Halloween Costumes Reinforce Gender Binary


I came across this website will looking online for Halloween costumes and I found it fascinating.  It shows how different the same costume can play out for males and females. The website pairs the female and male version to demonstrate how sexualized the female one is.  For instance, dressing up as “Scooby Do” is a comical, modest costume for males, yet a sexual, revealing costume for females.  This demonstrates how almost anything can be sexualized for females, reinforcing gender stereotypes. Even a watermelon can become scandalous and sexualized when a “bite” is taken out of the side of the female costume. Clicking on the link in the text on this website will provide a website with even more examples:


My questions are: Why can’t females have funny costumes? Why are all of the costumes sexualized? Why aren’t male costumes typically “sexy?” To quote Mean Girls, “In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” But why aren’t girls saying anything about it? Why is it considered good that it is the one day a “girl can dress like a total slut?” This idea makes it seem that females are desperately waiting all year to finally be able to dress “slutty.” Furthermore, not just some females are waiting, but all females. The gender binary is further perpetuated by the near impossibility to find modest, nonsexual Halloween costumes for females. It is now considered out of the norm for a female to wear a costume that is not revealing.

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