A Darker Shade Of Pink A Sexy Essay Stephanie Sparer

I never know what to be for Halloween. I joked with my friends the other week that I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go as a “sexy slut or a sexy prostitute” for the evening.
“What about sexy promiscuity?” my friend Amanda asked.
“Maybe,” I say, “I should go as a sexy thesaurus.”

It’s gone too far. It’s to the point where you can put the adjective “sexy” in front of anything and it becomes a costume and that makes it totally okay to walk around town with your tushy hanging out. For some reason, self-respecting women everywhere have declared a silent ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy on Halloween. It has become the one day a year we’re not allowed to look up and down at a girl purposely dressed like a slut and think “slut.”

I remember a few years back, during my first year of college, I went to a Halloween party where I dressed like literary genius Dorothy Parker (what do you mean you don’t know who she is?). At one point, I started talking to a girl dressed as a ‘sexy’ nurse in one of those latex way-too-short-for-real-life-use uniforms, which is perhaps a little bit more Role Playing Game than Halloween.

“Who are you supposed to be?” sexy nurse asked me, innocently enough.
“Dorothy Parker,” I say and I get a blank stare back. You can’t see my ass because I’m fully covered in a flapper dress. Also, it’s vintage. I don’t have one synthetic fiber on me. I can understand how people could be confused. “Sexy Dorothy Parker?” I add, trying to be funny. “She was a writer in the 1920s.”

Sexy nurse nods ‘okay,’ bored, and picks at her cupcake. I continue the conversation with, “I see you’re dressed like a slut!” because I have absolutely no filter and say the wrong thing sometimes. I blame the obscure literary references and vintage natural fibers that got me feeling a little too superior. Like hydrogen and oxygen, those things are dangerous when mixed together. Sexy Nurse turns as red as the bows on her garter belt and gets angry because in retrospect, it was totally the wrong thing for me to say. I never should have said it, and I did apologize, but I still don’t understand this whole slutty/sexy Halloween thing for the life of me.

Like, okay. We’re young and we’re hot and we’ll never be this young or hot again, but damn girls. Have some dignity! The other day, my boyfriend Greg said, “I just saw a “Spongebabe” [Squarepants] costume. This is the end of western society.” I replied that at a party just last year, I saw a Sexy Elmo and a Sexy Big Bird. “Thanks for ruining my childhood,” he says back, and means it.

I think this is becoming a problem. Mean Girls touched on it briefly. Tina Fey (she is our Queen Bee, you know) wrote the perfect description for Halloween, “Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” So, as you see, I broke Girl Code. Just accidentally, though. Really, I swear.

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  1. how about we think about the difference between calling someone ‘sexy’ and calling someone ‘slutty’, which i think is a real problem here, and with these conversations in general. also, as much as we might want to ‘reclaim’ the word ‘slut’ as a positive/neutral description, we have to acknowledge that it still carries largely derogatory tones and calling someone one, or describing someone’s outfit as it, is easily looked at as girl-hate.

  2. When it comes to this issue, I am on a side that possibly no one understands… I don’t have a problem if someone decides to show off more skin than usual on Halloween. I have a problem when these people call themselves “a slutty this”. Whatever their reasons are, I think people who think it’s funny are simply looking down on “sluts” or anyone comfortable with expressing sexuality.

    It seems to me like sexy has become the Halloween norm. I was at Party City the other day and all they had for adults were sexy versions of everything. As much fun it is to dress sexy, the fact that it’s now so mainstream just sends mixed messages. Some think it’s empowering, some frown upon it, and some people just do it for the heck of it without regard to the thought or message it sends. It’s really hard to tell what people are saying with their costumes nowadays!

    As for Mean Girls, I thought the joke was on the girls who kept thinking they were braving the metaphorical elements by being slutty on Halloween… because again, it’s fundamentally wrong to pass judgment on people who are comfortable with their sexuality.

  3. Because we all know that when a woman dresses as a sexy fire fighter she is only doing so to reassert her own absolute power over her own body whilst breaking down the societal convention that makes all assume firefighters have to be male.

    That, or she is just trying to get fucked.

