Halloween, the best holiday in existence, is officially upon us. As children, we would dress up, shout at people’s doors, and demand chocolate from strangers. Now that we’re older, dressing up for Halloween has changed ever so slightly.
For many who wish to dress up, Halloween costumes are a source of body stress. There is so much pressure to have the perfect costume, and to have the perfect body to execute it. ‘Body policing’ is prevalent during Halloween, and can be very destructive to a person’s well being.
Surprisingly, Urban Dictionary provides the best definition of body policing, calling it “[t]he practice of policing one’s physical appearance because it does not conform to social norms, or is not deemed appropriate for a particular setting.” Body policing happens constantly, especially to women.
My first experience with body discrimination occurred while I searched for my current Ginger Spice costume. Without the tightest mini-skirt, the costume would not be perfect, and the search was much more difficult than I had anticipated. After searching two malls worth of stores, I still hadn’t found what I was looking for.
My stress-levels were already a little too high, when I received a comment from a random stranger with regards to my body. The moment was quick and I smiled, nodded, then swore not so quietly under my breath.
Thank you random woman for implying that I am too fat to pull off my favourite Spice Girl.
When a stranger tells someone that they are a little too chunky to be Ginger Spice, their implications are clear. Thank you, random woman, for implying that I am too fat to pull off my favourite Spice Girl. Thank you for ruining this costume for me. I have witnessed my body change over time, and I know how much chocolate I have consumed in my life. But, this does not give anyone the right to tell me how my body looks, or what parts of it I can show off.
This practice is prevalent across today’s culture, and the fact that beauty is so narrowly defined does not help matters. To take on the identity of another person or character should be fun and creative. But, depending on the costume, Halloween has consistently shifted ‘dress-up’ from fun to unnecessarily critical.
Nothing beneficial comes from the expression of unproductive and abusive opinions. With the potential to cause mental and even physical illness, comments such as this are an enormous issue for anyone who does not fit into mainstream ideals of beauty.
My body is not on display for random strangers, or even the people I love, to comment on. I understand what is right for my body and others should not feel so entitled to their opinions on it. While everyone has personal preferences as to what they find attractive, these preferences should not be forced upon individuals as the ‘proper’ way to be.
Sooner or later, these ideals are internalized and become destructive. People become damaged, which causes them to monitor or change their beliefs about who they are. Halloween is about dressing up, being silly, and having fun, and isn’t about changing who we are and what we look like to appease others. I am confident with who I am, so please, let me let me rock my mini mini-skirt without feeling guilty about it.