Douchebag Decree: Dress you up in nothing, from your head down to your toes


It’s almost Halloween, which means I’ll be a little anxious trying to figure out what the hell to dress as this year, as I do every year. Yet, were I to go to a Halloween costume store and try to find something, I wouldn’t really be able to find anything that exciting. Scary, sure. But not in a Halloween scary way. I’d find a lot of ridiculous outfits of all kinds that require garter belts, knee-high boots and close-to-nothing tops but that are somehow “different characters”. Yes, it’s true that the contention for Halloween costumes for ladies is not a new beef: it’s been quite awhile since “sexy” Halloween costumes have been all the rage. But when did Spongebob become sexy? Is Pocahottie seriously a choice? And Strawberry Shortcake in thigh-highs? This week’s Douchebag Decree is dedicated to Spirit Halloween Store, and other classy establishments like it, because if you don’t want to bear your bosom in the name of dress up fun, well sister, you’re shit out of luck.

I’ve joked with my friends for years that women’s Halloween costumes at these types of shops consist of the word “sexy” placed in front of any character or occupation. Sexy Logger. Sexy Bank Teller. Sexy Dinosaur. These were jokes, emphasized by a healthy dose of hyperboly. Turns out, they were not so far fetched. Exhibit A: the Spongebob Squarepants women’s costume-




What? It’s only $60? For a t-shirt and some athletic socks? Time out, the “men’s” version is an actual Spongebob costume? As in, it looks like him?


And it only costs $50?! (Only, ha, I wouldn’t pay $3 for this thing, but you get my point.)

So it’s mildly insane that someone would pay that much for that little, when it doesn’t even look like Spongebob. That’s the thing, all of these “sexy” women’s costumes cost an arm and a leg (too bad you don’t really get a skirt or a shirt with them, which I think, is what you’re trying to attain in these situations). But remember the “Pocahottie” I mentioned before? Right.


Complete with totally offensive feathers in the hair and historical inaccuracies up the wazoo!

These dreadful “costume” choices for women are terrible and sexist. The “tween” line isn’t much better (exemplified by the Strawberry Shortcake costume in the first paragraph). The line that Spirit Halloween Store offers for the ladies is called Leg Avenue, and apparently, they are so tiny not even tiny women can fit into them. There is a “plus size” line available, but there are way fewer options there and one of them is this:

That’s neat.

It isn’t as if there is a line for men called “Dudes Dudes Dudes” that offers options like Bullfighter or Vampire or cop, which are all similar because they each come with teeny tiny junk-bearing pants to keep it sexy. No, the body part showing is, as usual, relegated to the lady section.

This phenomenon was summed up quite well in the fantastic “Mean Girls”:

Honestly, I’d rather be the scary bride that Lindsay Lohan is dressed as in that clip. At least that kind of horror I can deal with.

Thanks to Danielle for the snarky conversation that inspired this blog!

by Ashley Brittner
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26 Comments Have Been Posted

Girls Costume Warehouse!

You should definitely watch this video:

(I know I really wanna be Sexy Abe Lincoln this year!)

I had some friends that worked at the Spirit Halloween Store a few years ago. It's an incredible racket! The costumes are all cheap pieces of junk that cannot stand up to repeat wearings, but cost an awful lot of money. The non-sexy costumes were few and far between. And so many of them were racially and culturally offensive.

Also, check out this ridiculous Rock N Roll Riot Girl costume.

Aren't they all made out of

Aren't they all made out of nylon and fall apart in the wash?

I've never dressed up sexy for Halloween. Last year I was a dead person, and the year before I was myself. Literally, I went as me. I wore jeans and a sweater and my hippie Jesus sandals. And I felt awesome probably because I am awesome ;-) Creative, huh? another year I was an 80s girl, and I've always made my own costumes. This year I'm going as a disco queen, and I'll be wearing my own clothes, maybe buying a fun new disco shirt.

I never understood the point of dressing up sexy... however, I've found that most of the women who wear sexy Halloween costumes usually dress similarly in every day life.

Another sexy halloween website is

I would totally wear this one as a shirt:

Who seriously wears that short of dresses?

The only time I could ever see myself wearing something like any of those costumes is in the bedroom with my fiance.

I love Halloween

But not the costumes available for women and girls. Men's costumes are even getting kinda lame. You almost have to look online at store-bought costumes for ideas and then make your own. Even if I wanted to give in to the sexy-only option, those costumes are designed for tall, leggy, busty women. Not short, flat-chested women with imperfect skin. Bleck. Commercialized Halloween is shitty and makes me sad. I know it's the 'one time of year women can dress like a slut and no one can say anything', but what if some women don't want to be sluts for Halloween? What happened to Halloween being scary costumes or at least kinda funny but not insulting? Again, bleck.

Last year I saw a "Skanky

Last year I saw a "Skanky Harry Potter", "Skanky Unicorn" and "Skanky Pumpkin" [complete with sassy lacy green nylons and garters]...good grief.