  4. Oh yes, watch the jenna marbles vid on youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPPsf-Mi8FY

    Warning: pg…..idk..16? ^^

  5. I’m okay with sexy costumes on Halloween. I am not comfortable wearing them because of my weight, but I fully intend to take advantage of it when I’m at my goal weight next Halloween. I think it is a bit silly though – if you go as a sexy nurse, you’re not really going as a nurse, right? You’re going as “sexy” personified or maybe as a guy’s fantasy of a nurse, but the writer was pretty correct in saying that the girl dressed up as a slut. That is the end goal, after all. If she really wanted to be a nurse for Halloween then she would have bought scrubs, a stethoscope, etc. And it is totally fine with me that she wanted to be sexy or even slutty on Halloween. That is completely allowed, and there should be no shame in it. But the fact that the girl dressed as a sexy nurse when the writer called her a slut is evidence that she wasn’t comfortable with it. That girl was ashamed to be in that outfit or else she would not have been embarrassed by the other girl’s comment. If it had been me, I would have just said, “I sure did. You know, it’s the only time I can wear something like this and get away with it. Hope you have a good time tonight!” And walked away. It is probably a better idea to go as somebody who is sexy and/or slutty than to go as a sexy version of a costume like sexy nurse or sexy cop. Like you could go as Snooki or Dita von Teese or several other sexy women, dress just as provocatively, and have a real costume. But if someone wants to just go to a Halloween store and buy a sexy nurse outfit because she thinks it’s hot, her boyfriend thinks it’s hot, and/or her BFF thinks it’s hot…or she just wants to look hot on Halloween without thinking about it, then so what?

  6. I’m actually enjoying the give and take here; it’s making the hellogiggles experience that much more interesting. I don’t care what people dress as for Halloween, but my problem comes with the fact that almost every pre-made costume for sale for women is “sexy.” You probably can’t walk into Halloween-R-Us and find just a normal nurse’s outfit. Society seems to expect women to dress a certain way on Halloween. Maybe that’s what we should be focusing on.

  7. So is she supposed to rewrite this story so that every woman agrees with it? You aren’t going to please every single person when you express an opinion.

    One thing I believe is true is that if a woman wears clothing that reveals attractive parts of her body, the intention is to attract sexual attention. There’s nothing necessarily wrong or immoral about it, but there is a sort of implication that one is taking resonsibility for the attention it attracts, whether it is positive or negative (and as we know, we tend to receive a little of both).
    And just imagine a counterargument. Imagine the “slutty” costume wearer writing a piece on an experience with a girl wearing an obscure costume. Thing is, I’m waiting to hear on that side of the story.

  8. I totally get that we have the freedom to look like hookers on Halloween…or any other time of year for that matter. And maybe i’m annoyed that I know I can’t dress up like River Song (from Doctor Who) because nobody would get it… but ridiculously revealing costumes are like the crochet men’s shorts that I saw the other day on Pinterest, just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. And if you are, maybe you shouldn’t get annoyed when eyebrows are raised.

    I get a little annoyed that this becomes a feminist argument, and I actually believe that it discredits the work of women who worked tirelessly to get us to the place we are today (even though we are still not fully equal). In America, we still don’t have truly equal pay, we are underrepresented in the government, and don’t get me started on the heinous bias shown in the media any time a woman (Republican or Democrat) goes anywhere near the presidency.

    I’m just saying that out of all the issues we can focus on and raise hell about, do we really want it to be the one that makes it easier for men to objectify us?

    There is nothing politically freeing about walking around in next to nothing on Halloween. You aren’t accomplishing anything. Don’t make it out to be a political stance. Even in groups where women have no rights and next to no societal value, the men speak of women in terms of their sexual value.

    The ability to wear what we want and have sex with who we want is a byproduct of real feminism. A result of women taking the initiative, breaking down societal barriers and pulling ourselves to a state of true equality.

    I just don’t think we should confuse the two.

    • There is so much slut-shaming and victim-blaming in some of the replies to this article, I’m totally appalled by it. I can’t believe we’re not past this yet.

  9. I think the author needs to stop associating dignity and self-respect directly with amount of skin showing. Expecting the best out of each other and encouraging self-esteem isn’t going to be achieved when you tie a standard of society-imposed dress style to self worth. The only one labeling the nurse as a slut is you, author! Perhaps other people find it sexy, or cute, or maybe even clever (maybe she’s a nurse in reality?). Don’t impose the title of slut and then whine that you’re tired of seeing “girl’s without dignity” on Halloween.

  10. My family went out to dinner last weekend and our waitress was dressed as Sexy Dorothy (fromt The Wizard of Oz). This wasn’t a theme restaurant or even a chain restaurant — it’s a nice local joint with great dishes that start at $35 for an entree, and we not only got the pleasure of eating deliciously decadant local organic food, but got to peek at Dorothy’s buttcheeks and side boob when she brought us our water refills and yummy olive rosemary bread basket. I wish I would have said “I see you’re dressed like a slut!” because really, who in their right mind needs to tart up Dorothy? Auntie Em would be so disappointed…

  11. “I see you’re dressed like a slut!” HA! Love it! I think it’s absolutely fun that nowadays we can dress up as a sexy anything-you-can-imagine, but it does get to a point where it becomes pretty ridiculous. “Sexy Taco” or “Sexy Muammar Gaddafi,” anyone? Neat article. :)

  12. i cant tell you how many sexy crayons i saw this year! seriously, what in the world is sexy about a crayon?!

