Society’s Halloween expectations reveal lack of respect
By: Paul Gutbrod – Columnist, Freshman
It’s almost that night! Oh yes, you all know the night … It’s the one night a year when we party for darkness, scariness and death. But perhaps you will know it better as the one night a year when society says women are allowed and expected to dress in provocative costumes with as much skin showing as “decently” possible.
Now, I personally fail to see the connection between Halloween and promiscuous women. Surely, lack of clothes is not scary in the traditional sense? Surely the women are not dead? Why then has this “costume” become the expectation for women throughout our society, even if it is just for this one night?
I think a clue resides in the term “costume.” The idea of a costume involves hiding one’s true self behind a fictitious mask. It relies on the occasion to dress up and even behave like something entirely different than one’s normal self. Perhaps, women see this night as the perfect excuse to hide self-consciousness and insecurities behind a mask of their own skin. Perhaps, women see this as simply an opportunity to let go of their normal selves. Perhaps, in their own unveiling, they seek to hide their usual selves. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they remove any attention from their personality, intellect, humor, sympathy and emotions and refocus a carnal attention on their bodies, with their complexities and undeniable beauty. Perhaps, the possible insecurities of their non-physical self can, for this one night, vanish and be replaced by the confidence gained from others’ approval, admiration and, above all, attention.
My personal reaction to seeing a woman dressed in this way, after the initial fleeting, stereotypical “guy” reaction of physical attraction, is one of sadness. I think, in a distant sort of way, “I hope you find what you’re really looking for.”
But part of me doubts that they will find it by this tactic. I wish that society, especially other guys, didn’t pressure women into dressing this way, assuring them it’s the surest way to get attention. I get kind of angry that men have played off of women’s insecurities to get some carnal pleasure for themselves. I know, and all guys and girls know that women who dress promiscuously don’t get respect for dressing like that. Of course they get attention, but never respect. And when I see somebody dressed this way, I sadly think that this woman will not get the respect I’m sure she deserves. I am sure she is a great woman, with many fantastic qualities other than her body, which is beautiful as well. But I don’t need to see a half-naked body to appreciate its beauty. I want to know and respect the person, but she is hidden behind a mask.
The primary reason for this difficult situation for women is that guys who ought to act like men really act like boys. We have not accepted women as humans, and instead continue to see them as objects, objects to satisfy our bodily desires and our selfish pride. We have taken the fascinating and truly beautiful reality that is womankind and have forced them to cater to our petty passions and fetishized fancies. We have built a society that takes advantage of women for our own selfish pleasure.
I hope that we will come to be MEN, and see women as they truly are, beautiful, intricate, amazing individuals who are equal to us and ought never to be used for simply our own ends. I hope that girls tempted toward promiscuity will remember their awesome dignity and proudly resist this sad coercion of society. I hope that we men will calm, not hide the insecurities of women if they exist and help them to respect themselves by respecting each of them.