Dear MKE SEX,
A couple of weeks ago, I sat down to watch Mean Girls with some friends for probably the hundredth time. In the movie, the main character Cady says, “In girl world, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it. The hardcore girls just wear lingerie and some form of animal ears.” I was in middle school when Mean Girls came out, and I thought that part was hysterical. Now that I’ve lived through high school and college, I realize it’s just plain true. After graduation, I thought the costumes might get more tame, but nope. Still true. We even had to pause the movie to talk about what costumes we’re wearing this year, and it looks like another year of being practically naked. At what age do women start wearing more sensible get-ups for Halloween? I am so ready to be done with this phase of my life!
That line in Mean Girls is always a crowd pleaser. Everyone nods their heads and smiles at the truth in the statement. Halloween is the one night a year when a woman can wear just about anything she wants and get away with it. There aren’t many limits in terms of modesty, creativity, originality, or extravagance. Some people spend days working on their costumes, others spend an entire paycheck to get the exact right pieces. Lots of folks stop at Walgreens on their way home from work and grab something off a peg-hook in the spooky aisle.
We live in a world with carefully prescribed rules about what women can wear. While there are lots more choices now than even 60 years ago (women can wear pants to work! whee!), we all still adhere to guidelines about everything from fiber content (no linen in winter, no velvet in summer) to skirt length (hoping to strike somewhere between “proper” and “flirty”). Halloween is a once-a-year chance to pick out an ensemble based solely on how we feel, not how we’re supposed to look. Many women opt for less coverage in their costume choices.
Most of us also live in a world that is full of bills, responsibilities, and obligations. We do not have a lot of creative outlets that are considered valid by society. When we find something that feeds our need to create, we often grab on to it for dear life. (See also: the rise of adult coloring books and art-and-wine studios.) For many people, picking and procuring a Halloween costume is still a sanctioned activity that allows for a lot of free expression.
Of course, not everyone decides to bare it all for the Halloween. Some people definitely pick costumes that cover more of the body instead of less. It’s not every person’s secret dream to dress scantily and reveal it all. If you’re feeling like you’d rather not spend one more Halloween practically naked, you shouldn’t! The beauty of dressing up is that you get to be exactly what you want.
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