I heard similar sentiments while shopping for Halloween costumes. A teenage girl brought a ghoul costume up to her mother, and she said, “That’s gross. Come look over here.” She directed her to THE AISLE. You know the one I’m talking about:
Maybe not quite these, but pretty close. Do I take offense at grown women choosing to be sexy fill-in-the-blank? Nope. Not at all. They got to choose. But a girl who wants to be scary being told she can’t be and instead pushed into a sexualized costume? Oh yeah. Big time.
This paragraph is for the mothers. Your job is to support your child’s dreams, and if she dreams of making her friends pee their pants in fright, you let her do it. Scary is not inappropriate. It’s Halloween. Fear is a real emotion experienced by all people, particularly women, and especially teenage women. Why not let your daughter safely explore being the thing to fear? It might encourage her that she can handle the fears that come her way. That she is brave and powerful. It will certainly teach her more about fear than a costume that is too cold, that makes her feel self-conscious about her thighs/butt/breasts/whatever.
This paragraph is for the teenagers. The Halloween costume you wanted that was scary? I really like it. I think it’s cool that you would step out on the edge when society tells you to look a certain way for Halloween. You’re really getting into the spirit. If you stick to your guns, you will do lots of things your whole life that may make people afraid, so start getting comfortable with it now. You’ll enter career fields reserved for men. You’ll get big promotions at work over them. You’ll marry men and women who see you as equals rather than objects to protect like some lifelong game of Capture the Flag. If you don’t find that person, you’ll refuse to marry just to have your day, your pretty dress. You might never have kids or have them later or when you’re really ready. The truth is whatever a woman does can be seen as wrong in a world with a shape-shifting stereotype of all the things a woman is. In rejection of that idea, I present my costume this year:
I am woman and wolf. I am passionate and ferocious. If that scares you, then good. Cue the howling.