  13. I see what you’re saying, and I’m always the one in the obscure costume as well, often covred from head to toe and wondering why no one thinks I’m as clever as I am.

    I’m also irritated by costume stores that sell all kinds of long (warm) costumes for men, but everything for women is short and labeled “sexy.” Don’t we get cold too?

    However, there is just a hint of slut-shaming in here. If girls want to go around dressed as sexy nurses, sexy maids, sexy whatevers, why is that a problem? We should all dress however we like to dress, in whatever makes us happy. As long as it is our choice.

  14. I think Jenna Marbles (on youtube) said it best: girls dress like sluts on Halloween because they’re probably not sluts in real life. Isn’t that what Halloween is for, to dress up like something you aren’t? In any case, I absolutely despise the word “slut”, and if one is to use it, then one should use it for both men and women. Funny, no mention of male Halloween costumes in this article. Although, many men prance around half-naked on the day as well. The double-standard is truly inspiring Stephanie. *slow claps*

    Perhaps, we should all learn to be a little less judgemental of one another. Let’s not say she wasn’t judging, because she definitely was, and it is definitely not cool.

  15. I feel like this post was created more to brag about the author’s creativity/intelligence over someone less thoughtful with their costume. We’ve all been there, and a well-informed costume shouldn’t be squandered, but I don’t think this piece is adding a whole lot to the girls-on-Halloween discussion. I have no problem with girls being scantly clad, I admire their courage actually, but I do like to see it done with dignity and creativity. A friend Of mine this year was lady gaga and KILLED it with a costume she made from scratch. It was definitely sexy but totally unfair to call it “slutty” because, hey, she loves gaga. I think the line should be drawn where girls are doing it solely for attention of boys because that’s not healthy. But like, if you can pull off a Victoria secret model costume on halloween and you love their fall line, why not own it?

    • Laura, every point you make in this comment is spot-on from start to finish. Thank you so much for not only helping me understand, but adding something to the discussion.

  16. This is going to be a hotly debated HG post, for sure. I think the main problem here is that women who don’t dress in sexy costumes and women who do dress in sexy costumes are going to read it, and both are welcome (as far as I know) to read Hello Giggles. It’s a bit unfair to say that women who do dress in sexy costumes have no “self-respect,” which is hard to judge on a day where you’re supposed to dress up as anything you want, including Spongebabe or Dorothy Parker, and go door to door and beg for candy. This year has included a lot more “Sexy Fill-In-The-Blank” costumes, and I wonder if some women are “in” on the joke (Sexy Pineapple, I’m looking at you!). I don’t know that it’s fair to judge women who are dressing up on their own time, of their own free will, just because they’re doing something entirely legal that I wouldn’t necessarily do.

  17. Full disclosure: I had to google Dorothy Parker to know who she was. And my costume this year is a slutty slut. (because both don’t always go hand in hand) I got the idea from a sandwich board outside a shoe store.

    I think the article is actually more about the sexy nurse’s lack of knowledge about DP and the author’s confusion with the sexy costume phenomenom.

  18. I totally disagree. Stephanie admits she was being derogatory when she realizes she was wrong to tell the nurse she’s dressed like a slut, but then she demeans and generalizes any girl who wears a revealing costume again in the next paragraph! You can’t assume other girls don’t have self-respect just because they’re showing a little skin… that’s just girl hate.

    It reeks of unnecessary competition , not to mention a serious case of Special Snowflake/internalized misogyny.

    • I totally disagree with your way of interpreting her words, and with your opinion, but I’m not going to enter a discussion this early in the morning… So okay, if that’s what you think you have your rights, but I disagree.

  19. I thought HelloGiggles was supposed to be female and feminist friendly! This article is all about girl-bashing and slut-shaming.

    Stop looking down on girls for wearing what they want. When you act condescending about it, you’re saying that girls can’t look hot and be smart… which OBVIOUSLY isn’t true.

  20. About ruining childhood: this past summer I was in a disco with friends in Majorca, partying all night, when 12 boys dressed up as Buzz Lightyear came in on scene… The 13th guy was dressed up as Woody. It was his bachelor party, or something… I freaked out, you know?! One of the main reasons was ’cause one of the Buzz’s was making out with a random girl just beside me… Gross. Pretty, pretty gross.
    I was just like, “Oh, it’s okay, Childhood. It was great to have you, see ya around!”
    But well… I kinda had a one night stand with one of them… I’m going to hell for that, I know.

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