Sexy Halloween costumes are evident everywhere we go, all October long. I have been inundated with commentary on these kinds of costumes, and given it myself, for years. I’m emotionally exhausted by it, so I don’t write about it anymore.
But this year, my deepest outrage, sorrow, and grief over the way we are expressing ourselves as a culture has been touched just as deeply as it was the first time I saw a “Sexy Halloween Costume” that was toddler-sized.
But this year, it’s not about the sexy costumes. Or, rather, it’s not just about the sexy costumes. It’s the violent, individual, personalized, victim costumes. It’s the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman costumes. It’s this Facebook post, by a former student of a teacher friend of mine.
This personalization of the Halloween gore is an entirely different animal than the sexiness that has been creeping younger and younger. As offensive as that is, this takes it to a new level.
The integration of sex and violence – the making sexy of violence against women – has been around for along time and it’s getting worse. From Rhianna and Chris Brown to Pink (see below), abuse is being increasingly sexualized.
And now it’s Halloween’s turn to get in on it all.
Gore is one thing. Sexy zombies may be stupid and raise questions of consent (read down a bit, the relevant part is there, I promise), but the personalized and violent Halloween costumes that are starting to show up and weave into the standing sexy Halloween costumes is a new kind of assault on and education of young people.
Assault, battery, murder: these are not hilarious and funny things to trot out on a holiday. My teacher friend whose student posted the Facebook picture responded (in part) with: “Are you speaking out against domestic abuse, or saying that it makes a good costume. How many women can’t wipe off this ‘make-up’?” My friend was the first to comment on the post, so he was able to set the tone, but there were already eight or nine Likes. We need to teach our children how to recognize inappropriate humor and how to stand up to it. Because this just isn’t funny, cute, or appropriate.