“But everyone else is doing it.”
It was the six-word excuse you gave your mother as an 8-year-old, after she tried to forbid you from spending your weekly allowance on Pogs (or a pack of cardboard disks, as she called them).
Thirteen years later, it’s the same thing we college-aged females will say to ourselves as we each decide on either the slutty bumblebee or the slutty ladybug costume.
“It’s like a uniform,” Laura Levitt said, regarding the trend in scantily clad, college-aged ladies every Oct. 31. “It’s about uniformity.”
Levitt, the interim director of the university’s women’s studies program, flashed back to her own college days when she wore a homemade Hershey’s Kiss costume and a pair of cowboy boots – an ensemble she described as “cute.”
But today, cute just doesn’t cut it, and young women are being left with fewer and fewer modest store-bought options.
On Oct. 22, the Columbus Dispatch reported that out of nearly 2,000 female adult costumes at buycostumes.com, more than half are listed in the “sexy” category.
And we’re not just talking tart-like maids and naughty nurses. Halloween shops are “sexing up” all kinds of female costumes, such as the “Nordic Babe” – a supposedly hot Viking – and popular children’s characters like Hermione Granger.
When asked about the standard Halloween dress of young women today, Whitney Cox, a doctoral candidate in Temple’s religion department, said she thinks of “trashy short stuff.”
“Trashy short versions of things that should not be … like trashy short firemen [costumes],” Cox, who is also receiving a certificate in women’s studies, said. “Which is sad because Halloween is such a great opportunity [to play dress-up].”
But Halloween is no longer about playing make-believe. For females on a college campus, the holiday has become about one thing: sex.
Nick Ellerson, a columnist and the associate editor for the Cavalier Daily, the independent collegiate paper for the University of Virginia, explained Halloween expectations of your average heterosexual, college-aged man in an Oct. 19 article.
Ellerson and his peers are “motivated solely by the prospect of seeing college girls sluttin’ it up and wearing roughly the same amount of clothing as the square footage of my left jean pocket,” he writes.
“In a matter of a few short years,” he adds, “we have gone from wanting tons of candy to wanting tons of cleavage.”
Ladies, I wish I could tell you there’s still time to return that Rainbow Brite costume (complete with multicolored thigh-highs), but unfortunately, the average Halloween costume shop enforces a strict, no-return policy.
There are, however, more than 365 days for you to plan next year’s fabulous costume, one that won’t reduce you to a piece of meat – or a Butterfinger, in this case – in the eyes of every frat boy. The city offers a wealth of vintage boutiques and thrift stores; hit one up, and rummage through racks of decades past. You may not find the most provocative costume, but you will find something original.
Remember, exciting doesn’t always mean sexy, and a modest costume doesn’t have to be boring. Plus, you’ll be a heck of a lot warmer.
Chelsea Calhoun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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