Monthly Archives: October 2012

Halloween Costumes Are Sexist

There’s a lot of debate these days as to what does and does not qualify as “sexist,” so let me break this down. The root of sexism is one simple idea that has been instilled in our society for many generations:

Men are people, to be judged by what they can achieve; women are objects, to be judged by how sexually attractive they are.

Everything that can be described as sexist stems from that tragically widespread notion. For example, let’s look at a few Halloween costumes. There’s actually a convenient Tumblr page called Fuck No Sexist Halloween Costumes that gathers up loads of pictures from costume shops for male and female counterparts of various characters and themes.

Transformers!

Wow, that totally looks like a transformer!

And for the ladies…

Whoa! That looks like a… a woman wearing a skimpy dress.

Okay, let’s try something more innocent and less complicated. How about a Baby theme?

Well the proportions are obviously off, but otherwise that’s pretty accurate, I guess.

… You’ve got to be kidding me.

These are just two examples, of course, but you can go to the website and see for yourself — every women’s costume you can find is designed to be as ‘sexy’ as possible. If you’re a woman and you’ve shopped at a costume store, you’ve probably noticed this trend.

And honestly, let’s just observe this at face value. When designing costumes for men, the objective is to make it look as accurate to the source material as possible; when designing costumes for women, the objective is to make a sexy, skimpy, revealing outfit that looks sort of vaguely like the source material.

The message is pretty damn clear from where I stand: on Halloween, men dress like their favorite characters so they can pretend to be Batman or a pirate or whoever, and women dress like strippers so we can ogle them.

I don’t see how anybody can argue that this isn’t sexist. It’s definitively sexist. It’s the fucking epitome of sexism.

JPH, are you trying to say women shouldn’t be allowed to dress how they want?!?!

Hell no. I’m not slutshaming here. If you want to dress like a stripper, that’s absolutely your prerogative, and I won’t judge you for it. It’s okay to be sexy. I’m not vilifying the women who dress in skimpy outfits; I’m vilifying the corporations that manufacture nothing but skimpy outfits for women, and the culture that encourages, expects, and all but requires women to dress in skimpy outfits.

The problem isn’t that sexy costumes exist. The problem is that they exist at the expense of everything else.

If you want to buy a pre-made costume and you don’t want anything “sexy,” you’d better go to menswear, because that’s the only place you’ll find it. There are some male costumes that can fit either gender, but many are fitted specifically for the male body. And really, do you think you’re not sending any weird or negative messages to women by telling them that by wearing a concealing outfit that actually looks like the character they want to dress as, they’re crossdressing? Because that’s what it says on the sign — Menswear.

Like I said at the beginning, this is a symptom of a larger problem. This is just one thread in the vast tapestry of sexism. But it’s still a thread. Like everything else in our culture, Halloween costumes don’t exist in a vacuum; the way people dress affects our perception of the world. When we see women everywhere dressing in revealing outfits, the message we are taught — whether we consciously realize it or not — is that women’s purpose during Halloween is to look sexy. Maybe this wouldn’t be a huge deal if we weren’t also getting this message from so many other places.

And there’s nothing wrong with women looking sexy, but they should have more options than that, just like we do. Because women are people.

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My Angry Words

I am a passionate person. That isn’t really a good thing or a bad thing; it’s just a thing about me. This tends to manifest itself in me getting in heated debates or monologues on Twitter or either of my blogs. I do this in real life too, though I generally have to be around people I know to do so. Usually it’s about Serious Business, like depression, or feminism, or LGBT rights. Sometimes I’ll even get all shouty about video games. I have a lot of things to say, because there are a lot of strong feelings in my head.

Whenever I step away from these conversations or blog posts, I often feel wrong somehow. Not in the sense that I think my points were invalid or incorrect; but rather, I feel like I was being too abrasive, or too serious, or too bitter.

In short, I feel like I make an ass of myself too often.

I don’t actually know how true this is. I mentioned it a day or two ago on Twitter and some friends told me I don’t make the arguments ugly or personal. I am the most biased judge of my own behavior, after all, so they may be on to something. (They are friends, though, so they¬†could just be trying to make me feel better.) And there’s always the basic logical assumption that if they really were annoyed by me, they wouldn’t follow me. That may not be 100% true though.

But I think something much more important to note is the fact that I have a nasty voice in my head called depression.

I wouldn’t characterize depression as a hulking monster that smashes your confidence and self-esteem down. I’d say it’s more like the sinister vizier behind your throne, whispering lies and dark thoughts into your head to deteriorate your mental state so that he may take over.

My depression constantly works to remind me that I don’t matter, that my life is pointless, that nobody cares about me and that I should just quit everything. It’s a major reason — if not the only reason — why I still rarely update either of my blogs, even though I’ve been unemployed for nearly two weeks.

There’s a good chance that my insecurity about my attitude is just part of that depression. Maybe my heated arguing is nothing to be ashamed of, and my depression is making me feel guilty for no reason. I honestly can’t tell.

I don’t want to be that guy, the one nobody wants to upset because he acts like an asshole if you do. I care about a lot of things, enough to talk furiously for hours on end, but I don’t want people to think less of me for that. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. Maybe some people find my opinions interesting but don’t like the way I present them. Maybe some people like reading my posts specifically¬†because of how headstrong I am.

Whatever the case may be, this has repeatedly made me feel worse about myself, and it often makes me feel discouraged from writing on Ninja Game Den. I’m not really sure what to do about this. And “sucking it up” doesn’t work. I tried.