The Scariest Halloween Costumes For Women Make Some Important Points About Sexism — VIDEO
Halloween costumes don't have to be spooky, of course — but if you're a big fan of costumes that inspire fear, you'll love this list of the scariest Halloween costumes for women dreamed up by Cristen Conger of Stuff Mom Never Told You. Prepare yourselves, though... because they might not be terrifying in the way that you think they are.
Being frightened is an essential piece of Halloween fun, but we have a lot more to fear than haunted houses and ghosts — which is exactly what Conger's costume ideas tap into. Having serious disease symptoms ignored by a doctor or being sexually harassed by a co-worker are real things that affect women, and they're far scarier than the idea of a monster under the bed. Misogyny is the ultimate scare we should run away from, screaming as loud as we can.
These "scary" Halloween costumes are clever ideas — but more importantly, they're also a chance to reflect on the fearful realities that women have to face every single day of our lives, not just on Halloween. I never thought to use the holiday as a way to demonstrate the effects of social inequities, but I can't think of a better way to drive home how it feels to live with everyday sexism and legitimate fear, day in and day out.
Here are five of my favorite costume ideas; scroll down to watch the full video for all 13.
1. Twitter Egg Avatar
Anonymous trolls on Twitter who don't even bother to have a profile picture up might not seem scary on the surface — but they can often result in devastating harassment cases that leave victims not only dealing with an asshole, but often without resources. Many places don't have good laws on dealing with online harassment, which can and has left many women alone in dealing with people who are making their lives a living hell. Stalking, rape and death threats, and even physical harm in real life are no laughing matter.
2. Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome refers to feelings of inadequacy, especially (although not always) those related to professional success. If you've ever sat in a meeting and thought, "Wow, everyone here is so much more qualified than I am, I don't know why they even hired me," then you, my friend, have experienced feeling like an imposter. The fear that you're "not good enough" or "just faking it" is something internal; for women, it often comes from society's habit of teaching us to question all of our achievements. It can be hard to verbalize why you feel so weird, but not doing so can resulting in women being held back. Spooky!
When will society finally realize that no, street harassment is not a compliment? Being harassed by a total stranger is terrifying, not sexy.
4. Dress Codes
Conger calls this costume "frighteningly ridiculous," which summarizes my thoughts on sexist dress codes completely. While the idea of having dress codes is fair in theory, the problems arise when they're enforced for one group of people, but not for another. They often unfairly target girls and women, placing more value on boys' education ("We can't have the poor boys getting distracted by female bodies, of course!") than on girls' ("So what if we have to pull you girls out of school because you're wearing leggings?"). Now that's really scary!
5. White Feminism
Feminism isn't scary — but feminism that isn't inclusive is. White feminism fails to take into account other factors of identity like race, class, ability, and sexual orientation that shape people's experiences of womanhood, and in doing so, it only helps one very narrow group of people (generally white, cis women). We need intersectionality in order to truly accomplish feminism's goals of equality for all people.
Are you spooked yet? To get an even bigger dose of fear, check out the full list of scary costumes below:
Images: Stuff Mom Never Told You/YouTube (5)