To be honest, I thought that

To be honest, I thought that the "Sexy Hermoine/Harry Potter" costume was pretty damn hilarious. Disturbing on so many levels, but hilarious at the same time.


You made me cry laughing with the pathetic options for the "plus sized" women. LOL
Seriously though, it IS awful, and I've been complaining about it for years. When did halloween become about women displaying ourselves like whores for men? It's ridiculous. My husband and I passed by a Halloween store today and we could not find one women's costume that was not sexist. I wonder how long women will put up with this- especially since it's being passed down to little girls costumes. It's disgusting.

Try another word. Stop using

Try another word. Stop using whore that way. I'm a whore and I don't dress like that. There's nothing wrong with being a whore either!

This year, I'm dressing up as an asshole who others anyone she can.

Homogenize! Wait, don't.

I totally agree. Lashing out at other women and using "slut" and "whore" in a derogatory way isn't just missing the point, it's contributing to the problem.

From what I can see, the issue isn't even the specific nature of the costumes. It's the effort to control and homogenize female sexuality, which is bullshit.

I agree

I agree

I know...I went into

I know...I went into Spencer's the other night at the mall and they had all their costumes up against a wall. I saw one for a cop (duh), a prisoner that said 'GUILTY' across the upper back which made me cringe, and a "Mafia Mama" or something along that line. I noticed that THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME.

The female Spongebob costume is full of FAIL.

But it's So Empowering! . . . wait, right?

Tina Fey definitely hit on something with her Mean Girls quote: halloween is the day you can dress like a "total slut" and no one can say anything. But the disturbing implication behind this phenomenon goes deeper than "no one can say anything". What's really being said is, "no one can DO anything."

Think about it. Women are taught to believe that, even though we have the "right" to walk down the street in lingerie, doing so isn't very safe. In spite of our alleged rights to freedom, walking down the street in a teddy is still VIEWED from a societal standpoint as "asking for trouble." Even if you get to your destination untouched, numerous douchebags will have gone out of their way to holler at you and try to make you feel like shit.

But not on Halloween! On Halloween, you're free to dress as "skankily" as you want and no one can use it as an excuse to pass judgement on your character. You're being told: 364 days of the week you're not REALLY free . . . but tonight you are! (Oh joy.)
This way, they can liken these "sexy" costumes to a form of empowerment (lucky us) when, like so many male-created forms of so-called female empowerment, they're really about controlling/homogenizing women and pleasing men.

Thus, the "opportunity" to wear whatever you want on Halloween and still feel (relatively) safe becomes: the opportunity to wear the same manufactured "skanky" costume that EVERY GIRL MUST WEAR so that men can be turned on by the amount of skin you're showing. Thanks Spirit Store!

As for me, as usual, I'll be making my own damn costume.

My first job was at a

My first job was at a Gardening shop. At halloween we set up a big costume tent and I couldn't believe the crap that passed as a Halloween costume. I always made my costumes (or my mom made them) so this was a brand new experience for me. Almost every female costume could be described as sexy this or sex that. Seriously? Not only is that a stupis ass theme for every costume in of itself but it is really impractical. In my state there is usually snow on the ground by Halloween. The idiot who bought the sexy nurse costume would get hypothermia by the time she got to whatever party she was going to.

Someday I want to subvert

Someday I want to subvert the idea of the "sexy nurse" costume by dressing up as the un-sexiest nurse ever for Halloween—yep, I'm talking about Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest! I like that idea in general, taking "sexy" costume tropes and making them deliberately un-sexy.

This is why I make my own costume

I'm from New Orleans, and Halloween is my favorite holiday with Mardi Gras being a close second... although the same slutty costumes appear frequently during both holidays.
Seeing these "sexy" costumes always puts a thorn in my side this time of year. I was looking in a Party City magazine the other day and saw the following couples' costumes: Doctor (male), Sexy Nurse; Gangster (male), and Sexy Gangster; and finally, Clown (male), and Sexy Clown. Just for the record, the words "sexy" and "clown" should (in my mind, where clowns are scary) NEVER be together! All of these couples' costumes reiterate the idea that Male is the standard and female is second.
Rather than bitch about it, I just keep making my own costume and encourage my girlfriends to do the same. One year, a friend and I went to a Halloween party, she in her "sexy" store-bought costume, me in my homemade costume. My costume got more compliments than hers. The next year, she made her costume. Score one for originality!

I'm actually surprised that

I'm actually surprised that there hasn't been a slew of angry commenters defending their right to dress up as a male sexual fantasy. I've noticed in the feminist blogosphere that whenever someone criticises women for these kinds of things they are instantly attacked and called judgemental or prudish etc. Does any one remember the "I Blame Porn" article that was on here a few weeks back? I don't see any difference between that and this.


I'm not suggesting for a second that the ladies shouldn't be able to dress up as whatever they want. I don't care what you dress as. What I think is gross is the fact that these are the <i>only</i> options given to us, that this is the crap that is marketed to women and teenage girls. I recognize everyone's ability to choose their choice but it's fucked up that every single costume contains so little fabric and that that is being marketed as "sexy", relegating everything else to "not sexy". Which, in my opinion, is wrong.

