We need to talk about slut shaming at Halloween

Because slut shaming seems to peak at this time of year. And we want to stop it. Right. Now.

Every Halloween, I watch as women proudly display skimpy outfits and barely-there attire. I bow down to their bold attitude and confidence. Yet, I questioned my nonchalant opinion when my friend turned to me over coffee and said: “Halloween is meant to be scary, not slutty”.

I was brought up with the classic Mean Girls. Where, a wise woman doesn’t just say but more declares that “Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.” Maybe that is true, at least it was way back in 2004.

Now though, it is 2017. In the age of Twitter and Snapchat, a realm which allows us all to comment on each other’s looks and thoughts, I can’t avoid the most concerning aspect of this argument. How much we have internalised this subject. Once upon a time, we could rely on guys for discerning comments but now, girls have joined in too. Neither of which should be permitted. Not only do we have to think twice about our Friday evening night-club wear but this obsession with controlling women’s bodies seems to now pervade even seemingly carefree fesitivities.

Whether it is sexually harassing women due to a costume choice or criticising their apparent “lack of self-respect”, so-called slut shaming is always inappropriate. In fact, sexy costumes are something to be celebrated. Many women feel empowered in a seductive costume and various others just want to wear a risqué outfit to show another side of their personality.

A woman’s choice to dress provocatively doesn’t make her morally inferior to those who choose otherwise. A costume choice is never an excuse or invitation. Cat-calling and unwanted touching is never permissible. Other than the obvious reasons as to why slut shaming is never okay, according to studies it can also lead to pervasive distrust and a sense of isolation.

Feeling shamed indeed can be psychologically damaging. In some places, sex and owning your sexuality can still be deemed as shameful. Meaning that women called out on a sexy outfit choice publicly has the potential to be scarring. Slut shaming women contributes to the same culture that blames victims of harassment and sexual assault. There is nothing quite as insidious as slut shaming, so if you’re not on board with our feminist message, stay home.

As long as a costume isn’t offensive or negatively depicting certain races or identities, Halloween is just meant to be fun. Do not comment on a woman’s outfit, unless your remark will make her smile. Girls have every right to dress in a revealing costume and expect to not be assaulted or harassed. Equally, own your right to a racy outfit.

Related Topics:

5 college costumes for Halloween

The countdown for Halloween 

Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark

Scarlett Victoria Clark is Editor-in-Chief of Scriptoeris and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar, when not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.

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