Choosing the perfect Halloween costume can be a challenge as a woman. A majority of the prefabricated outfits available at Halloween retailers are predominantly of the "sexy" variety — with sexist undertones that make them downright offensive. With the clock quickly ticking down to Oct. 31, DIY costumes may not be an option, but before buying off-the-rack there are quite a few sexist Halloween costumes to avoid.
There is no wrong way to celebrate Halloween, but there is definitely a wrong way to dress for the holiday. The trend of "sexy" costumes oftentimes objectify women and force them back into traditional gender roles. These costumes depict women as inferior and unfit for the workforce, or as mere sexual objects. To add insult to injury, many of these "sexy" costumes are culturally-insensitive or downright racist ('Pocahottie'? Really, people?). How many times have you seen a "sexy secretary" costume for men? (Never.) And will someone please tell me how a female firefighter can put out a blaze when all they are wearing is an orange latex bikini and suspenders?
The costumes that do depict women in positions of power (ahem, like the President of the United States) often portray them as unattractive for the sake of a tasteless joke, or mock their experience. Let's make Halloween a time of respect, not rampant misogyny... and candy, lots and lots of candy.
1. "Sexy" Baby
The sexy cry baby costume really hits all the chauvinistic marks — infantilizing women and sexualizing them at the same time!
2. "Sexy" Ghostbuster
The uniform depicted in the all-female Ghostbusters reboot was such a far cry from the short, cleavage-revealing romper sold at most Halloween retailers. Thankfully, the officially licensed costumes more closely resembles the jumpsuits from the film, and keeps with the remake's feminist statement.
3. "Parisian Heist Robbery Victim Kit"
A costume portraying a bound and gagged Kim Kardashian was released by the online retailer Costumeish, and should win an award for poor-taste. Due to a overwhelming backlash, the retailer has stopped selling the costume that mocked Kim-K's horrifying experience, and we can only hope the DIY crowd follows suit.
4. Sexy Professional
Whether it is a sexy nurse, police officer, soldier, flight attendant, or astronaut, these caricatures of professional women are demeaning. The male options offered for the same professions are often fully-covered and loose-fitting whereas the ones for women typically consist of a mini dress, latex body suit, or extremely short-shorts. (Oh, wait, they don't make male secretary, maid, or flight attendant costumes). While all women should feel free to express themselves by wearing a sexually empowering costume — there are a million ways to be more creative (and warmer) than buying one of the "stereotypical" sexy ones.
5. Sexy Geisha/Harem Girl
A costume that celebrates sexual servitude with a massive dose of cultural appropriation, what ever could be sexist about that?
6. Hillary Clinton In A Prison Jumpsuit
Never before has one presidential candidate told another that they would work to imprison them and lead their rallies in chants of "Lock her up!" Not surprisingly, when the first female candidate appeared, this threat became "allowable" under current political rhetoric.
7. Sexy Body Bag
It seems like they have turned almost every profession "sexy" by now. There is even "sexy" body bag DOA/Jane Doe and surely I can't be the only one who thinks dressing as an unidentified "sexy" dead woman is mildly offensive.
8. Sexy Breathalyzer
When shopping for costumes you are bound to come across quite a few outfits that "poke fun" at certain sex acts. This anti-feminist costume is not only degrading but makes light of sexual assault. Please avoid this intensely unfunny and offensive choice.
9. "Cougar" and "Cougar Bait"
Being an older woman does not mean that your sex life ends, and these costumes shame women that have the temerity to be open with their sexuality. "Cougar bait" goes one step further assuming that underage males are universally attractive to women over 30.
10. Chastity Belt and Key Couple's Costume
In this tasteless costume duo, the man holds the key to the woman's sexuality (and the woman is literally in shackles). The idea that a woman's "virtue" is her virginity needs to end, and costumes like these only propagate this type of thinking.
11. Sexy Graduate/Professor
It took centuries in for women to be given the same right to education as men in the U.S., and unfortunately the battle for equal access to education is still being fought around the world. This sexist costume says in no uncertain terms that a woman is only as good as her looks.
12. "Miss Piggy Universe"
Is it any surprise that Donald Trump's misogynistic body-shaming comment will assuredly be turned into a viral Halloween costume? The joke is on us if we think that this type of thinking is going away any time soon.
13. "Sexy" Nun
Taking a vow of chastity is certainly not something any woman takes likely, so tell me why a nun would ever wear an entire mesh body suit? This exploitative costume is supposed to be edgy and delight men's "Madonna-whore complex," but just turns women into sexual toys.
14. "Foxy Megyn Bloody Tampon"
I know from personal experience that menstrual cramps are super sexy. We can all thank Donald Trump for another winner in this sexist costume roundup!
15. "Free Mammogram" Halloween Costume
Wow. There are so many levels of wrong (and shades of encouraging sexual assault) in this costume I can't even.
16. "Wet T-shirt" Costume
This disgusting costume with "comedically" oversized naked breasts really hammers home the paradigm of unrealistic body proportions.
17. "Funny" Stripper Costume
Why are this ageist body-shaming stripper costumes even a thing? If I see one of these while trick-or-treating, I will have a not so happy Halloween.
Images: M.G. Films, Giphy (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17), Jennywise/Twitter, KaivanShroff/Twitter