On October 22, 2014, the media website Buzzfeed produced a video of men trying on four sexy women’s Halloween costumes: a fireman, a ladybug, a nun, and a girl scout. The video went viral in a matter of hours and currently has over one million views on YouTube. In the three minute video, the four men, who are unnamed, both comment on and joke about the costumes, calling them “ridiculous” and “stupid”. While Guy #4 makes fun of his appearance in the too-small costumes, Guy #1, becomes frustrated and angry about what the costumes represent.
The men’s diverse reactions are examples of the kind of commentary women’s Halloween costumes have received every year over the course of the last decade. On October 28, 2014, Boston.com published an article titled “Halloween is a Cruel Reminder That Women Must Strive to Be Sexy”. In the article, writer Hilary Sargent criticizes “sexy” costumes found on Amazon.com that represent the epitome of non-sexual ideals. Among the costumes she features are a “Naughty Nem-Oh” and a “Sexy Green Dinosaur”, neither of which Sargent finds appropriate or funny based on her commentary.
In sexualizing a character like Nemo, society is pushing the boundaries of what can be deemed “sexy” in our culture. If a fictional cartoon fish can be made into an object of sexual fantasy, where will the line be drawn? When the four guys in the video tried on a sexy girl-scout costume, each one commented on the bizarre nature of technically sexualizing a seven year old. One guy jokingly said, “Girl scouts shouldn’t be selling those kinds of cookies.” In fact, the majority of the quotes gathered from the four men in the video show their true feelings about the costumes themselves, as well as how each man felt while wearing the costumes:
“No fireman in the world would ever look like this.” Guy #3
“Give the girl some pants. Pants can be f**king sexy.” Guy #1
“I would feel very exposed walking down the street like this.” Guy #2
“If you don’t want to dress sexy you do not have to dress sexy…” Guy #4
After spending time in the outfits and talking it out with the video producers, the four men all stated that they do not think it’s necessary for women to dress sexually on Halloween. In communicating that women do not have to bare it all for the holiday, the guys, and the Buzzfeed video itself, is taking an important step towards eliminating the sexual nature of Halloween costumes for women and girls in our society.