Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Pre-Halloween Thought

But, but, but Halloween was yesterday (or the day before yesterday if you happen not to be an insomniac or live somewhere other than the Americas), why talk about Halloween today? Well, I'm talking about Halloween today because I have been double-plus ungood about updating here in a timely fashion. If it helps, you can consider my title to mean that I had this thought before Halloween, which I did, or that today is before next Halloween, which it is.

So, the thought. In the lead up to Halloween I saw posts across multiple blogs that I follow condemning women for choosing to "slut it up" for Halloween. While I am no Third Wave Feminist advocating for miniskirt empowerment, in fact I am somewhat of a conservative prude, I believe that there should be a rebuttal to these posts, so I shall make one.

I have to admit that I am unfavorably inclined towards criticisms of "slutting it up" from the get go. Primarily because I find the term "slut" offensive. As mentioned, I am somewhat of a prude, and I feel that men and women often carry on in an unseemly manner, however, the gender bias inherrent in the term "slut" does more to antagonize me than its implied agenda of sexual moderation. Put simply, a guy who acts exactly like a "slut" (negative connotation) is called a "stud" (positive connotation).

While I would prefer that all were held to the standards of sexual restraint to which women are typically held, I think I should set aside this opinion for the moment in order to support gender equality, a cause that I consider more urgent. This is similar to my support for legal abortions due to the unjust gendered distribution of blame, responsibility, and labor with regards to pregnancies and subsequent babies, despite my deep personal reservations regarding the practice. So, since "slutting it up" has such sexist connotations, I find the term distasteful.

Furthermore, I find the practice of condemning the women who wear such sexualized costumes to be slightly unfair. After all, we live in a society where that manner of dress is often normalized. Not only in regards to Halloween costumes, I would imagine that if you paid attention, outfits of similar decorum, or lack thereof, could be found in many of the advertisements displayed year round, after all, "sex sells," as the saying goes. Much is said about the problems caused by models informing American women on how they should look, a subject worthy of great consideration in its own right, but less is said about their effect on how American women feel they should dress, I imagine this effect is not trivial.

So, this upcoming Halloween, and here I definitely am talking about the one a little over 360 days from now, I urge you, men and women, to wear costumes that you feel comfortable with, be they revealing or not. I urge you to not base your self worth on the reactions of others to your costume, whatever they may be. And finally, I urge you to think kindly of your fellow humans, rather than dismissing them with a criticism, and this last one is worth thinking about every day before next Halloween too ;)