The Star-News


The sexual politics of Halloween

Sat, Oct 08 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Skanks and sluts have been on my mind lately. Like Santa at Christmas, or the Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday, the supposed ladies of promiscuity seem to materialize only one day of the year - Halloween.

The pejoratives (and derivatives like trampy, whorey and hookerish), incidentally, are what I've heard some women use to refer to other women after they've caught a glimpse of their peekaboo Halloween costumes.

It's as if what a female chooses to wear on All Hallow's Eve somehow reveals aspects of her personality. In other words, if Sarah dresses like a naughty nurse she's probably easy and sleeps around. At least for one night.

The negative characterizations are disconcerting ones. Especially when they come from women.

It's no secret there's a double standard in our world. If a man sleeps around he's a stud and the behavior's expected. If a woman exhibits the same behavior she is flawed and a slut.

That women who take control of and express their sexuality are reproached by members of their own gender is puzzling.

If equality has been longed for and demanded in the boardroom then why not the bedroom? Why not expect the same consideration that males receive? After all, sex can be fun. Shouldn't every consenting adult be allowed to enjoy it however often they wish? You would think so. But there still seems to be a lingering attitude that women shouldn't be as sexually active as men and instead they should be sufficiently modest.

Silly me, I thought women should be able to do and wear what they want without having to contend with insults - especially from other women.

There's no denying that over time Halloween has become as much for adults as it is for kids. And it's also true that costumes - for women at least - have become increasingly sexualized. But a costume does not a woman make.

Just because an adult dresses in a provocative outfit does not mean she's a trollop. And even if she is, so what? There are worse things in life to be than someone who engages in frequent consensual sex. Judgemental and unreasonable come to mind.

If there's anger and contempt that needs venting, maybe it should be directed at the nefarious Halloween costume industry which essentially just gives us what we want as consumers.

Or better yet, why not direct it at the person in the mirror. You know, the one who tells you it's OK to tear others down so that you can feel better about yourself.


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