I Guess We Did Just Sexualize Barnie

Throughout the past week, I’ve been searching Pinterest, Twitter, and Google for a Halloween Costume. Not surprisingly, most of the costumes that appeared for women were slutty, and ridiculous. Also not surprising, the costumes that were most popular among men were either 1.) powerful heroic characters or 2.) those that sexualized women.

Each year, Halloween stores try to get more and more “creative” with their costumes for females. It’s no secret that Halloween is great time for businesses to sell, market and create anything that even remotely might have potential to make money. However, if you look at the marketing of costumes for females versus males, the obvious sexism is disgusting.

Some recent top google searches for women’s costumes were interesting to say at the least. “Sexy Barnie…” I’m sorry. What? Did we just sexualize a children’s television character? Then, somehow think that a woman would be likely to wear that?

I also got results like “Sexy Goldfish.” Hold on a minute. Just saying the words “sexy goldfish” out loud sounds ridiculous. Call me crazy and maybe I’m the only one but, the first adjective that comes to mind when I think of Goldfish definitely isn’t sexy. So, I think to myself well, how bad could that costume be in comparison to “Sexy Barnie.” Can it get any more ridiculous? Turns out…yes. It can.

Not all women’s costumes are that crazy. I’ll be honest, I saw some cute ones on Pinterest. But when you really have to look for Halloween costumes that don’t portray women in the wrong light, there’s a problem. Huffington Post writer, Nina Bahadur, writes “The only thing truly chilling thing about Halloween, is how little fabric manufacturers use for women’s costumes,” in her article comparing men’s and women’s Halloween costumes.

When this is the kind of standard set for girl’s Halloween costumes, it seems almost impossible to break the “norm.” Even parents have a hard time encouraging young girls to find costumes that inspire more than just skin.

So let’s take a look at some Men’s costumes. Notice the amount of fabric used in comparison, and the costumes chosen. Somehow, if I had spent years of my life dedicated to the safety of others, I don’t think wearing underwear out and about on the street would contribute to my credibility. Also, I’d get a wedgie while running.

courtesy of Huffington Post

Interesting. Here’s another one.

Okay, these are bad. But they get worse.

Do I even need to explain how absolutely disgusting and sexist this Halloween costume is? As if women were made to prance around, and conduct explicit acts? The marketing behind this costume astounds me. His thumb up and facial expression suggests “Look, man. Check it out. I’m cool and a man because I’m getting some.” This evidence further contributes to the idea that masculinity is terribly fragile and in order to be “cool,” “liked” or “masculine,” one must engage in sexual acts with women. For young boys being raised in a society where costumes like this are portrayed in the media, they grow up learning that this is an acceptable costume.

Young girls grow up seeing costumes like this and learn that it’s acceptable to be portrayed like this. Not seen for your accomplishments, knowledge, or independence. In fact, Halloween costumes are not the only sexist media out there brainwashing the minds of young girls. There are countless number of movies, books, and music that push the idea that men are better, more powerful and women aren’t meant to be taken seriously. Women are meant to be pretty.

At this point, slutty Halloween costumes have become a joke. It seems like no matter what we dress up as, we’ll get called out. Dress slutty and you’re called a slut, dress in a costume fully clothed and you’re a prude. There’s no winning. Might as well dress up in what you want.

Either way, business’ thrive during the Fall season. Stores have to find new ways to market any and everything they can within the short time span of a month. From what I’ve experienced, they don’t hold back. There’s Halloween costumes, candy, pumpkin patches, caramel apples, and pumpkin spice everything. The marketing options are endless.

I hope that in the future, enough empowered females are brave enough to create new Halloween costumes that encompass the strength, individuality, knowledge and power that women are capable of. We’ve been close, and I’m grateful that some companies understand the importance of inclusive costumes. But we still have quite the way to go.

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