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Are “Slutty” Halloween Costumes Really Degrading?

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

By: Isabella Schneider

During college and even high school, “Halloweekend” is notorious for being jam-packed with costume parties.

However, some of these parties have become commonly associated with girls wearing as little clothing as possible, dressing as “slutty” iterations of anything humanly possible.

Men are sometimes guilty of this too — sexy firemen, superheroes, and other buff beasts tend to turn up.

Despite this, the market for “sexy” Halloween costumes is consistently and expansively targeted toward women. But, these costumes wouldn’t be popular if women did not like them and buy them, right?

While the minimal clothing and this so-called “sexy” expectation can seem degrading, it also can be empowering to some degree.

Is It Truly Degrading?

Quite simply, if women were to only wear sexy Halloween costumes based on societal pressures, then it would be considered degradation. There are many reasons why she may feel pressured into this norm.

  1. The Man

  2. Social Media

  3. To fit in

  4. To show off her body

If a woman is dressing a certain way in order to impress a guy, she is placing her physical assets over her personal feminine value. It would be even worse if a woman dressed in this manner because a man had asked her to.

The sexy Halloween costume can be used solely for social media validation. Dressing a certain way just for an Instagram post and an influx of praise is demeaning because it places a woman’s value on likes and comments. It normalizes the idea that feeling self-confident is not enough, and that one must have measurable support from an online community as well.

If a woman dresses in a sexy Halloween costume just because everyone else is doing so, she is following a herd mentality. The belief that she must show off her body in order to fit in diminishes her self-worth. It also perpetuates the myth that if she were to stray from the norm, she should somehow be judged or punished.

It is in the nature of the “sexy” costume to show off one’s body. However, if this is the costume’s sole purpose, it cultivates an unhealthy culture of comparison. It creates a sense of competition where women compare their bodies to others, rather than lift and support each other.

Or is It Empowering?

On the contrary, if a woman wears a sexy costume on her own accord and feels confident doing so, all the power is in her.

After all, Halloween is the one night a year you can pretend to be something you aren’t, and there can be a lot of power in that. There are multiple reasons why she may choose to wear a sexy costume.

  1. Friends

  2. Freedom

  3. Show off her body and hard work

  4. Unique and creative

Dressing sexy can be extremely empowering, especially if your girl gang is right by your side. In this group environment, you can lift each other up and focus on the fun and cleverness of your costumes, rather than the revealing nature of them.

There is a great deal of freedom associated with dressing sexy for yourself and not to impress anyone else. By choosing this, you are free to do whatever you want and be whoever you want, whether it’s a cowboy, alien, or both. It’s a liberating feeling to take your mind off daily life and be a new person just for one night.

Some women suffer from body dysmorphia and in turn, an overall lack of confidence. When a woman has worked so hard and she can finally feel comfortable in her own skin, it can be an empowering opportunity to showcase her body. One that she has worked both mentally and physically hard for.

Lastly, many sexy Halloween costumes offer a way for women to be creative and unique. By focusing on the creativity of a costume, women can express their artistic power and use their bodies as a unique canvas.

Halloween is meant to be fun and how you dress is a choice. Whether someone decides to dress “slutty” or not is up to them.

If they make the decision because it empowers them, then that’s wonderful. But, on the other hand, we cannot simply dismiss the implications this practice has left on society’s perception of women.


What’s your opinion on “slutty” Halloween costumes? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter!

Reach the writer on Instagram


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