Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Halloween: equal opportunity holiday

By Terranova Tasker

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Halloween: college’s favorite holiday.  Every October college students across the country prepare for the often boozed-filled, sugar-soaked and skimpy-clothing-required weekend celebration of Halloween. Students will spend countless hours and resources to come up with the prefect costume for a few nights of pure objectification of the sexes. Unlike other holidays, I argue, Halloween is for the most part is an equal opportunity holiday when it comes to scantily clad attire. I see just as much pressure for men to dress up as shirtless fire fighters, as women do for naughty nurses. The social stigma that surrounds Halloween is a reflection of a generation that has been both praised and demonized for its sexual expression – because at the core of the issue, Halloween is about personal expression.

Courtesy greyloch/Flickr

Courtesy greyloch/Flickr

For women, the storm of judgment that rains down on anyone donning a provocative costume is unfair.  Only a short 60 years ago, women could hardly leave the house wearing pants. The feminist movement gave women the protection to express their sexuality and run with it. So for one night a year fellow females should resist the urge to “slut-shame” one another over less than conventional clothing, and celebrate the freedom to wear fish-net stockings. Costumes are a way to express our inner selves on an honest platform and chip away social constructions. If you feel sexy and empowered then you should be able to express that without fear of harassment. If implying that any provocative outfit solely serves to objectify the human body, it is ignoring the fact that sexual confidence stems from empowerment.

In 2011, Americans spent $1.21 billion on adult costumes, according to the National Retail Federation (NFR). This year, Americans are expected to spend an average of $70 or more on candy, costumes and décor. Furthermore, Halloween is the second-largest commercial holiday in the United States after Christmas. The laws of supply and demand say Halloween costume stores would not sell suggestive costumes if people were not willingly buying them. If this was not the case, you could rest assured that costume shops would not be carrying suggestive costumes in such large quantities. Like any other consumer product, you can vote with your dollar, and Americans are voting for sexy.

In light of the recent alleged rape on the University of Massachusetts campus, I would like to make it clear: While I believe wearing a sexy costume for either sex is a form of expression, it is not an invitation for any unwanted contact. No means no, whether you are dressed up as Winnie the Pooh or a Playboy Bunny – your right of expression should be respected.

Terranova Tasker is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

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