It’s that time of year for “sexy” costumes that aren’t


What should I wear for a Halloween costume? Here’s an idea: I could go as a sexy Ph.D.

Hey, I’ve got the qualifications! It would be perfectly appropriate for me. I shudder to think of all those peons who might have only a bachelor’s degree sashaying about, masquerading far above their station.

The reviews are enlightening, though. It seems that selling the image of hardworking scientists as sex objects is rather awful and demeaning.

So don’t get that costume. Actually, this whole business of sexy costumes is gross and discriminatory. So I tried looking for something more appropriate for me…search for “spider costume for adult man“.

Oooh, it still popped up with a sexy halloween costume. This has gone too far.

Comments

  1. says

    I started Uni at the tender age of 18. My first biology lecturer was a 19 year old PhD student who had graduated with her BSc at 16. Not only was she brilliant she dressed pretty much like the “PhD” in that costume. The skirts were a bit longer and her blouses more see through and she had the undivided attention of every male student. No skipping her lectures and practicals.She may have been drop dead gorgeous to a 18 year old male but she also had a beautiful mind and her lectures and pracs were jam-packed with information and ideas and most of us learned much more about plant genetics, (her research area), than was in the syllabus.

  2. drken says

    Actually, I’m a bit more annoyed at the lack of chevrons on the sleeves of that “PhD” costume than the objectifying nature of it. It’s obviously a sexy baccalaureate costume.

  3. lotharloo says

    Also, the hat is fucking stupid, a PhD defense is not a high school graduation ceremony. I guess the designer saw the “student” part and went with that.

  4. says

    May I suggest a slight fantastical twist? “P.Z. Driders”, the half-Drow, half-spider archwizard who leads a swarm of abyss-born arachnids to overthrow the cruel tyranny of Lolth. (Who wants to Make the Underdark Great Again.)

  5. brain says

    Actually, this whole business of sexy costumes is gross and discriminatory

    Actually, it isn’t. At least it’s not discriminatory: “gross” is more a matter of personal tastes and culture). I don’t see why a costume of a “sexy scientist” should imply anything about how actual scientists dresses in real world. And really don’t see how “sexy costumes” can promote rape culture. Unless, of course, you think that women should not dress in a sexy way to avoid exciting men that then could rape them, a position that you can successfully promote together with religious fundies.

  6. says

    Jonathan Norburg (#5) – I thought you said bad joke…then again, it was.

    Q: What are the Hallowe’en DNA nucleobases?

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    A: BATenine, CRYPTosine, GHOULanine and TOMBine.

  7. says

    Actually, this whole business of sexy costumes is gross and discriminatory.

    It’s not up to you to forbid other people from wearing sexy clothing if they want to do so. And, yes, there are plenty of people who do enjoy wearing sexy clothes.

    Clothing that reveals human skin isn’t necessarily a problem in itself. The problem is the fact that humans live in a sexist society that practices objectification.

    My opinion is that humans—both male and female—should be allowed to wear sexy clothing of they want to do so because of personal preferences. Enforcing some kind of modest dress code upon people is wrong. All the modesty requirements and Christian obsession with forbidding people from showing too much skin in public are just silly. All the people already know how a semi-naked human body looks like, so what’s the big deal. This particular dress isn’t even that revealing, it has long sleeves, shoulders are covered. The way I see it, even wearing sexy clothing for the sake of another person isn’t necessarily bad in itself. For example, I like it when my boyfriend wears sexy clothing for me. As long as I’m not mistreating him, there is no problem.

    The problem is that people, most commonly women, are mistreated because of whatever clothing they are wearing. They will get mistreated if they wear sexy clothes and they will get mistreated also if they wear non-sexy clothing. The problem is that women are pressured by the society to wear certain types of clothing. I’d prefer a world in where every person was free to choose to wear whatever clothes they like. And that includes also sexy outfits. Or nudity. Or whatever the hell somebody likes.

  8. monad says

    Folks, sexy costumes do not need to be gross or discriminatory, but the whole business of sexy costumes is gross and discriminatory. That’s how systemic problems work. It’s like arguing that men should in fact be allowed to win the Nobel prize or police should be allowed to arrest black people – of course, but there’s also a whole context for what happens in practice.

  9. cartomancer says

    I’ve never understood this strange American phenomenon of the “sexy” Halloween costume.

