A Trip to the Halloween Store or The Spirit of Halloween is to Objectify Women


My mother and I recently visited one of those Halloween stores that pop up in closed out retail spaces every October, “Spirit Halloween.” I think most people enjoy Halloween. As a classroom teacher, it has become a day I look forward to mostly. I say mostly because my only worry is that one kid who has a hate-on for me finding out where I live and egging my car. But I enjoy seeing all the kids come to school in their costumes and coming up with my own costume. The students always seem to really enjoy seeing their teachers dressed up and I try hard not to disappoint. But finding a costume is not always easy.

Every year it’s the same thing. Teachers are busy, (I think I have mentioned this in previous posts), and making a costume is time consuming. So a visit to the Halloween store is an easy fix. Or is it? Every year I am reminded of the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie and Miranda go shopping for Halloween Costumes and Miranda points out that the only kinds of costumes for women are “Sexy Kitty” or “Slutty Nurse” or something to that effect. The final episode of Sex in the City aired in 2004 and 13 years later not much has changed.

Browsing in the store, there were some great costume ideas. Little Red Riding Hood?


Very appropriate for a teacher, indeed.

Maybe I could be sporty. How about going as a referee?


Oh yes. This will work. Definitely. Especially if I tie up the shirt like it shows in the inset. “Adult Costume” is right. It should be rated Triple X.

Certainly, though, I could dress up like a mummy. I know, I could easily just wrap a roll of toilet paper around myself just as easily, and for a lot less money. But, why not spend $40 dollars on this:


I don’t think things have gotten any better in terms of the objectification of women in Halloween costumes since that Sex in the City episode. If anything, it has gotten worse.

I took another photo to show the wide selection of women’s costumes:


And yes, female high school students come to school in these costumes! These costumes shouldn’t be sold in a Halloween store; they should be sold in a sex store.  We buy into the idea that it is our choice to dress in the sexy costume, but it is really the only option available at the stores. How can it be a choice when only one option is given? The most irksome part of it for me is the justification given for allowing our young girls to dress in these kinds of provocative clothing: that if we do not allow them to, we are taking away their power. When girls and women wear these kinds of outfits, they are objectifying themselves, taking away their own power and that of other women. As long as women and girls are using their sex appeal as a means to attain power, women will never have true equality in the world. As long as men view us as sex objects, we will never see a woman president of the United States.  We are objectifying ourselves by buying into the idea that a costume like this gives a woman any kind of legitimate power.

To further highlight the value placed on the sexy costumes, I will show you the one dress-up item I was able to find for women that wouldn’t be considered as traditionally sexy:


There were other wigs too- sexy, long hair in every colour. The sexy wigs all cost $29.99 but note the price of $14.99 on poor old granny. Granny isn’t sexy apparently and so has a lesser value. She’s not in as much demand. Which brings me to my final observation on my Halloween store rant: did anyone notice that in all the images of the costumes on the packages that all of the women are white? Apparently, women of color don’t celebrate Halloween. Oh, wait. They do. I don’t have a picture but there is a granny wig for Black women, with a photo of an older Black woman shaking her finger; you know that stereotypical older, loud and opinionated Black woman. I didn’t take a photo of it, so please just trust me that it’s there. So in the Halloween costume shop, there are lots of sexy costumes marketed to White women because either women of color don’t exist, or they’re just not sexy (according to the marketing powers that be.)

So to sum up, female teachers can’t buy Halloween costumes at Halloween costume stores. And neither should you. Fight the (male) power!




The End of the BFF?


A very good friend of mine recently added a post to her Facebook wall, “11 Weird Signs Your Friendship is Ending” by Kaitlyn Wylde. My friend, who I’ll just call Alice-son, and I used to be inseparable, but over the years our lives have changed in different directions and we haven’t been in touch as often as we were. I became a teacher and moved to a small town over 300ish kilometres away (200ish miles). She had 2 kids. Our lives are very different now. She posts pictures of her kids on Facebook almost daily. I, on the other hand, rarely post on Facebook. I use it occasionally for the messenger feature, generally to chat with another close friend, T.M., who doesn’t have a cellphone. I know, crazy, right? Someone who doesn’t have a cellphone?

I read the post about the 11 Weird Signs and immediately wondered, is this directed at me? I know, it’s probably kind of self-centred for me to think it was all about me, but when I finally got a hold of her for a long overdue chat, low and behold, it is about me. I want to address these “11 Weird Signs” and I underlined weird because it’s kind of a weird title in itself. If it was a post about a romantic relationship ending, these would not be weird at all. If it was an article about a romantic relationship, I would title the article: “Wake Up, Dummy, and See the Writing on the Wall.” But the thing is friendships are not romantic relationships. So it’s time for me to unpack these “weird signs.”

Communication Is One-Sided


The explanation given in the article is that if your friend doesn’t call you back, she doesn’t care about you. But does it? I mean, maybe I’m not calling you back because I’m busy as fuck with all the responsibilities of being an adult. When we are kids, we don’t have any responsibilities other than school. You have a lot of free time. As adults, you have commitments: jobs, spouses, family. Maybe it’s about finding the time to call. Jeesh, I don’t have time to take a freaking bath for an hour. I can’t remember the last time I relaxed in the bathtub. If I don’t have time for myself, how am I supposed to find time to call a friend? If someone is a true friend, they will understand that.

She’s No Longer Your Lifeline

This one is all about your friend being the first person you want to share good or bad news with. I’m sorry, but I’m married. The first person I’m going to share news with is my spouse. Does that make me a bad friend? Like wtf?

Plans Are Put Off

Here, Kaitlyn admits that often plans fall through. But she says if your friend doesn’t make it a priority to reschedule that you are no longer a priority. Maybe. Or maybe other priorities such as work, your spouse and your family are a little more important now than the friend you made beaded bracelets for. Maybe it’s more difficult now to find time to reschedule plans because, I don’t know, of life. Duh, again, as adults there are so many more responsibilities: aging parents, funerals, weddings, work, children, etc.. Again, real friends should understand that as we get older, there are other things that have to take priority over friendships. And if you are a priority to them, they should get that.

You Feel Like You’re Being Replaced


Um, okay, so if my friend makes a new friend, she may forget about me? What are we in junior high now? Maybe, just maybe, she’s making a new friend because she’s a mom and I’m not, so she connects more with other moms.

Or maybe, because I live 3 hours away, I can’t just call up my friend to go for a coffee at Timmy’s. Grrr.

You’re Not Up-To-Date

facebookTo sum up, if your friend doesn’t directly tell you news about their life and you find it out on social media, they, again, don’t see you as a priority. In a world devoid of social media, I would agree- say if I found out news from a friend of my friend. But in our technology saturated world, people just tend to share online first. Good grief, my husband and I found out our niece was born on Facebook. My husband’s brother didn’t call us or his mother! He just posted the pics on Facebook. People just don’t call anymore with news. It’s quicker and easier I guess to just use your smartphone and post. I don’t necessarily agree with it personally, but to use it as a reason for a friendship ending is just ridiculous.

There’s Nothing To Talk About

Kaitlyn makes the point here that if you catch up on your lives and then it’s just awkward silence, that maybe it’s time for the friendship to end. Maybe it’s just time for the conversation to end. Just because you can’t think of anything else to say, doesn’t mean it’s time to drop your friend. True friends can be silent with each other and it feels comfortable. But if you’re quiet and it feels stressful trying to think of more to talk about then Kaitlyn does have it right here.

You Don’t Make Future Plans

So if you can’t find time to get together, maybe you’re just not feeling it anymore. You’ve lost that loving feeling. And then my personal favorite line: “When people want to do something, they make it work.” How about, if people are truly your friends, they understand that we are all busy. They should understand that now that we are adults that it’s not that easy to make plans anymore. Grrrrrrrrrr!

You’ve Lost Trust

This one is all about “saving your secrets for someone else.” Um, yes, I do. I like to call him my husband.

You’re No Longer On The Same Team

Apparently, close friends are on the same side and you defend each other. Um, maybe I’m not a good friend. If you are my friend, I will support you. But if you’re doing something shitty, for example, cheating on your spouse, I’m not defending you. I’m going to tell you that you’re shitty. Yes, I’ll keep your dirty little secret. But I’m not on your side. Just sayin’.

You’re Using Each Other

This just seems so high school to me. Kaitlyn points out that if you’re more likely to text your friend with a question than with a check-in, then you’re friendship is going down the toilet. I don’t know. I can see it, but at the same time, with busy adult lives, shouldn’t we recognize that friendships change over time and that if we call or text for help, it’s not using each other. It’s reaching out in a time of need. True friends can have times where they don’t see each other for long periods, but you know that when you need them, they will be there.

You Can No Longer See Value

Okay, my girl, Kaitlyn. I think you are right on here. So true. If you ask yourself the question, what positive things does this person bring to my life and you can’t think of anything, maybe it’s time to end the friendship. But ending a friendship over difficulties of finding the time to spend together is just ridiculous. And a true friend, in my opinion, gets that. They aren’t going to toss you just because you’re busy and you aren’t going to toss them for the same reason.

Sesame Street stoop

I’ve had a lot of friends come and go in my life. But true friends can always pick up where they left off. They don’t judge you, and when you need them, they are there. Time spent is about quality, not quantity. I would love to spend more time with my girlfriends, but it’s not always possible or realistic. What’s important is that the time I do get to spend with my friends is fulfilling and memorable, regardless of whether it’s going for coffee, a walk or just chillin’ on their Sesame Street style stoop.


Your BFF,