Thursday, October 18, 2007

Smoke, Mirrors, and Sexy Witches

Stop telling me what to do! Seriously, STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!!!

"Sexy should be the way you define it--free from peer pressure and the influence of a junk culture." How about free from the endless commentary from all sides about how we should and shouldn't dress ON HALLOWEEN, for hell's sake.

Last year (wow, really, a whole year ago), Annie blogged on Jews and Halloween and how we love it (or don't, actually, love it at all). I'm astounded that I didn't blog about Prettyboy's infamous Halloween party or the costuming I witnessed there.

For the record, there was more skin there than at market day in a nudist camp. There was even a young woman in assless chaps. 'Nuff said.

I went as a gangster, with a cigar and fedora and suspenders. Perhaps my lack of decolletage (and did I mention the assless chaps?) is why Prettyboy claims I dress like a nun (I don't, for the record, dress like a nun). At the time, I thought to myself: I can be sexy without being a sexy nurse or cat or witch. I can even wear pants and be sexy! Plus, it's Halloween! Who cares if I'm sexy (well, um, I did. Prettyboy and I had just started casually dating and I'll admit to wanting to be the hottest chick there. I didn't anticipate assless chaps, but I think I pulled off my own version of hot. My own, much more covered, not purposefully attempting to make that statement, version of hot.)

Yet now, upon reading Debra Condren's Huffpost post (redundant), all I want to do is slap on a pair of chaps and go marching through Times Square. Look at my ass! It's Halloween! Woo-hoo!

I probably won't, there are appropriate times to remove one's clothing and inappropriate times (no comment from the peanut gallery on this one, please). Likewise, I define how and where I want to be sexy (the answers: in any way I damn well choose and anywhere).

I think that's the point.

Sexy isn't about what you wear, so all this endless chattering about clothed and unclothed is all distraction from the real issue: the commodification and objectification of women's sexuality. I know, big words, I'm sorry, but it's true. These commentators aren't talking about clothing, they're talking about women. And in only addressing one aspect of a women (her body parts, her outfit), they're removing her humanity.

Do the endless commentators on women's dress realize that they're compounding the problem by objectifying us? Condren claims that women are disempowering themselves by wearing revealing clothing on Halloween; that the true way to be empowered is to cover up. Yawn. Wasn't there just a book written on the subject?

Once again, it's all how men perceive us:
Single and looking? Consider the type of partner you want to attract when you're
contemplating how you'll present yourself to the world, even for just one night.
Remember: the brainy, fully-clothed-yet-somehow-mesmerizing-librarian look attracts a totally different animal than does the Playboy Bunny who has nothing substantive to say or do. Think about it. Step out as Tina Tequila and you'll attract a like-minded buffoon.
Does no one else see the irony of arguing feminist values from "dress like that and no nice man will want you"?
Think about the issue in terms of discussions about hip hop lyrics. Talking heads mouth off endlessly on their crassness and violence, without addressing the race and class politics underlying their creation. It's a way of pretending to talk about the issues without actually addressing the root of the problems. It's about perception of propriety by the powerful and not about the content of the words and the actions (the language of the music and the wearing of provocative clothing).

So if the issue is that women are only valuing themselves insofar as they attract men, then let's address that. If the issue is that women are objectified and sexualized far too young, let's address that. But let's throw out the smoke and mirrors bullshit that is the discussion of sexy Halloween costumes.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go try on my sexy mental patient outfit.


Annie said...

I am dressing up like a non-sexy pirate this year.

The Pedant said...

Annie - Remember my pirate outfit from, like, sixth grade? Are you doing that?

Liberal Jew said...


Well done. I for one will dress up like a sexy UN Peace Keeper. I have many left over blue hats from the Save Darfur rally.

Jesse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jesse said...

after reading this post, i'm going to go as a hot scientist. the only thing is, i have no idea how to be hot. i'm going to need help.

assless chaps aren't going to do it, sorry Prettyboy. I've just never seen ANY type of chaps in a lab environment, save for in UT's Bovine Dynamics department, but that's a pretty esoteric reference.

Zie said...

Hmm are we the peanut gallery? If so, by telling us not to comment on that point, just makes me want to comment more. Clothes are for fascists :) haha

harley said...

And one other thing: what's up with her presumption that Playboy Bunnies can't have brains? We can't be sexy and brainy!?! Argh!!!

Liberal Jew said...

It isn't that you can't be is just easier to look at the outsides from a far and not ask questions about complex concepts up close.

El Gigante said...

My good friends (no seriously one of their top writers is one of my good friends since Junior High) over at College Humor have this to say on the subject of sexy costumes (NSFW)

johanna said...

Hmmm, is something going on here?

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Earl said...

Sexy does not always equate to showing more skin. There are a lot of people thinking that sexy would always be associated with the amount of skin that one shows. As you've stated, you can be sexy even when you're totally covered. I remember when I wore one of my wife's styled Tony of Beverly wigs and went out as the Demon from KISS, and was called sexy. I was like, "Huh? When did KISS become sexy?" So I thought to myself, it's in how others define sexy. Besides, I wore a black leather jacket that time.

There was one time my wife wore one of her Vivica Fox wigs and went as a human sunflower and was called sexy. Her curves weren't even showing, and if you're going to look for skin, it was just her head that's exposed. Everything else is covered in costume, yet she was still called sexy.

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