9 Halloween Costumes You Didn't Realize Were Sexist
By this time of year, you've probably started seeing egregiously sexist Halloween costumes hanging in your local party stores or showcased in online tutorials for DIY costumes. Some — like that dreaded Anna Rexia costume — will make any reasonable person face-palm (because life-threatening diseases are not sexy jokes). A few — though, honestly, not many — are fairly innocuous; for example, it's hard to find anything problematic about a classic ghost get-up. But still others may have sexist undertones, and you may not even realize it.
Though the creatures and characters we dress as for Halloween are often made up, the oppressive ideas behind certain costumes are very real, and by wearing sexist or racist costumes, you're sending the message that you approve of these ideas. Dressing as somebody from another race or culture, for example, is never a good idea, and neither is dressing as a wet T-shirt contest winner.
If you're looking to instead make a feminist statement this Halloween, there are costumes specifically for that as well — but you don't even need to go that far. All you need to do is, for the love of all humanity, please avoid these sexist costumes that all too often fly under the radar.
1. An Old Lady
This might seem like a cute tribute to the elderly, but it also smacks of ageism as well as sexism. Imagine if you were an old lady doling out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters and saw someone allegedly dressed as you, fake wrinkles and all. Might you feel a bit mocked? The costume above is especially problematic for two additional reasons: First, it's implying that an old person would be stupid enough to "lose" their dog in the manner pictured; and second, it's sizeist to boot.
2. Drag For The Purpose Of Humor
Male-to-female drag costumes tend to not only have a mocking tone toward women, but also come off as transphobic by implying that it would be ridiculous for someone with a penis to dress in "women's" clothing in real life.
3. Caitlyn Jenner
While we're on the topic of drag: You may want to wear this to show solidarity with Jenner and other trans people, but unless you are trans yourself, it might come off flippant. And if you wear it as a cis man, you also may be unknowingly perpetuating the idea that trans women are just men dressed as women (which they are most certainly not).
4. Inflatable Doll
The sexism behind this costume can be summed up in its description: "All men will love you because they don't have to take you out to eat, shower you with flowers and chocolate, and they really will like you because they don't have to hold a conversation with you! If you're all about pleasing your guy, pick up this humorous costume!" The male version isn't any better, either; he's apparently a "real gentleman" who won't "try to fondle you every two minutes." Both costumes literally turn people into objects, which — needless to say — is more than a little problematic.
5. Giant Boob
Wearing a giant boob makes you look like a giant boob. And by "giant boob," I mean an adult who has never grown up enough to come to terms with the fact that breasts exist and it's no big deal. Especially if you have that expression on your face.
6. Chick Magnet
First of all, can we please ban the use of "chick," "dog," "pig," and other animal names to describe people (unless it's Halloween and they're dressed like that animal, I suppose)? Second of all, this costume conjures up the image of a sleazy pickup artist trying to lure women into bed with him. Definitely not magnetic.
7. Frank The Flasher
Yes, this is an actual thing. What you are saying when you wear this costume is that sexual harassment is funny. News flash: It's not funny, and moreover, it will never be funny.
8. Anything That Trivializes An Actual Profession
I'm not dissing sexy costumes altogether, but let's remember that many of these costumes are referencing actual people, many of whom are already struggling to be respected in their fields.
9. Anything That Includes Vastly Different Men's And Women's Versions
Again, you don't deserve to be shamed for wearing a sexy costume, but I'm putting this one here to shame costume companies that make everything for men focused on the costumes themselves and everything for women focused on how much skin they can show. If they sincerely believe that selling a costume that provides the coverage of a bikini in autumn temperatures is a good idea, they should think it's a good idea for anyone regardless of gender.