Tag

young girls

Browsing

Dear Halloween: stop being so sexist

Dear Halloween,

I think you are a lot of fun. When I was a young girl, I relished the opportunity to dress up in a scary costume and go out with my friends at night. The candy — a big plus!

As I grew older, I started to go to parties. My friends and I would watch scary movies, gorge on candy and chocolate, and hit as many haunted houses as possible. Even now, at 26, I enjoy dressing up and going to Halloween-themed parties. It’s just an excuse to be a child again, right?! And there is nothing wrong with that!

But, I have to say: the older I get, the more disappointed I become. You’ve become very sexist, my dearest Halloween, and it’s becoming really hard to love you.

I was having a hard time coming up with a costume idea this year, and decided to go to a party store for inspiration. I wandered up and down the aisles, looking at all of the outfits labelled for women. It was disgraceful. Everything was “sexy”: sexy cat, sexy devil, sexy milkmaid, and sexy foods (you think I’m joking, but I’m not). Anything not labelled “sexy” was revealing in nature. All the dresses were really short and the tops were a little more boobilicious than I would like.

Of course, the male costumes are all weather-appropriate for the month of October in Canada.

Then, I made the mistake of googling “halloween costumes – ideas for women”. Oh dear, Halloween, what have you transformed into?!

You used to be a day of innocence. The day was about the scary stories, the history, and of course, the candy. People honoured the dead in your name! There would be street festivals, family dinners, and cemetery rituals. Now, even the candy is too expensive for people to care. It’s all about what people wear and who takes notice of those legs.

My biggest concern is that kids are growing up thinking this is the norm. Teenage girls are putting on plaid skirts and letting their bras show through their blouses. Girls are plastering their face with glitter and lipstick, going to parties in bikinis, dressed as pop stars or scantily-clad video game characters. The number of people I see on the subway dressed up in outfits that cover very little of their body is startling. And, it increases every year.

To be clear, if a woman wants to dress up like a sexy kitten, that is her prerogative. A woman should feel safe during this holiday to be whoever she wants to be! I’m just arguing for options!

Halloween, I know you don’t have a lot of control over people’s decision-making, but please tell me this is not what you had in mind! Please tell me you didn’t want people to objectify themselves or parade around in skimpy lingerie. Please tell me that this is all a big mistake!

Of course, you can’t tell me anything. You’ve become too commercialized, too selfish, too self-involved to care what you are doing to today’s youth.  I never thought the day would come when I would be disappointed in you, Halloween. I never thought you would give up on your roots.

At the end of the day, I stayed true to myself. I decided against buying one of those horrendous and sexist costumes, and instead purchased some makeup and went as a scary, sewn-together monster.

Because, Halloween, I will never give up on you. Even when you are at your worst.

Sincerely,

Katherine DeClerq

Fictional character to be UN ambassador for female empowerment

I’m very confused.

The United Nations has appointed Wonder Woman, a fictional character, as the honorary ambassador for the empowerment of girls and women. According to a press release, this means she “will be tasked with raising awareness about Goal 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.”

I’ve always been a big fan of Wonder Woman. There’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing an Amazon warrior outperform all of the male superheroes in the Justice League. She is strong, fierce, and completely independent. While other heroes need sidekicks or weapon experts, Diana Price just needs her wits (and maybe her lasso of truth).

But, does that mean I think this fictional superhero, no matter how iconic, should be representing the struggles of women in an international agency — no, it does not.

There are a lot of people fighting for the rights of women and young girls. There are people building schools in under-developed nations, working on gender parity in boardrooms, and fighting for a woman’s right to choose. There are those trying to end sex slavery and the forced marriage of young children. And yet, despite all of that, the UN, with the combined wisdom of political leaders from across the world, has chosen an imaginary character as the representative for women. Someone who can’t answer questions and doesn’t have to be accountable — because it’s just easier when they don’t’ have to deal with a real woman. Am I right gentlemen?

What makes me truly angry is that this whole scenario is likely a marketing stunt. DC Comics will be releasing a Wonder Woman movie next year, which means they will benefit from having the character’s photo plastered all over the world. The president of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products was at the ceremony to support the new partnership and did not seem concerned that the position of ambassador was not given to an actual living-and-breathing human being.

“We believe that in addition to the exemplary work that amazing real women are doing in the fight for gender equality, it is to be commended that the UN understands that stories – even comic book stories and their characters – can inspire, teach and reveal injustices.”

I’m all for the power of comic books and stories, but when there are girls who are being banned from attending school, who can’t get jobs, and who are being sold for their bodies, is this really the time to get commercial? The world needs results, not an imaginary woman in a glorified metal bathing suit to act as a symbol of empowerment.

I am absolutely disgusted in this decision. If the UN was having trouble coming up with a name for the position of ambassador, they should have asked Women’s Post. I have a lengthy list of women who would be better suited for the position than … well, no one.

While the decision to appoint Wonder Woman may have been intended as a symbol of power, all it’s done is show how far behind the United Nations is in terms of its goal of gender equality.

If the UN can’t think of a single woman who would be capable of empowering other women — then they have already failed.

 

wonderwoman

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter: