Halloween Costumes for Feminists: A Brief Guide

by October 27, 2014
filed under Life
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rosieHalloween costume ideas for me are always a struggle. I’m always one of those last minute shoppers, going up and down and aisles of Value Village looking for something that will inspire me, while also being mindful of all the ways Halloween costumes can go very, very wrong.

Halloween when I was a child was filled with ladybug costumes sewn so they could fit over my snowsuit. As I grew up and started going to parties in my university days I noticed that costume themes had shifted. I quickly became aware that a Halloween costume can hurt someone’s feelings, and can be very hurtful to someone else’s culture. When I am searching for a Halloween costume I remain aware of how I must shop to ensure I am not going to be promoting sexism, exploiting child labor or perpetrating harmful racial stereotypes and stigmas.

My own feminist thought process regarding feminist Halloween costumes is wear what you want so as it doesn’t perpetrate harmful racial stereotypes and stigmas. If your costume is culturally themed, chances are it’s a racist costume. Feminism is about wearing what you want, when you want, within the means that you don’t harm others. So, if you wish to wear a nurse costume, go ahead. If you wish to show your abdomen, go ahead. Slut shaming isn’t part of feminism. I actually believe that it can be very empowering for a woman to dress in a “sexy” costume; she’s expressing herself in a way that she might not have the opportunity to do any other time of the year.

rosie2My go-to feminist Halloween costume is Rosie the Riveter – its incredibly easy to put together and if you’re missing something chances are someone you know has the items you can borrow. I put the costume together by wearing jeans, a denim shirt (or simply blue will work) with a collar and a red bandana. I would finish off with winged eyeliner a little bang tuck (I have a pixie cut so I just use a bobby pin to secure) and if you feel like it, some red lipstick. It’s a fairly simple costume to put together, and if you can borrow the items or already have them it’s inexpensive as well! One other option is to borrow a denim shirt from your dad and tie it up around the waist – it’ll give you lots of room to roll the sleeves up for the muscle shot.

Halloween is a night for fun, and really the only time of the year that we can all dress up and eat tiny chocolate bars together in a house decorated with cobwebs and sawed off plastic limbs. Have a good time in your mindful costume!

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