Halloween costumes too sexy

By By Alicia Williams

By Alicia Williams

Searching for a Halloween costume this year has been a complete joke. Sadly, Halloween has morphed into the one night of the year women are expected to dress up as a “treat” for men’s fantasies and look as if they’re ready to pick up a “trick.”

Unless you want to be a nun, choices range from Sexy Lady Love Bug to the Viking Vixen or my personal favorite, Officer Pat U Down. Who thinks up these ideas, and why does everything have to be so provocative?

Western Folklore published an article in January 1983, by Jack Santino called “Halloween in America: Contemporary Customs and Performances.” Santino discusses where and how present-day Halloween customs were established.

“All of the customs…can be traced directly to the ancient Celtic day of Samhain,” Santino said. “The Celtic peoples once inhabited much of the European continent but were, by the time of Christ, pushed largely to the hinterlands. Today, their descendants include the Irish, Welsh, and Scots, and inhabitants of Brittany in Northern France.”

Ancient Irish sagas, previously handed down verbally, were finally written between the ninth and 12th centuries, and describe Samhain as the New Year’s celebration of the finalization of all the hard work completed in preparation of the coming winter. Crops were harvested, livestock secured, winter crops planted, firewood and turf collected and stored. It was a harvest holiday.

The folk custom of setting food and gifts out for wandering spirits as payment for next year’s bountiful crop has evolved into today’s costume-wearing kids going trick or treating. Costumes traditionally represent the dead8212;that’s why so many of them are scary ghosts, ghouls, mummies and zombies.

There’s no wrong costume, but there is something inherently wrong when every female costume is made to look sexy. It doesn’t matter if it’s scary or sweet and cute8212;women are being sold on the notion that it’s only OK to dress up as long as men can still see them as a sexual object.

Lauren Weitzman, director of the U’s Counseling Center, said we can learn a lot about how women are viewed in society by the types of Halloween costumes that show up in the stores.

“It’s unfortunate, but not surprising. It reinforces society’s narrow conceptualization of beauty and (promotes) objectification,” Weitzman said. “Most women struggle with body image and this does not help matters, because it gives us this other standard that we have to live up to.”

Costumes catering to teens are even scarier. Young girls are being inundated with corsets, bustiers, thigh-high stockings with garters and mini skirts. Normally innocent costumes such as Little Red Riding Hood and Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” are turned into seductive temptresses. Who really wants their 13-year-old daughter to be looked at sexually?

“There is a lot of pressure for women and young girls to conform to this objectification,” Weitzman said.

I understand Halloween is a night to shed inhibitions, to become something you’re not, but at some point, women need to ask themselves, “Am I a sultry fairy for me or for him?”

I think it’s time women turn the table8212;what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If men expect us to be sexy and provocative on Halloween, there should be a whole lot more Chippendales costumes sold.

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Alicia Williams

Willus Branham