Halloween offers a chance to express yourself

By: Kwynn Townsend Riley – Columnist, Junior

Halloween is upon us and the big question is what will you dress up as? For men, it can either be a superhero, movie character or a doctor.

For women, in Halloween costume stores, it is something skimpy, revealing or sexually exploitive.

Sexism is what is scary about Halloween. I always found it interesting that I would see more males dressing up as doctors, and more women dressing as nurses. The costume difference between the genders is a spectrum that ranges from exciting to erotic.

I can never be the hero; I always have to be the one who has to be saved, like the princess. In nearly every female costume, there is some sort of seductive aspect sewn into the lace of the costume. Yet, women are given “tips” for the Halloween evening.

We have been told to dress appropriately, respectfully. We are told to not walk home alone. We are told to protect ourselves from predators. But predators are told not to commit sexual assault, and they do it anyway.

Victim blaming of women for sexual assault is quintessential to sexism. All throughout my life, I have been told that I have to be careful, cross my legs, wear skirts and make sure that I do not reveal my body but, most of all, be a lady. We are told that our bodies are the problem because it is distracting.

The “don’t put yourself out there” idea applies to women who choose to dress to accentuate their figures.

Women have not been encouraged to celebrate their bodies. They are susceptible to the double standard society places on them. Society tells women to be attractive, but not too attractive. There’s a fine line that separates the two.

I encourage that to change this year. This year, own it.

It should not matter what you wear. Women are restricted to reveal, to celebrate our figures, so let’s do it.

If a woman chooses to show her legs, it does not mean that her legs are for sale.

I encourage women to wear your dress that “women are told not to wear” as if they are “asking for it.” Women are not written in braille.

You do not have to touch her to understand her.

Whatever I wear does not insinuate my intentions. Nor does my outfit condone any person to touch me, judge me or have sexual encounters with me.

My body is my body. I should be allowed to celebrate it. There is such a strong double standard set for women. It is becoming unbearable.

Women are not accepted for certain things socially while men are celebrated. I support a woman who wears what she wants to wear.

I recognize what society has done to our bodies. We have been over-sexualized, objectified, manufactured and sold for years.

This Halloween, I am choosing to be a woman in the year 2014. Because a real woman is not just a nurse or a sexy fairy. A woman is whoever the hell she wants to be.


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