October 30, 2008

Reflections on My Halloween Costume

So, I'm dressing for Halloween as something sexy. Yes, in the grand tradition of 20-something women, I'm just wearing a short dress and calling it a costume. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I've never done it before. I figured I should try it at least once before I have kids and start wearing conservative costumes out of a fear of embarrassing them with my breasts. For the ten minutes necessary to find, try on and purchase a really racy costume, I thought, You know, maybe objectifying myself and inviting others to do the same in a completely blatant, over-the-top manner might be fun? That was my idea at the costume shop, when I decided to buy the sexy "little Miss Muffet" outfit. But now that I am faced with the reality that I am actually going to have to wear this gingham dress that barely covers my ass tomorrow, I'm not sure how much I like the idea. It's so obviously sexualized! There's no nuance to it. Do I want to be sexy with no mystery? Do I want to put it all out there on display in this blatant way? I don't know. I don't judge girls who want to, but I'm starting to think that I've never slutted it up for Halloween before because it's just not my thing.

At the costume store, watching other girls try on and buy "sexy cheerleader" and "skanky witch" costumes, I bought into the myth that being sexualized was the same thing as being empowered. It's not necessarily. Being outrageously sexy one day of the year because you're told this is the time and place to slut it up doesn't sound like fun to me. I should be able to choose the time and place to be sexy, shouldn't I? I shouldn't just do it on Halloween because everyone else is, and this is supposedly the one time of the year it's socially acceptable to wear lingerie in public. I should really be able to wear lingerie in public without recourse any day of the year - or never - if it suits me.

I think, momentarily, I bought into the expectation that Halloween for girls is really just "super sexy day." The one day of the year where you can be super sexy without recourse - and even risk censure if you aren't. I hate the fascism associated with Halloween sexiness. That, and I'm starting to think that when I wear my dress tomorrow, I'm going to be really cold. I have a strategize to avoid this, however; I'm going to drink a lot of wine. Relax, I'm going to watch my drink at all times, and I don't intend to get sloppy, but I am so not going to this thing sober. I paid a lot of money for my costume, so now I HAVE to wear it. But suffice it to say I can't wait to cross this cultural experience of slutting it up on October 31st off my list of "things I feel I need to try because the media makes me feel I should."

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