Halloween. The holiday that 60-70% of Americans claim as their favorite.
The 50 million dollar industry Americans spend each year in décor and accessories.
The one day a year when the majority of children and adults alike dress up in garb to embody a new character, a new personality, a new identity. And according to Cady Heron, the “one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
However, lots of times, having fun can come at the expense of others. After overhearing a dozen or so groups of girls talking to each other how they were planning to be “sexy cops” or “sexy nurses” or “sexy” *fill in the occupation*, I got to thinking: Why is that college girls want to dress up in hypersexualized occupational uniforms?
I did a little perusing on the Party City website and was even more stunned. The women’s costumes are organized under several different categories, and sure enough, “Career Costumes” is one of four categories marked “Customer Favorites”. It was right there next to the superhero, Disney, and pirate costumes, except there were DOUBLE the amount of “Career Costumes” than the amount of Disney and pirate costumes to choose from.
When I started looking at the career costumes, I was perturbed with the wordings of the product descriptions of the costumes, specifically the “police officer” ones.
The Adult Stop Traffic Cop Costume sets a nice tone with, “Looking this good should be criminal!” I was stunned by this description that warns, “People will beg to be arrested when they see you in our Officer Rita Dem Rights Police Costume!”
And my personal favorite: “There’s no problem here, Officer! Our Sultry Police Officer Body Shaper Costume puts sexy before the badge.”
I’m sure many of you reading this have chosen to wear a “sexy cop” costume or another hypersexualized career person costume and have intended no harm when wearing it. Perhaps you thought it was funny, or a safe bet since, because they’ve been super popular in the last several years.
So just why are there dozens and dozens of different career costumes at this store? Obviously Party City carries so many of these risqué getups because they sell. But why is it that these are so popular?
The problem isn’t that these costumes are revealing or raunchy, because by all means, please wear what you want on Halloween. The issue with these sexy career people costumes is that they’re disrespectful to the people who are actually in these career fields.
In a generation where women are STILL fighting for equality, this kind of thing only makes it more difficult for us.
We are fighting for fair pay, respect, and the safety we deserve, and one thing that most people would likely agree upon is that we want women in their workplaces being respected and supported, just like males in their fields.
When men and women see these “sexy cop” costumes with tacky plastic handcuffs and a badge on your corseted top that says “Stop Traffic” how can we expect people to respect and value women who are actual police officers?
Police women who risk their lives to protect our communities. Police women who are often disrespected and even harassed for being women.
Now I get that there are lots of people who will read this and think that dressing up as a sexy cop is still a great costume to consider this coming week. Others will think that there’s no harm done and that it’s not disrespectful at all. It’s all just fun and games, right?
Well, I urge you to consider real police officers and other professionals who wear real life career costumes every day to work. Consider the fact that these Halloween costumes don’t positively or respectively portray these occupations. Finally, consider that these professionals have done so much more than spend $49.99 at Party City to earn the right to wear this uniform.
This Halloween, please don’t hypersexualize another’s actual profession. Police officers didn’t train, study, and work for their positions with the hopes of Party City portraying their actual uniforms into sexy Halloween costumes with bedazzled badges. Besides, there are so many more creative and fun costumes ideas out there that may or may not actually “stop traffic.”