What has happened to gender neutral costumes?
Despite constant attention being brought to it every year, the argument against 'over-sexualised' costumes (especially those related to Halloween) has not made much headway in the media. We need only remind ourselves of the scandal associated with the sexy 'Handmaid's Tale' outfit earlier this year to illustrate that many costume companies are repeating the mistakes they have made in previous years, and only drawing attention to hidden anti-feminist sentiments.
Furthermore, costume companies are also creating an ever-increasing separation between male and female costume. This has resulted in an increase in the amount of 'over-sexualised' female costumes and the more functional, clear-cut, and more comfortable male costumes. However, this leaves an unrepresented middle ground, in which gender neutral costumes are often under-represented. This has led to many people being forced to buy into gender-stereotyping costumes.
It is especially important around this time of year to draw attention to this topic because it is something that we as consumers never seem to learn from year after year. Costumes are being re-examined constantly to accommodate to an ever-changing culture, and yet it is still an issue that gender-neutral costumes remain consistently out of the spotlight.
Now, don't get me wrong...I love Halloween parties, and I appreciate the time and effort it takes to make a costume look great. Costumes can really help to establish self-confidence; help build a positive self-image and show off a bit of their respective sexuality. But I have trouble in understanding the 'need' for companies to objectify women by over-sexualising their costumes.
Even with child costumes, this is a scene that is becoming all too common. Kids are beginning to identify that gender-neutral costumes need to become more prevalent in main-stream fashion outlets. According to a viral video that has re-emerged again this year, a 5 year-old girl was seen ranting that her favourite outfits were in the boys' section and that girls' costumes weren't very scary or cool
This sadly is all related to the gender binary that parents are establishing in their children from a young age. The gender binary follows the notion that girls should be feminine, whereas boys should be masculine. This is a huge issue in reconstructing the image of gender neutrality, and is a hurdle that won't be overcome for some time. However, it is something that can be changed by examining our own gender identities, and challenging antiquated notions of gender and sexuality.