I absolutely agree with you.

I absolutely agree with you. People should be able to dress up as whatever they want to. The point I was trying to make was that like said in the "I Blame Porn" article there are certain things that women are pretty much expected to do now. And it seems to be an either or situation. Either you enjoy "facials" or you are a prude. Either you are Pocahottie or you are a clown. Can anyone say Madonna/Whore Complex? And I am still surprised that there hasn't been a hoard of angry commenters defending their right to dress as a sexy-whatever and denouncing anyone who says women shouldn't feel like they HAVE to do these things. Seriously, read the comments on the other article and you will see what I mean. That was the comparison I was trying to make.

I don't think the article

I don't think the article implied any disrespect toward women who wear the costumes, but rather called out stores like Spirit for not providing any other option. I agree that women can and should wear what they want, and anyone coming here saying, "If you wear those "sexy" costumes you're stupid!" probably needs to readjust their blame lens. But I think the article did a good job of talking about the costume STORES rather than the people actually wearing the costumes. (Although people absolutely should be conscious of throwing around the words "slut" and "whore" with any kind of negative connotations.)

Anyway, the same thing happens around swimsuit season: at any given department store, you have the option of a full coverage suit designed for 70 year olds, or a hankerchief sized bikini. And THAT'S all. Pretty lame.

hot button

The porn post was kind of calling out the practice of facials as being popular <i>because</i> of porn, which may or may not be true. It was a gray area post, as porn is a gray area subject. I could be the only one, but for me there's too many intersections when it comes to pornography to blatantly call it sexist or to blatantly call it empowering, and I find it problematic when people try to make it black or white. I think a lot of people do. So when you have a post on porn, there's obviously going to be a huge discussion of it and not as many people who are going to go along with calling it sexist, or responsible for this or that being popular.

This is a post on Halloween costume stores, which deserves attention but isn't as hot button a topic as porn is. Technically the two posts are alike, but not on an emotional level. There's not going to be as much debate as a topic on porn. Just my opinion, though.

No problem here

Though I do like some of the less child porny costumes, I agree with pretty much everything in the article. The whole set-up is problematic in the extreme. Besides, I tend to think Halloween should be about your own creations: either something you've actually sewn yourself or pieces you've found to put together. Added bonus: if you're getting a so-called "sexy costume" for something else (ie. bedroom play or performance venues like Rocky Horror) you can buy at a different time of year, and it's likely to be more affordable!

Do Any Stores Carry Troll Costumes? What Do They Look Like?

There does seem to be a lack of variety in the pre-packaged store costumes. I wonder whether tha cartoonish stereotyping is by design? Some brave souls go ou costumed as the opposite gender, but getting a quality costume together is still expensive. I took a look at the Spirit Halloween Wicked Queen Adult Women's Costume. It's $130 and that doesn't include a wig or footwear, etc.. I have to confess that decades ago I bought a French Maid's outfit similar to the one sold by Frederick's of Hollywood. It would be best to take an overcoat along with that one. I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever wear it out someplace public. I wonder if any of the stores sell troll outfits and how many varieties could there be? I haven't worn mask on any Halloween since I've been fully grown (physically anyway - the mental growth may be in question). It may be hard to avoid falling into a stereotypical douchebag syndrome even cross-dressed, but Halloween would provide a good excuse for those who feel like it. Come to think of it, maybe a a less sexy dinosaur outfit wouldn't be that bad for us fossils.

Which is the major reason

Which is the major reason why I crossdress for Halloween. This year I'm going as a Wild West Outlaw with clothes bought from thrifting and Target. \o/

Sexy Freud

Last year a few of my (male) friends parodied the "sexy [insert cartoon character, profession, etc. here]" trend by dressing up as "Sexy Freud," "Sexy Einstein" and "Sexy Stalin." From the waist up they looked like their respective historical figures and from the waist down they looked "sexy," with fishnets, junk-revealing briefs and heels. Thank goodness for men who "get it."

<i>Take note: Opinions expressed are those of their respective authors, not necessarily those of</i> Bitch. <i>Dig?</i>


I think that's hilarious. Don't suppose you have any pictures?

Honestly I'm all for women

Honestly I'm all for women and our rights and I am a very self respecting woman myself. But shit how horrible is it really to want to look super sexy one night a year? Of course we don't dress like that every day but why can't we have some fun? And if you have such a terrible time buying a costume why not get creative and make your own?? I always do. Just confused why everybody gets so dramatic.

Oh, there it is.

If you read the article (and/or comments) you will see that Brittner explicitly does NOT have any objection to women wearing these, or other, "sexy" costumes if that is what appeals to them. The issue is that these are the only costumes for women being sold, they are unaffordable and size-limited, and many are sexualizations of little girls. In addition, many participants in this discussion *have* advocated making one's own costume.
Please read a conversation before you decide to criticize it or condemn its voices as "so dramatic." You might find that the words you were prepped to say don't make sense -- or even that many people have said how glad they were that no one responded so unhelpfully.

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