    We don’t have it here in Britain. Not really (I imagine one or two people might have tried importing the custom from over there, but it’s certainly not mainstream in any way). Here a Halloween costume is supposed to be some variant of spooky or scary. Often adorable comedy scary rather than actual horror film scary, but “sexy” just isn’t on the menu. We tend to think of Halloween costumes as a thing for children, or for those entertaining and interacting with children. You wouldn’t really want to bring sexy into that.

    Which is odd really, since human sexuality is just about the most scary and uncomfortable thing a British person can find themself confronted with. Edging out genuine emotional connection into a close second.

  10. Kip Williams says

    After minute study of photographs, and thoughtsperimentally imagining myself in them, I’ve just about concluded that it’s not really the costume that’s sexy.

  11. brain says

    monad @11:

    Folks, sexy costumes do not need to be gross or discriminatory, but the whole business of sexy costumes is gross and discriminatory

    Focusing on the “discriminatory”, what does that exactly means? I can’t find a meaning in that sentence.

  12. says

    The problem isn’t that somebody wants to wear a sexy costume. One of my favourite carnival costumes was a sexy as hell and accurate CanCan dress in black and raspberry pink.
    The problem is that women’s costumes get to be sexualized regardless of what the costume is. You cannot go as a zombie, got to be sexy zombie. But heavens forbid that your body isn’t thin and you show some skin. Then you are disgusting.
    And this starts with preteen girls so don’t tell me it isn’t gross.

  13. lumipuna says

    Giliell wrote:

    The problem is that women’s costumes get to be sexualized regardless of what the costume is.

    Indeed – or perhaps rather one might say that feminine costumes are both sexualized and labeled as “women’s costumes”, hence suggesting that women should always wear a feminine-sexy costume. For men, there’s apparently no expectation of a sexy or even gendered costume (or else any non-feminine costume gets lazily labeled as “men’s costume”), almost no masculine-sexy costumes to choose from, and only limited leeway to wear a feminine-sexy costume.

    But heavens forbid that your body isn’t thin and you show some skin. Then you are disgusting.

    That, too.

  14. lumipuna says

    Now, since in this context “sexy” apparently means basically “feminine and skimpy”…

    You could go meta and wear a “sexy Halloween costume” Halloween costume. It’d be a costume that blends together all specific themes of sexy Halloween costumes of so that they negate each other, leaving only pure, bland, generic sexiness.

    In practice, it’d likely be a nice warm bodysuit mimicking skin color on arms and legs (either your own skin tone, or the color officially known as “nude”) with a generic mini dress covering the torso. It’d suit all genders and could be tailored for all bodies.

  15. brain says

    @17 Giliell

    The problem is that women’s costumes get to be sexualized regardless of what the costume is.

    Proofs of this?
    I made a quick experiment:
    1) google “halloween costumes zombie girl”: you get many sexy costumes but also many (even if less) not-sexy ones.
    2) google “halloween costumes zombie unisex”: you get tons of zombie costumes, most of them are not sexy.
    3) google “halloween costume vampire male”: almost all of them are sexy (that’s the opinion of two female friends of mine).
    4) google “halloween costume vampire female”: the vast majority is just the feminine equivalent of the male version.

    So, I think PZ point and your own do not stand against evidence.

  16. lotharloo says

    @brain:
    It’s not about “sexy”. it’s about a particular type of “sexy”. For example, I googled “halloween costume vampire male” and none of them were “sexy”, in fact I challenge to find a single “halloween costume vampire male” which features some bare skin, or emphasizes some “sexy male characteristics”, whereas there are tons of “halloween costume vampire” for women featuring short dresses, cleavages, etc. Again, there’s no problem with revealing dresses, the problem is that, and this is the problem your post admits to, for a piece of clothing for women to be sexy, it has to reveal skin and be worn by slim bodies, whereas “sexy” clothing for men allows for more variety; as apparently two of your female friends admit, the men’s clothing can be sexy without being revealing. This narrative and double standard is also shoved down your throat by advertisements, and companies trying to sell cheap crap made to be worn for one day.

  17. says

    <

    blockquote>“halloween costumes zombie girl”

    <

    blockquote>
    should get 0 sexy costumes. Obviously.
    Okb, to be scientific, now repeat for “nurse”, “police officer”, “firefighter”.
    Oh, and funny enoughb this was the “top result” (i.e. paid advertising):https://www.google.com/search?q=halloween+costume+zombie+man&oq=halloween+costume+zombie+man&aqs=chrome..69i57.13711j1j7&client=ms-android-om-lge&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#idx=OTTO&pie=plar-ti

  18. Kagehi says

    @10

    “The problem is that people, most commonly women, are mistreated because of whatever clothing they are wearing.”

