Halloween Costumes: Empowerment Or Exploitation?

Halloween Costumes: Empowerment Or Exploitation?

How to avoid the pressure of the sexy-nurse cliche.

Halloween, Freshman Year, Greek Row. My friends and I are huddled in a group on the steps of a frat house. Two boys in muscle tees stand in the doorway, arms crossed over their chests. A bass line throbs beneath the porch floorboards, making the windows quiver.

The pair of eyes scan our outfits, brows raised. I feel humiliated, waiting for judgment, suspended in Purgatory between parties. My Wednesday Adams costume seems conservative, at least compared to the group of girls in front of us—in a nod to The Purge trilogy, they wear skimpy lace lingerie and masks, carrying fake machine guns (never mind the fact that it’s a crisp forty degrees outside).

I feel exactly like Cady in Mean Girls when she walks into the party dressed as a grotesque monster bride. I would much rather be curled up on the couch with a pillowcase of candy, rewatching Hocus Pocus with my cat.

The billion-dollar Halloween costume market is dominated by sex appeal. Your options as a woman are limited to the sexy nurse-cop-witch-pirate-cheerleader-cowgirl, or something equally objectifying. This is excluding, of course, the cultural appropriation of costumes such as the sexy Geisha or Native American, which fetishize and reinforce racial stereotypes.

Most costumes feature a mini skirt, exposed cleavage, provocative mesh tops or fishnets. The intention of these clothes is to draw attention to your body, to present something alluring and seductive—they are catered to appease the heterosexual male desire, dictated by the male gaze. The costume industry is a reflection of how women are hypersexualized in media, such as the American Apparel ads that range from racy to demeaning, or in the male-centric Marvel superhero universe.

The perpetuation of sexualization teaches girls that they should equate their self-worth with being physically attractive and seek validation in the form of flattery. Media exposure has been proven to shape the perceptions of an ideal body, with research linking unrealistic media depictions of women to lower self-esteem and poor body image in young girls.

This isn’t my way of slut-shaming the Catwomen in leather bodysuits or vampire queens in rib-squeezing corsets. Plenty of women feel empowered by showing skin, they embrace their bodies and celebrate themselves. It’s an act of self-love and self-appreciation. They enjoy dolling up and strutting down the street in killer heels, without the intention to impress anyone. You should be able to dress in whatever way makes you feel comfortable, without being pressured to exploit your body or adhere to typical gender roles.

Need some original non-sexy Halloween costume ideas? We live in the Golden Age of Television, which has birthed some of the strongest female protagonists yet. Any Orange Is the New Black character will do; Game of Thrones has a plethora of badass heroines, as does The Walking Dead if you’re leaning for something more traditionally horror-oriented. There are many opportunities to be creative and have fun without exploiting yourself or someone else’s culture.

Cover Image Credit: Mariah Hall

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11 Best April Fools Pranks

Everyone enjoys a prank

I've never been very good at pranking people, so with April Fools coming soon, I've started doing my research on what pranks I can pull on my friends. Pranking your friends can be a lot of fun for everyone involved. I think I've found a few pretty good pranks to get my friends this year. I hope you'll take advantage of this April Fools and also get your friends.

1.) Change your friends autocorrect

2.) Wrap their bed in saran wrap

3.) Give them a caramel onion

4.) Paint their soap with clear nail polish

5.) Cover their room with post-it notes

6.) Fill their rooms with red solo cups

7.) Put fake bugs all around their house for them to discover

8.) Change their alarms so they wake up in the middle of the night

9.) Give them donuts filled with mayonnaise


10.) Oreos filled with Toothpaste

11.) Tape a fish to their back

Be like the French and tape fishes to peoples back. An oldie but a goodie and you'll look cultured

Remember that April Fools is all about fun. No one should get hurt because of a prank. Go out there and spread some joy!

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

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5 Things To Do On A Snow Day

Make the best of what you got!

Snow days are a lot of fun, whether you're a kid or even an adult! Here are 5 things that you can do on a snow day!

1. Sleep!!

Ahhh yes our favorite thing to do! Snow days call for no work and no school! So take the day to catch up on sleep and just take time to relax!

2. Binge watch movies or TV shows!

These days we may not always have the time to catch up on our favorite TV shows or watch our favorite movies. This is the perfect time to do it!

3. Catch up on some work or homework!

Yes, this may not be everybody's favorite thing to do, but it is an easy way to get things done and not have to stress out over it later!

4. Hang out with your family!

These days everyone's lives go in different directions and you sometimes may not have all the time you would like to spend time with your family. Here is the perfect day to relax and just enjoy each others company. Perfect time to catch up!

5. Have fun and enjoy the snow!

Snow can be fun too! Enjoy it while it's here! Go sledding with friends, build a snowman, have a snow ball fight! Just enjoy it, make the best of it!

Snow is not always everyone's favorite, but you can make it fun and enjoyable! Enjoy your snow days!

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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