergeantâÄù are submissive and show women as weak positions of power, Lipski Cain said. âÄúWhen I see the costumes sold to women, I just think, âÄòWhat the hell is this?âÄô she said. âÄúItâÄôs as if to say, [women get] freedom and liberty for one night. Dress as a slut. These arenâÄôt my terms. These are our cultures terms.âÄù Both Lloyd and Braden said what costume shops sell to women influences the type of outfits worn by women on Halloween, but they said itâÄôs all for fun. âÄúI donâÄôt think itâÄôs degrading,âÄù Lloyd said. âÄúI donâÄôt feel pressured to dress like that on Halloween. I am choosing to.âÄù But, are women sending the wrong message to the opposite sex even if it is just for fun? Nutrition junior Caleb Durenberger said he thinks the costumes women wear are ridiculous. âÄúI think itâÄôs an excuse to dress scantily and it is expected you reserve your judgment that day,âÄù he said. He said he wonders if women just want attention and if they do, he said it will only attract men interested in a short-term physical relationship. But Lloyd said the night is more of a chance to let loose, not to impress men. âÄúIf I didnâÄôt have to see guys the whole night it wouldnâÄôt faze me,âÄù she said. Reports of assault donâÄôt spike over Halloween at the Aurora Center, which provides free and confidential crisis intervention to victims of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and harassment, Lipski Cain said. However, she said it worries her that society so often blames the victim of these sorts of attacks because of what she was wearing. âÄúIt just bothers me that society is going to think sheâÄôs asking for it,âÄù she said, âÄúand, it bothers me that other people at the party might think itâÄôs a justification for another guy to do something awful to her.âÄù Welke said to avoid bad situations, women should go to parties where people are familiar with how they normally dress. She said itâÄôs important to remember the costume and to maintain a normal value system. âÄúItâÄôs not the night youâÄôre supposed to become a slut,âÄù she said. âÄúItâÄôs just a night to have fun.âÄù