The Horror of Halloween Slut-Shaming

I love Halloween.  This year I will get vastly inebriated while wearing fangs, and life doesn’t get much cooler than that.  The only thing about Halloween that is better than getting drunk while wearing fangs however, is seeing what everyone else decides to wear.  There’s Batman characters and Kahlo monobrows and badly done Kiss makeup.  And the sexy nurses, cats, zombies, nuns, Mrs Potato Heads, you name it – yes, there is a Sexy Mrs Potato Head, Google it.

Did I just say that I am actually excited to see sexy?  That I love seeing people wearing whatever they want?  That I don’t pass out whenever I see a pair of cleavage or the top of a woman’s tights?  It’s true. Halloween, unfortunately, can be a sexist occasion where slut-shaming becomes a social norm. When I see women going out wearing tantalising clothing I applaud them – they know they’ll be the target of gossip and contempt, but they do it anyway because they darn well want to.

After years of experiencing Halloweens where slut-shaming has been prevalent on nights out, social media and among peers, here’s five reasons why it is downright unacceptable and people should wear what they want:

Grow up, you’re at university.

The days of playground bitchiness are now over, but many people progress with their habits and bring them onto campus, and everywhere else, all those years later.  While queuing for a Halloween shindig you’re likely to hear some of these cutting remarks from the ignorant few who don’t know the perils of slut-shaming.  Don’t be one of those people.  Instead of caring what other people are wearing, try focusing on having fun and minding your own business.  It would work out better for both parties.  It could even be fun!

Condemn the offensive, not the liberating.

Examples of deplorable Halloween costumes that I’ve personally seen include someone painting his face black, sporting chains and calling himself a rapper and a man wearing a ‘rape kit’ (who was seen out with a teacher of the friend I was with at the time).  Other offensive costumes include dressing up as a Native American, a zombie Jimmy Savile or a psychiatric ward patient.  Offensive Halloween attire is much more harmful than someone wearing less clothes than conventionally deemed acceptable and if you’re worried about the welfare of society on Halloween, try to stop the outfits that are actually offensive and not ones you genuinely have no reason to be affronted by.

Sending out a negative message about sex.

The message society gets is that sex is bad for women; having it with more than one person makes her depraved and that everyone is going to hate her for it and make her wear the Scarlet Letter.  It’s 2014.  We should understand that women deserve the same sexual rights as men.  Slut-shaming brainwashes society into thinking they do not.

Perpetuation of rape culture and supporting victim-blaming.

If you say anything along the lines of “It’s not Halloween, it’s National Slut Day.”, “Oh dear, in those clothes, she’s asking for trouble” or “I can actually enjoy Halloween with my clothes on!” then you are contributing to a society wherein it is acceptable to deem women wearing such clothing as more deserving of sexual harassment, assault, and rape, because they are causing men to be incapable of controlling their sexual desires.  You are affronting not only women but men too, for you’re deeming them as wild beasts who are capable of and willing to commit such heinous acts without thinking twice.  It tells us that women who dress voluptuously are sluts.  Women who have sex are sluts.  If you meet a slut, you are entitled to her body because she is a slut, an object, and not a human being with full rights.  Any violence directed towards her is her own fault.

Dressing modestly isn’t synonymous with self-respect.

“Self-respect” is often heard while slut-shaming is taking place in that conversations are had because the people talking are worried about the amount of self-respect the “slut” has for herself.  Don’t be concerned.  People shouldn’t have to prove their self-respect to you or anyone.  If you think that self-respect will be reduced by sleeping with someone you don’t know, simply don’t sleep with someone you don’t know – but don’t set standards for others.  It genuinely has nothing to do with you.  Nobody is benefiting, except the Women’s Sexuality Police who justify violence against females by regulating and denouncing female sexuality.

If all of this seems like a lot of information, here’s how to sum it up in a sentence: respect each other on Halloween.  Instead of spreading negative and potentially dangerous vibes, keep quiet about the costumes you don’t like.  Ask yourself if there’s a valid reason why you don’t like them.  Compliment someone.  Have fun.  Get drunk.  Don’t get drunk.  Wear voluptuous clothing.  Don’t wear voluptuous clothing.  But whatever you do or whoever you decide to be, condemn no one except those who dress disrespectfully, or indeed the ones who do the slut-shaming themselves.

[Sarinah O’Donoghue –@notmiserable_ ]

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