The Daily Gamecock

Column: The pressures of Halloween in 'Girl World'

With the presence of social media today and Halloween coming up, a lot of college students feel pressure to dress revealingly, even if it's not what they feel comfortable in. 

There is almost an expectation for girls to dress slutty. It can even be found in pop culture such as the 2004 hit movie Mean Girls, which includes the famous quote, "In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it." 

Halloween at USC is an extraordinary occurrence. Whether you’re watching horror movies in the dark or dancing carelessly with your friends, it can be the time of your life. But the costume is what makes the night. Finding a costume might be easy for college guys — it can be as simple as wearing whatever your girlfriend wants or one of the hundreds of costumes found at a Halloween store. But for girls, it’s a little different.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt the pressure to dress more revealing than I would have in high school. The costumes I did wear in high school included a cat, a character from Grey's Anatomy and a prisoner — none of which scream sexy. I've always seen girls dressing sexy on TV and social media, showing more than I've ever felt comfortable with. So when I hit college, I wanted to fit in. Freshman year I was a sexy boxer, and this year my friends and I are going as the sexy Powerpuff Girls. 

Social media has created a new added pressure not just for Halloween, but in general — the pressure to post, the pressure to always look good and the pressure to dress in more revealing clothing. First-year nursing major Caitlin Tunstill said she agrees.

"I definitely think that there's a lot more pressure for women to be more provocative. Men, it's just kind of like they can wear whatever they want, but there's always that sexy option for women," Tunstill said.  

But dressing in a revealing way and dressing how you want can be scary. There are people who think that just because girls might wear a little less and show more skin, they want attention. Last year at a Halloween party I wore a tube top and boxers with a robe, and in some males' perspectives, this meant I wanted to be danced on even though I was just there to have fun with my friends. Some people believe they have every right to objectify a person for showing skin. 

A lot of women have each other's backs when it comes to supporting people's choice of clothing. 

“I think you should be able to wear pretty much whatever you want for Halloween, but there is definitely a lot of pressure to dress more revealing,” first-year public health student Sarah Katon said. 

Halloween shops also don’t help this problem. A lot of shops don’t offer many options for girls that aren’t sexy. 

“I think that there is the problem where it's like if it’s not something that’s sexy, it’s supposed to be something that's funny like a blow-up dinosaur costume, and it’s like you don’t always want these complete opposite ends of the spectrum, you want something in between that’s a good costume but you’re not embarrassing yourself because you’re not comfortable with whatever it is,” first-year biology student Sydney Smith said. 

There are only two ends of the spectrum for women but lots of costumes for men. At Spirit Halloween, the women's section really only consists of skin-tight costumes or funny costumes, while the men's section has a lot of different choices, whether you're feeling scary costumes, TV show costumes, funny costumes or superhero costumes.  

Halloween should be a carefree time with your friends where you can eat chocolate until you're sick. You should be able to wear what you want. Whether you’re a sexy nurse or Bob Ross, it doesn’t matter. Wear what makes you comfortable, no matter what anyone else says.