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October 23, 2017

Feminist Halloween Costumes for (Men and) Women.

The Future is Female. Nevertheless, she persisted. 

I could spend a good bit of the day listing the powerful phrases that have been associated in the last year or two with the third wave of feminism.

Women have become more vocal about identifying as feminists. While many of us are all about dismantling the patriarchy and eradicating rape culture and generally making things better for women everywhere, we also enjoy the social support of other women. Maybe it just seems like Ra-Ra Girl Power, but it is powerful, and it is important.

I would be remiss in my writing duties if I went through the Halloween season without mentioning all of the delightful, fabulous, and downright badass feminist costumes available to us.

We don’t have to be Slutty Maids (no slut shaming here; that’s an actual costume) or Sexy Police Officers. I even saw a Sexy Goldfish costume (whaaaat?). While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with exploring our sexy-feisty side, we have so many other great options to choose from that might also play to our feminist sensibilities:

  1. The Notorious R.B.G.: I’m not going to lie: this is what I chose. Hair pulled into a bun, a black robe, a dissent collar, glasses, and lace gloves make this an easy way to go, and it’s a great tribute to Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
  2. Amelia Earhart or Bessie Coleman: This is perfect for a fierce aviator costume!
  3. Hillary Clinton: This is for all the nasty women out there!
  4. River Song: “Doctor Who” fans will agree that it doesn’t get much more badass than Professor Song herself.
  5. The Paper Bag Princess: This children’s book where a princess saves a prince and fights a dragon has become a feminist treasure.
  6. Rosie the Riveter: Why? Because we can do it!
  7. Suffragette: We can spread awareness about the upcoming election while we’re at it!
  8. The Golden Girls: Dorothy is my spirit animal, but it doesn’t matter if we choose Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, or Sophia. These women were fierce and deserve a place on the list!
  9. Joan of Arc: Some will go as sinners, and some as saints.
  10. Beyonce: Lemonade alone makes this a worthy costume for the year.
  11. Frida Kahlo: This distinctive artist made an impression for women and for art.
  12. Hermione Granger: Be a little witchy with this clever costume.
  13. Rey: “Star Wars” fans agree that Rey is a fierce costume (and who doesn’t love playing with light sabers. C’mon!).
  14. Princess Leia: In light of Carrie Fisher’s fierce life and relatively recent passing, this one is near and dear to me. Princess Leia is a powerful feminist icon!
  15. A Feminist Pussy Cat: A little “Pussy Power” or “Pussy Grabs Back” can punch up the sexy cat costume we’d planned for the year.
  16. Daria: This cartoon character is easy to emulate and distinctive.
  17. “Ghostbusters”: Of course, we’re talking about the new, all-female cast.
  18. Wonder Woman: This probably makes number one on many lists, and it definitely deserves a mention here.
  19. Antiope or Hippolyta: These Amazons also deserve a place on our list!
  20. Jessica Jones: This unconventional hero certainly meets the criteria for badass.
  21. Lisa Simpson: Who would have thought that a cartoon character of a young girl could become a feminist icon?
  22. Velma from “Scooby Doo”: Distinctive, clever, and independent, Velma is an easy add to this list.
  23. Katniss Everdeen: We’re not Team Gale or Team Peeta here; we’re all Team Katniss on this list!
  24. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Fun and fierce is Buffy!
  25. “Xena: Warrior Princess”: This one throws it back to my childhood but is still a relevant feminist costume.
  26. Edith Head: Perhaps you’re scratching your head on this one, but a simple Google search will show you that Edith Head is certainly recognizable. This Hollywood fashion designer has been spoofed a number of times over the years, including in the animated film “The Incredibles.”
  27. Audrey Hepburn: “The Breakfast at Tiffany’s” costume is the one that’s most often used, but any Hepburn film will do. Hepburn is pure class—and was a proponent of women’s rights.
  28. Mae Jemison: The first African American woman to travel in space is a worthy candidate for Halloween fabulousness.
  29. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, or Mary Jackson (“Hidden Figures”): Another NASA related choice, I was awe-inspired by their intelligence, moxie, perseverance, and flat-out ingenuity. I was definitely inspired to add this to the list.
  30. Serena Williams: Grab a tennis racket for this one.
  31. Any member of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team: While the men’s team failed to make it to the next World Cup, the women’s team continues to find success on the world stage.
  32. Lady Gaga: This one can be fun, flirty, or fierce. Simply pick a style and go for it.
  33. Elphaba from “Wicked”: This takes the witch costume to another level, but it’s feminist as hell.
  34. She Hulk: This is a thing. Women have tempers, too. Have fun with this one.
  35. Gamora: “Guardians of the Galaxy”: Sure, the last three are all green, but they’re also all fabulous feminist heroes.

The important thing to remember as we enter the season is that we should avoid any costumes that could be construed as cultural appropriation. I know some may roll their eyes and mutter about being politically correct, but it’s important to be sensitive to the life experience of others.

And while I hate that I even have to say it, here goes: no black face (or any face that makes us seem like another race; unless we’re talking the Hulk and a green face), no body shaming, no Native American headdress or slutty Pocahontas, and so on. There’s such a wide variety of costumes we can choose from without being insensitive to others.

Let’s go out and enjoy All Hallows Eve/Halloween/Samhain as fiercely feminist and fabulous!

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Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Video Stills: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Author: Travis May
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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