Every year around Halloween time, we inevitably see articles like this and this one making fun of the year’s most ridiculous sexy Halloween costumes. Admittedly, these are pretty hilarious. A few real issues with female Halloween costumes is the fact that more often than not, women are given few choices when trying to pick out a Halloween costume that isn’t “sexy” and the sexualization of costumes that are made for young girls. Apart from the issues specific to female costumes, there’s also the ever-persistent issue of cultural appropriation with Halloween costumes.
Although these are just a few of the many issues with Halloween costumes in current society, Halloween can be fun. I’ve always thought of Halloween as a time to dress up as someone or something you’ve always wanted to be.
Back in 2011, Jenna Marbles made a video titled, “Sluts on Halloween”. This is one of my favorite videos because instead of insulting the women who choose to wear “slutty” costumes, Jenna calls for women to quit insulting each other and, instead, compliment each other.
Last year this video in which YouTuber Nikkie puts makeup on half of her face to show the power of makeup became viral. Nikkie originally created this video to show why she loves to wear makeup and why women shouldn’t be shamed for wearing makeup.
I loved this video and still do because anytime I tell someone how much time I spend doing my makeup every day, I always get comments like, “Why would you do that?” or “You look fine without it.” It’s irritating because I wear it for myself and not the opinions of others. I wear makeup because I enjoy applying it, finding my favorite products, and trying new beauty trends.
However, I also know that I feel terrible about myself when I don’t wear makeup and get told that I look tired. I have an immense amount of respect for women who regularly don’t wear makeup. When I go without makeup I’m constantly worried about the criticisms of other people whether they voice them or not. Take For example Alicia Keys is now going without makeup as a rejection of our society’s beauty standards. It’s a beautiful and empowering act of rebellion but with all the backlash she’s received, it’s not welcoming territory to wander into if you’re thinking about not wearing makeup.
I started becoming dependent on makeup around the age of 13 when I had severe acne. I now have a decent amount of scaring that I still prefer to cover up. Given that, I spend an average of 30 minutes every morning applying makeup and I still feel pretty dependent upon it. Realizing my dependence on external beauty, I took it upon myself to challenge my ideas about my own beauty and go one week without makeup.
Indian society has a deeply rooted preference for sons. In recent years, incidents of gender-based violence such as the New Delhi gang rape have proven that strong women speaking out could be most beneficial now more than ever. Women are generally regarded by Indian society as weak and submissive, and treated unfairly without any claim to equality under the law. Misogyny, or the dislike, hatred, mistrust of women, or prejudice against women, is deeply woven throughout India’s history and culture, so much that it is seen as a part of life. The article Misogyny in India: We Are All Guilty describes how violence against women is often minimized:
“The Hindi phrase most commonly used to describe sexual violence or rape against women is “izzat lootna,” which means, “to steal the honor of.” Why should a rapist be given so much credit? Rape is a criminal act of force and perverse subjugation. When a woman is raped, her most fundamental rights as a human being are violated.”