It's October, and the pumpkin spice lattes are out, apparently deeming the people carrying those coveted green and white cups "so basic." And after a month of passing these judgments based on beverage choices, as if they signify something about a person's intelligence and overall worth, we really take it up a notch and bring out the claws on Halloween. Literally. There are a lot of cat costumes out there. But the claws also come out in a much more subtle way. Something about this holiday suggests that it is OK to impose additional judgments on each other, particularly those of the female persuasion.
For men, every costume is a win. Don't worry, dudes; you're safe from all the latte-judgers out there. For you, a scary costume is "classic." The guy in the ketchup costume becomes that funny guy at the party. He will probably cameo in several Snapchats, a short-lived but glorious fame. The man in the sexy soldier/sailor costume is totally hot, confident. He probably reminds you of "Magic Mike," especially if you've been indulging in the party punch. Then, you'll swear he looks just like Channing.
For women, costumes come with many more invisible labels. If you decide to go the funny route, you're totally a prude. A sexy costume is what's primarily available at costume shops. If you pick any of these -- which basically include any occupation with the word "sexy" placed before it -- you're apparently announcing to the world that you are open for business. Cue the flashing lights! Sexy might as well be anonymous with slut.
Just like it made sense to call pumpkin spicers "basic," it now makes sense to make judgments on other women's sexuality based on her wardrobe choice. Isn't logic great nowadays? I can assure you that a liking for pumpkin-flavored beverages does not indicate anything about a person's intellect, and similarly, the length of that woman's hemline certainly does not correlate to her sexual promiscuity. When you stop to think about it, these labels we are divvying don't really make sense. So, why do we do it?
As children, Halloween was a night of simple joy. It was a damn great holiday. You donned whatever costume you felt like a boss in and without second-guessing it, went out and ended the night with a pillowcase full of candy. You were #FLAWLESS before Beyoncé made it a thing. It didn't matter if you were a pumpkin or a fairy princess; you were still told you were the cutest little pumpkin on the block or the best damn fairy princess in the neighborhood by the smiling adults you met at each door. No matter what you wore, you were rewarded with enough candy to put dentists into cardiac arrest.
As early as middle school, this changes for women, because apparently, we don't want other women to feel #FLAWLESS anymore. Suddenly, the selection of costumes becomes a lengthier process. The girl that used to march out of the house with pride in her awesome tutu and badass princess crown now heads to her party nervously tugging at her black leotard and re-positioning her cat ears. In middle school, you spent hours perusing the costume shops with friends for a costume for to wear to the party that everyone in the 8th grade would be at. After trying on the sexy schoolgirl costume (because, duh, Britney Spears did it), the sexy maid costume (there is always a sexy maid costume) and referee dress, you settled on a black leotard and cat ears. A cat costume was always a safe bet in middle school. You were sexy and also cute. Most importantly, guaranteed to be one of several other cats -- you can blend in with the crowd, get together and reenact "CATS" off-Broadway if you wanted. You would absolutely not be the Cady Heron at the party. Still, you wondered if your leotard bunched weird in the back even though your best friend swore it was cute, but she totally could have lied. You wondered if wearing tights made you less sexy and if your winged eyeliner that you spent FOREVER on because it was actually the hardest thing you've ever done was too much.
These insecurities only get worse as we get older. High school Regina George and the Plastics are so much meaner somehow and always look somehow better than last year in their costumes -- I personally chalked that up to witchcraft. Cheers to four more years of trying to pick the "safe costume."
In college, you can't just pick one costume, you need at least three. Halloween transforms into Halloweekend, with parties every night surrounding the actual holiday, because obviously one night of partying isn't enough. And for every keg stand there are five slut-shaming instances. (Don't cite me on this statistic, but if we can judge a person's sexual promiscuity based on their outfit choice for one night, I'm allowed to make up statistics. Just go with it.)
We know that slut-shaming is bad. This is a no-brainer. Thanks to a feminist presence in the media as of late, we are finally beginning to see that slut-shaming women hurts women. It's a pretty simple concept when you break it down. Most of us have lived on both sides of the slut-shaming game. It's a pretty crappy game. Sort of like that game, Life. You play it for such a long time, it's not that fun and by the end, when you've got four plastic kids and a minivan, you aren't even sure what the point of it is. (Deep, I know. What even is the point of life? Maybe those toymakers at Milton Bradley are more existential than we give them credit for.) But seriously, slut-shaming sucks for all parties -- so why do we continue to dish it out?
Why can't we just wear what we want, eat candy and call it a night? When you find yourself sipping on that pumpkin spice haterade this Halloween, remember that everyone deserves to feel #FLAWLESS in their costume. You wouldn't want someone else to take away your shine, so don't steal anyone else's, even if their shine comes in the form of a sexy nurse outfit. And if you want to wear the mustard bottle, honey, you do you. You are just as fierce in that yellow felt bottle, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.