Little Red Riding Hood in thigh-high stockings and a bright red mini-skirt does not seem to go to grandma at all. And Mashenka in a tight corset and high heels looks as if she slept in all the beds in which it was possible. There is also a witch dressed as a cheerleader, a fairy who bought a costume at Victoria's Secret, and a cowgirl in a napkin-sized skirt.
Anyone who has watched the evolution of women's Halloween fancy dress in the past few years will not be surprised at these images taken from the websites of major carnival costumes, which are more associated with a strip club than a book of fairy tales. Nor will he be surprised at other costumes of dubious taste that barely cover the bodies of thousands of women who find them innocuous displays of fun on Halloween.
“It's the kind of night even a good girl can dress up like a lady in BDSM and still walk with her head held high the next day,” says Linda Scott, a marketing professor at Oxford and author of Fresh Lipstick: The New look at fashion and feminism ".
The trend is so strong that students write about it in university newspapers, and comedian Carlos Menzia proposes to rename Halloween as "Dress Up Whore Day."
But the abundance of costumes on the verge of decency that so many women will choose for their October 31 parties raises a deeper question: Why are women increasingly choosing Wonder Woman over a Wonder Woman costume over just Wonderbra bras? ?
"Given that the equality movement has been going on for decades, one would expect more gender-neutral fancy dress," says Eddie Nelson, author of The Pink Dragon - Female: Carnival Costumes and Gender Formation.
Dr. Nelson, professor of sociology at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, says the trend towards overtly sexy costumes starts in women during childhood. "Girly heroines and femininity tend to stay within the femme fatale image," she says, adding that such images include Disney characters, witches, waitresses, French maids and "indistinguishable various beauties."
Dr. Nelson, who researched children's carnival costumes, says that already in girls 'costumes, gender characteristics are much more pronounced than in boys' costumes: costumes for girls are designed to imitate the chest line, which does not exist yet.
Male costumes are usually grotesque or awkward - like the Beer Can costume. And if men dress up as police officers, firefighters or soldiers, they usually just look like people of these professions. The exact same suits for women are so tight and short that they are only suitable for jumping out of the cake in them, and not fighting an emergency.
However, many women, obviously, do not mind at all that Halloween becomes not an excuse to eat candy, but an opportunity to become candy themselves.
What's more, many women believe showing their bodies is "a sign of independence and self-confidence," says Pat Gill, director of the Institute for Communication Studies and professor of gender studies at the University of Illinois.
Many women's costumes, with their doll dresses and baby sandals with heels, evoke the image of Lolita and reinforce the cultural message that adolescence is sexy.
"In the long term, this is not a good strategy for women," says Deborah Tolman, professor of gender studies at the University of San Francisco.
However, this does not mean that women should not use Halloween as an opportunity to get rid of complexes.
"I think it depends on how you do it," says Tolman. "I won't say it's bad for all women."
Sometimes, some scholars say, it’s even good. By modifying the image of famous childhood heroines from books such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella or The Wizard of Oz, women can display a sense of humor and courage in this way, Gill said. "Humor gives you confidence and a sense of your own strength, which is not enough just to look sexy," she says.
On the other hand, perhaps women are buying all these naughty outfits because there are simply no others.