Let's Stop Shaming "Slutty" Costumes

posted by Cleo Spencer, Advocate


The week of Halloween festivities is upon us, so it’s more than likely you’ve heard someone bemoan the “slutty” costumes that make an appearance this time of year. I’ve witnessed both men and women laugh, cringe or roll their eyes at the hyper-sexualized costumes many women choose to wear, a phenomenon particularly prevalent among college-aged women.

While this phenomenon certainly points to larger, longstanding cultural issues of sexually objectifying women--which these well-intentioned critics likely recognize--the underlying judgment behind this criticism does nothing to encourage equality.

Rather, rallying against “slutty” costumes perpetuates a misogynistic culture wherein we're still allowed to judge women for what they choose to wear.

As Chloe Angyal, author of our featured article states, “it’s the other shitty side of the same shitty coin” that basis a woman's value on her sexuality: stripping value from women who dress too sexy is no better than only giving value to women who dress sexy. In fact, plenty of women gain a sense of agency by dressing provocatively on Halloween or otherwise, and dictating how a woman should choose to dress on any night unjustly takes away her agency.

I encourage you to read Angyal’s article in which she gives a more detailed explanation of why criticizing “slutty” costumes does more harm than good, “You’re Not A Feminist If You Call Halloween Costumes ‘Slutty’.” Though, from my perspective as an Advocate, this article is not only about feminism but about stopping the slut shaming that can crop up in even the most well-intentioned critiques.

And for a creative and spirited take on the same point, check out this sick slam poem from Brave New Voices 2013!