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Halloween: What Not To Wear - A Shout Out to My Pepys [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
The American Caliban

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Halloween: What Not To Wear [Oct. 30th, 2009|01:34 pm]
The American Caliban
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The Halloween costume for women that I call the "Slutty Noun" outfit is now a topic of debate and outrage; I've been complaining about it for years. It's mainstreaming the sex industry, dragging women back into the Playboy Bunny past, and in poor taste. Yuck!

Last year I realized something worse. While the women dress as stereotyped available objects (nurse, catwoman, stripper outfits, little French maid, showgirls) the men have their own roles. They're pirates, soldiers, cops, horror movie murderers, Dracula, barbarian." These roles have something in common too: they're powerfully violent and often depicted assaulting women.

What's the message? Men are rapists and women are their victims. And now every year the men and women dress that way, go to parties and bars and get sloshed, and see what happens.

Anyone is free to explore sexuality and enjoy role-playing I don't like. In this case it would be less worrisome if any if these people knew what roles they were taking on and where that might go.
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[User Picture]From: nosrialleon
2009-10-30 08:49 pm (UTC)
I'm actually somewhat relieved to be sick, as for the first time in many years, I was to attend a Halloween party tonight...
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2009-10-30 08:51 pm (UTC)
Your icon would have been a fine costume.
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[User Picture]From: kasheri
2009-10-30 08:49 pm (UTC)
All true. But I try to bear in mind that it's not a universal truth. My receptionist is currently dressed as Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd. I have a female friend who dressed as Cthulhu. brainflak makes a mask each year, always something thoroughly odd simply drawn from his own, tortured imagination. People ask him, "What are you supposed to be?" and he simply says, "One of these." The pleasures of Pandemonium can remain free of the rape overtones even among adults. It may still make you uncomfortable, but gather ye rosebuds where ye may.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2009-10-30 08:51 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, anyone can have fun with a masquerade day.

It's the mass culture version that's freaking me out. The dominant commercial version of a holiday shouldn't be this ugly.
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[User Picture]From: eris_devotee
2009-10-30 09:08 pm (UTC)
I mostly hate it when people choose any costume, instead of holiday-appropriate costumes. What the fuck does being a cute bee have to do with Halloween? Not a freakin thing.

Dress as something scary, or something evil. Dress as something magical or mythical, that ALSO has ties to the underworld. Dress as someone who is DEAD.

But puh-LEASE put away the fireman, nurse & french maid costumes - unless you are a ZOMBIE nurse or a ZOMBIE fireman.

Just because something is a *costume* doesn't make it a Halloween costume.
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[User Picture]From: handstil
2009-10-30 09:12 pm (UTC)
THIS!
I don't do adorable or sexy for Halloween, it's fun because it's EVIL, dammit.

I even make my kids choose scary stuff! No Transformers or baseball players in this house, thankyouverymuch.
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[User Picture]From: handstil
2009-10-30 09:10 pm (UTC)
I'm really freaked out by how early this starts, dude.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2009-10-30 09:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, childhood is endangered. My Halloween as a kid was the Peanuts one, and that's what I'd want for my kid too.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2009-10-31 12:59 am (UTC)
What is a "Boobah"?
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[User Picture]From: chthonicsiren
2009-10-30 09:54 pm (UTC)
Though I'm right in the demographic that tends to dress like this, I've truly never understood its appeal. Which I guess is because I don't see these outfits as sexy in the least. They just seem... histrionic, and kind of desperate.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2009-10-31 12:58 am (UTC)
Histrionic and desperate describes most behavior by "singles," I think.
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[User Picture]From: mr_flippant
2009-10-31 12:00 am (UTC)

out of step

Reasons why the gf is awesome...
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2009-10-31 12:59 am (UTC)

Re: out of step

AUGH
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[User Picture]From: tpulley
2009-10-31 01:35 am (UTC)
What's the message? Men are rapists and women are their victims.

I was sold on that message way, way before hitting puberty at an authoritarian matriarch middle school. Unlike being yelled at by a woman groping her breasts for the crime of being a boy, women are totally free to not wear a sexy costume if they don't want to.

Some women like to feel sexy because it gives them power over men or grabs their attention. Not nearly as much power as sexually horrifying a captive audience of children, but power all the same.

As for people knowing what roles they're taking on... that's the crux of being personally responsible for oneself as an adult.

not trying to be a jerk, just had $.02 burning a hole in my pocket
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2009-10-31 01:51 am (UTC)
Of course - I wasn't suggesting that the stupid Halloween costume is enforced like a burqa, or that ignorance is excusable. And of course people can do just as they please with their own adult sexuality.

The problem addressed is a social one on a mass scale: the idea of the "adult" Halloween party is presented by default as a sexual disaster waiting to happen, and that this happened on its own starting about fifteen years ago when Halloween for drunk adults became a big commercial holiday.

Individuals who put on dumb outfits, get drunk, and assault each other are behaving poorly and not to be excused by some social phenomenon. You're quite right to point that out.

I'm just depressed by the social phenomenon itself.
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[User Picture]From: all_unnecessary
2009-10-31 01:43 am (UTC)
It's a terrible night for rape crisis counsellors, lemme tell you. I worked at one in SB and on that weekend and on what they call Fiesta weekend (in August?) we received the highest number of calls (both counseling calls and meet-ups with the cops at the emergency room). Isla Vista was particularly bad.

These days Santa Cruz is getting stabby along with the pimpy and the hoey. I stay in.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2009-10-31 01:53 am (UTC)
I've talked to other college rape crisis counselors and I was genuinely shocked and horrified to find out how common sexual assault was on college campuses. In a "carnival" atmosphere it must be mind-bendingly awful.
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[User Picture]From: gths
2009-10-31 06:03 am (UTC)
The do I went to last year (yeah I know I'm Australian, we had a party anyway) we did the classic horror thing. I went as a very unconvincing Dracula - though I did have a rad cape made up for it.

Also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4rUiV_Hh74
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[User Picture]From: sooz
2009-10-31 07:14 am (UTC)
my costume rules.
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[User Picture]From: taskboy3000
2009-10-31 03:27 pm (UTC)

Didn't Star Trek explain this one?

Halloween is a FESTIVAL! FESTIVAL! Wherein adults "pretend" to transgress social boundaries. I think most of it is harmless, even healthy play acting. However, there are those that go too far.

Sex and violence are potent forces and even the best of us need to learn how to recognize and integrate both of these forces into our psyches. If dressing up as a whore/pirate aids that process, why complain?

The separation between reality and fantasy should be clear in the healthy adult mind. I wouldn't want to get puritanical about costumes until a few other pressing social issues are contained.
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From: besskeloid
2009-11-01 03:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Didn't Star Trek explain this one?

transgress social boundaries.
You're not really doing that unless you're dressed up when there isn't a festival on.
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[User Picture]From: capn_jil
2009-10-31 09:15 pm (UTC)
the lack of consciousness re: this is hell of depressing.

halloween is time for the dead. this year's skeleton iteration was particularly satisfying all riding down the street yelling IIIIIM INSIDE OF YOU ALL!! AND IM SMILIN!! IM SMILIN!!!!. now i am sick and will not be partying but i think that is okay, the concept of halloween as also a time for quiet contemplation is something that is worth considering. i think.
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[User Picture]From: monochromatism
2009-11-05 08:41 pm (UTC)
Last year I was a black hole. Two years ago I was Jem (of Jem and the Holograms). Before that, I was always a vampire. Actually, one year I was a cow, but that was unfortunate. I don't think I've ever been a slutty anything.
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