No Shame in Expression

As Halloween approaches, it’s important to explore the culture of “slut shaming” and how it plays into Halloween fashion for young adults. When women between the ages of 14 and 30 set out to choose a Halloween costume, many of their options are what some would call “slutty.” These ensembles are often more risqué versions of popular characters or icons and usually include less clothing than the original.

This is a way of life in today’s society, and unfortunately, as of recently, so is “slut shaming.” According to an article by Huffington Post, “Slut shaming is when people send negative messages to women who acknowledge or act on their sexuality while men get no message or even a positive message for equivalent behavior.” Most of the time, it comes from women expressing their sexuality to any degree. The recent VMA performance by Miley Cyrus brings a face to the issue.

How does Miley Cyrus’ place in pop culture relate to Halloween costumes?

Cyrus shared a provocative performance with Robin Thicke, yet he has received very little criticism for being involved. Viewers may say that Cyrus has a young following and is setting a bad example, but why is it so bad for her to show her fans that it is acceptable for them to express themselves? Since she is in the spotlight, her actions are very much scrutinized, but ultimately she is merely finding a way to be herself. On Halloween, we find ways to do the opposite: be someone we are not. Most young women don’t feel comfortable dressing provocatively on a daily basis but showing off within the setting of Halloween is often a confidence booster for them. It’s just as much a form of expression. Moreover, who is to tell women how they should or shouldn’t dress?

Regardless of how many articles of clothing a woman wears or how many body parts she covers, a woman’s choice in clothing should never be construed as her asking for sex. A blog on The Huffington Post discussed a survey in which 17 percent of young adults thought that women invited sexual assault by dressing provocatively. This perception is both faulty and dangerous, not to mention damaging to women’s right of self-expression. The only way to ask for sex is by asking for sex; clothing, no matter what day of the year.


Kelli Maria Crawford, Freshman
International Affairs Major 

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