    I, in principle, mostly agree with brain’s comment, up to a point, and the above is, again “almost” why. The real problem is that this above sentence should read, “The problem is that people, most commonly women, are mistreated regardless of whatever clothing they are wearing.” Just ask pretty much anyone, no matter what they where wearing at the time, who where a) a rape victim, and b) it was argued in court, “It must be something about what she was wearing at the time.”

    Otherwise, yeah, like a lot of people put it, someone should be able to flat out walk naked down the street if they want, not just in something “sexy” and not be harassed, but.. while you might get by with that in a few places in Europe, you won’t in 99% of the US, without getting harassed by nearly everyone.

  19. brain says

    @22 lotharloo

    It’s not about “sexy”. it’s about a particular type of “sexy”

    Well, no. All the thread started with PZ complaining about PhD women being sexualized (through halloween costumes). The remark from the PhD woman he pasted in are on the same line. I don’t care what you think is sexy and what kind of sexy is fine for you.

    the problem is that, and this is the problem your post admits to, for a piece of clothing for women to be sexy, it has to reveal skin and be worn by slim bodies, whereas “sexy” clothing for men allows for more variety; as apparently two of your female friends admit, the men’s clothing can be sexy without being revealing

    Oh, so you 1) disregarded the fact that many “sexy” female attires you can google are actually the same as male version in terms of bare skin levels, and 2) want to tell my female friends what they should find sexy or not sexy.

    @23 Giliell:

    “halloween costumes zombie girl” should get 0 sexy costumes. Obviously.

    Why on Earth?

  20. lotharloo says

    disregarded the fact that many “sexy” female attires you can google are actually the same as male version in terms of bare skin levels

    Hahaha, what a dumb shit to say. Yes, I disregard that fact, because that is irrelevant. What is relevant is that you made a claim, no wait, you made an “experiment”, an EXPERIMENT, an [with big bold fonts]EXPERIMENT to refute the easily observable fact that “The problem is that women’s costumes get to be sexualized regardless of what the costume is.”

    And what was your experiment? You googled some pictures of vampire costumes for men vs women and you asked you two friends to judge the costumes of men. Great experimental design buddy, you must be a top-notch researcher about get a Noble prize in some badass area. Yet, independent analysis of your experimental data shows that almost no “male vampire costume” reveals skin and the supposed “sexy” ones are just the well-tailored and well-designed pieces of clothing with good color balance etc, whereas “female vampire costumes” have a large percentage of costumes featuring garter belts, deep cleavages for the tits to almost fall out, and short enough skirts for panties to be visible, and so on and so on.

    Therefore, the independent analysis is in line with the original claim that “women’s costumes get to be sexualized regardless of what the costume is”. The independent analysis confirms that while there are some categories of male costumes that are sexualized (i.e., “fireman costume”), the vast majority of “male costumes” are just costumes whereas the vast majority (I dare to say all?) of female costumes have a significant percentage of “costumes with tits almost falling out” regardless of what the fuck the costume is supposed to be about.

  21. lotharloo says

    @brain:
    Oh I forgot to add. Since apparently you need help to observe the obvious, I looked up a random “halloween custome” website and it had “sexy men costumes”.
    https://www.halloweencostumes.com/sexy-mens-costumes.html
    It includes typical “sexy men’s costumes” such as firefighter, Greek/medieval warrior, cop, and sailor as well as some that were surprising to me (“sexy priest”). In total, the list was short and with limited variation: there were 52 costumes.

    Then, you open “sexy women’s costumes”
    https://www.halloweencostumes.com/sexy-womens-costumes.html
    And you are greeted by a list of 738 fucking costumes, for a whopping 1415% increase compared to men, and you can pretty much find any type of costume there, as opposed to “sexy costumes for men” that offers very very limited selection of costumes. So yeah, women’s costumes are sexualized as helll, regardless of what the costume is about.

  22. says

    I challenge to find a single “halloween costume vampire male” which features some bare skin, or emphasizes some “sexy male characteristics”, whereas there are tons of “halloween costume vampire” for women featuring short dresses, cleavages, etc.

