Confession: I love the morning after Halloween. Why? Because I wake up, get my coffee, and start trolling Facebook to see all the costumes. I’m always blown away by the creativity and cleverness that goes into the getups! And while I’m usually in awe of my friends’ costumes, my own tend to be… fine… and typically hindered by my desire to still look attractive in them. Minus two years ago when I thought it would be funny to go as the Power Team.
Most girls do not want to show up to a party looking ridiculous, ugly, male etc. And even if they did, finding a non-sexy costume is difficult.
I woke up this Sunday wondering about it all. Why are all the costumes skanky? Why do good girls go a little bad on Halloween? I decided it might be an interesting topic to explore so I asked my girlfriends for help. I roll with a very enlightened, thoughtful, and above all- willing to be honest crowd… Actually, I don’t roll with anyone b/c I am not that cool and it’s not 1999…but you know what I mean. Here are some ground rules before we begin:
#1 I’m going to use words like “we” and “all” knowing there are exceptions out there. If I clarify every sentence it will get lengthy and annoying for everyone. If you are one of the few girls who never want to look hot, by all means comment from your perspective, and I apologize ahead of time for lumping you in.
#2 I hate the word slutty….but in the context of describing a style of clothing, I find it helpful for getting us all somewhat on the same page. Deciding when an outfit crosses the line is different for all of us…makes this conversation tricky.
#3 This is going to take an open mind on all of our parts. I’m not looking for the simple answer: slutty outfit= bad, modesty = good. I want to dig a little deeper and explore some of the real motives.
#4 I don’t really believe there are “good” girls and “bad” girls (But there are definately bad guys). We are all a mixed bag and I needed a catchy title, people.
Q: Why do good girls dress slutty on Halloween?
A: “Because they can’t normally and want an excuse sans judgment (or not as much judgment as usual)”
There is the most common response I received. Halloween is the one night we can all get away with outfits we can’t normally pull off and lots of us want to take advantage of the opportunity. But I keep thinking- why do we want to wear them in the first place? And more importantly, does this mean we are all hiding who we truly want to be the other 364 days? If so, is the hiding this side of us really a good thing or a bad thing?? Comment away! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
A: “There is a lot of pressure to be “hot.” Funny is nice, but for a guy it is just a novelty, not the girl you are going to try to make out with. Which brings it around to what is your intention for dressing that way?”
I found this response helpful since Halloween costumes do tend to land in either the hot, sexy, or funny category. I used to believe that really good Christian guys didn’t like hot girls…. That they somehow only wanted a really smart, funny, and nice girl. False. They all like what they consider to be hot and on some level that’s ok. The good news is it appears better guys truly do put weight on things like character and personality.
As for funny vs. hot, it does appear the hot girl always wins. Funny works for male costumes but doesn’t translate as well for female costumes. Even the stores know this. Take a look at how differently the same characters are made (photo from Socological Images)
And my personal favorite:
There’s no question that society has set an expectation for how we are supposed to look. But even if I blocked out all outside pressure and forgot about male attention, I realized I don’t just dress for others. Part of me that wants to be hot for me. I want to know that I can look a certain way sometimes. This came from a married friend of mine who dressed up this year as an M&M.
“I think there is less pressure to be slutty if you are married, but you still want to look good. And married, especially as a Christian, I think it is more awkward to dress slutty, like ‘why are you doing that?’ But maybe you want to do it just for you?? It was hard to dress in a giant, unflattering bag this year.”
Now clearly there is a difference between being feminine and skanky, but even when we aren’t dressing for men or are already married, we want to look good for ourselves. This isn’t inherently bad in my opinion. It is totally normal and part of how we are made. The tension comes because we don’t just live in a world by ourselves, we have to consider others.
We also have to live in the reality that what we wear says something about us and leaves us up for judgement. I think about the image I’m portraying with my clothes and attempt to have them line up with who I am. I am someone who feels uncomfortable in anything too revealing or too frumpy. Even between those two lines I can’t please everyone.
“Some totally dress skanky and others totally judge. I have been both and I’m not saying one is better than the other, or a good thing.”
“I don’t judge as much on Halloween probably because it’s so common. I am just being honest. If I looked the way I want to I would probably dress up a little slutty :)”
A friend’s response to that- “Me, too.”
I find the judging part intriguing. Like the first responder, by certain standards I have been on both ends of the deal. I have crossed other people’s lines and I have judged other girls for crossing mine. I’ll admit it, I wore the Snow White dress in a bag one year and the truth is I feel more guilt over the times I’ve judged other girls then that costume. I wish that negativity wasn’t in me and most of it comes out of jealousy. I am probably thinking they have a better body or am envious over their freedom to wear whatever they want when it comes down to it.
There is still one part of me that is sad for the half-naked girl. I don’t want anyone to have to dress that way to get what they want or to feel beautiful. I wonder how she truly feels about herself and where she finds her self- worth. Who knows, maybe she is just fine and even my split second psychoanalysis is inappropriate. Or maybe I’m right and the whole deal is just sad.
Either way, I’ve decided I don’t think it’s simple. It’s not always an easy decision for a single or married girl to figure out what to wear. Some nights she wants to look grown-up beautiful (which typically means some level of sex appeal) and part of her wants this just for her. Since it isn’t simple, I can’t be quick to judge. What’s the saying? ”Don’t judge someone if you haven’t walked in their shoes. ” Or in this case, hooker heels. I think it’s good advice.
I’ll leave you with a final response I appreciated:
“I think every girl deep inside wants to feel Victoria’s Secret sexy/desirable. If indeed you are a Christian, there is no place for that kind of validation. So Halloween has somehow become the one day of the year where you can get that particular kind of validation. Like see? I can have sex appeal, too. But really, I think most women don’t understand that they could be covered head to toe and a guy will still think you have massive sex appeal, even more so than when you wear less.”
Here’s to hoping she is right about that last statement! ***but not entirely convinced.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Ladies- what do you think? Why, or do you, push the line this time of year? Is it different once you’re married? I’d love to hear a guys take on it, too! Just so you know- your email doesn’t show up and you can stay anonymous. Also, please be kind to my friends who were brave enough to be honest.
Oh and this year I went as a deer (or Harry Potter’s Patronus had I been clever enough to think of it.)