    In my opinion, something like this https://images.halloweencostumes.ca/products/41208/3-2/mens-dashing-vampire-costume.jpg is a very sexy costume. (I’m sexually attracted to men, and I consider suits sexy.)

    But fine, I see that our tastes differ and you won’t call a men’s costume “sexy” unless it shows some bare skin. Here are some examples of exactly that:
    https://assets.yandycdn.com/Products/DG_9893_3_2018Halloween.jpg

    https://assets.yandycdn.com/Products/IC_11082.jpg

    https://hips.hearstapps.com/vader-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/1560453142-412csl-vM4L.jpg?crop=0.667xw:1xh;center,top&resize=480:*

    Incidentally, plus size Halloween costumes for women exist. Women’s costumes that are loose fitting and have pretty much all the wearer’s skin covered up also exist.

    Personally, I don’t complain about Halloween costumes, because people actually have a choice about them. There exist sexy costumes for both men and women. There exist non-sexy costumes for both men and women. Each person is free to choose whatever suits their preferences. Halloween is one of those few occasions where people have an immense freedom of choice in terms of clothing. Each person can choose pretty much anything. Nobody is forcing a women to wear a sexy Halloween costume.* A woman can literally dress up as a nun and have all of her body covered up with loose garments. If some women freely choose to wear sexy stuff instead, then they should have a right to make this choice.

    What I would complain about instead is pretty much every other occasion where dress codes for women are so much tighter. There exist countless events where women are literally forced to wear an evening dress or a cocktail dress. All of those are revealing as hell. There are events where women are forced to wear high heels. Even the formal business attire for a woman includes high heel shoes. Does some woman want to wear comfortable footwear instead? She’ll be told “fuck you” instead. Halloween is one of the rare occasions where women can wear whatever shoes they like.

    Back when I finished school at 18, I was forced to wear a dress and high heels for the graduation ceremony. All the dresses my female classmates wore were pretty revealing. My school literally forced me to wear this sexy shit, I wasn’t given the choice to wear a nice male suit instead. This https://andreasavester.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/school.jpg is a photo from my school’s graduation ceremony, that’s how “no choice” looks like. I wasn’t allowed to dress as a man. I wasn’t allowed to abstain from wearing shoes in which I cannot even walk properly. By the way, in this photo I’m the only female-looking person with pale skin, no make-up, eyeglasses, and no fancy haircut. I sucked at being a sexy woman even before I decided to live as a man.


    * Of course, women do get mistreated whenever somebody else doesn’t approve of their fashion choice. Too sexy, and she’ll be called a “slut,” too modest, and she’ll be called “ugly.” But that’s a broader problem that isn’t limited to Halloween costumes only.

  23. says

    lotharloo @#27

    Among those “738 fucking costumes” I found also https://www.halloweencostumes.com/wicked-witch-womens-costume.html this one (in 3rd page). If we agree that this costume is “sexy,” then we also should agree that the average male vampire costume is “sexy.”

    My conclusion is that in this website there are different standards for how male and female costumes are labelled. For a male costume to be deemed “sexy” it needs to have a bare chest, for a female costume to be labelled “sexy,” it doesn’t even need to reveal that much skin.

  24. lotharloo says

    @Andreas Avester:
    It is clear from your posts that you don’t know what is it that you are arguing against. For example, “I see that our tastes differ and you won’t call a men’s costume “sexy” unless it shows some bare skin“. No, this is not about me, you don’t understand your opposition. Or “Incidentally, plus size Halloween costumes for women exist. Women’s costumes that are loose fitting and have pretty much all the wearer’s skin covered up also exist.” Yes, correct but it is irrelevant, you don’t understand what is it that you are arguing against. Or you say that “Personally, I don’t complain about Halloween costumes, because people actually have a choice about them” which once again is irrelevant. Yes, true, trivially true, obviously true but irrelevant.

    Then you move onto say “What I would complain about instead is pretty much every other occasion where dress codes for women are so much tighter” and this I find amazing. Yes, yes, maybe you are onto something, perhaps things are connected. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that a society whose halloweencostume websites list 1400% more sexy women’s costumes than men’s will also be the society that enforces more stringent dress codes on women. Maybe, perhaps maybe, there could be a more general theory, supported by observations that could explain these points and potentially even more. I encourage you to keep your eyes open and to observe how men and women are treated, shown in movies, depicted in paintings, and in general treated by the society or different societies. Perhaps you can stumble upon this big theory.

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