Sexualized Saturdays: Sexy Costumes, Slut-Shaming, and Female Superheroes

When it comes to female superheroes and villains, I constantly hear debate over the sexy costumes. On the one hand, it is ridiculous that female characters must be constantly half-exposed in order to be in comics. On the other hand, one could argue that criticism of what these characters wear can devolve into to slut-shaming and placing standards on female characters that would never be placed on men. In real life, cosplayers wearing revealing costumes experience both harassment and slut-shaming from both men and women. But for this post, I just want to discuss the characters. Why am I so offended when female heroes and villains are constantly depicted wearing sexy revealing costumes?

1438430531_1094_emma_frost-47405828520_xlargeLet’s use Harley Quinn and Starfire as two modern examples.

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Theatre Thursdays: Grease is the Word (and the Word is Sexism)

grease-01I mentioned while reviewing The Devil’s Carnival, I thought that nothing could beat Grease for being one of the most sexist musicals ever. Now, despite The Devil’s Carnival taking Grease‘s place at number one, I still hate Grease with such a rage-filled passion that it is almost ridiculous.

He was going to! But then you let him change everything about you! What are you doing!?

He was going to! But then you let him change everything about you! What are you doing!?

This is a musical that almost always gets a pass because of its excellent soundtrack. All the dancing, singing, and pretty costumes distract you from the horrible, terrible, no good, very sexist plot! But it’s not just the main plot—every little side story or comment is sexist, too. And don’t give me the excuse that this musical was written during “a different time”. It was written in the 70s, well after the Women’s Liberation movement began; it should at least be a little better than the musicals written in the late 50s and early 60s. And the argument that Grease is accurately portraying the sexism of the 1950s is also not true. Grease portrays the 50s about as accurately as Disney portrays Chinese culture in Mulan. And even if you could prove to me that this portrayal is accurate, it still doesn’t change anything. Shows like Mad Men portray the sexism and racism of the generation they’re depicting, but they never glorify it or shy away from how terrible it is. Grease doesn’t do that.

Grease is a musical that looks nostalgically back on this time period along with its attitudes and way of life. Grease‘s message is very clearly, “wouldn’t it be great if the world was still like this.” A world where men utterly shame, control, and abuse women? No, thanks! Grease, your catchy songs don’t fool me! I see you for what you are!

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Virgin-Shaming and Slut-Shaming in Geek Culture

Ax9mmB_CIAAjABr.jpg-largeAs a woman it is sometimes difficult to deal with all of the judgements you receive on a daily basis, especially when it comes to your sexuality. And geek culture isn’t always helpful when it comes to those issues. Woman must deal with being considered prudes if they aren’t sexually active, and if they are sexually active then they are considered “sluts.” Women are judged for their sexual activities or perceived sexual activities based on how they dress and act. These ideals that are forced on women are reinforced in attitudes that can be found in geek culture.

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Nikki of ‘Switched at Birth’

I wanna talk about Switched at Birth again because something happened on this week’s episode that I was honestly shocked by. Legitimately shocked; I did not expect this to happen and I had no way of prepping for it.

Cassi ThomsonLast season a character named Nikki was introduced, played by Cassi Thomson. The character is a love interest for Toby who meets her at church and the two start a Christian rock band. Nikki has taken a purity pledge and this coupled with her strong faith are points of mild contention for Toby who is not particularly religious. I expected very little from this character because the last time ABC Family tried to give us a Christian character concerned with chastity this is what we got:

^I stopped watching that show a long time ago so I don’t know if it ever got any better. I kind of doubt it.

Now it’s not like the shows are written by the same people or anything, and I have already been proven wrong by this show’s handling of potentially difficult themes, so why was I so quick to judge? I think because Christians are hard to write because they’re either sanctimonious paragons of virtue (a la 7th Heaven) or wicked, hateful stereotypes. Whether the writer is trying to portray them in a positive or negative light, they almost always become two-dimensional caricatures rather than worthwhile characters, so when this show introduced Nikki and her primary characteristic seemed to be “Christian with a capital C”, I was concerned. Continue reading

Dressing Like a “Slut”: A Feminist Reflection on Halloween Costumes

“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

Around Halloween I tend to hear women say one of two things; either:

I wanna be a sexy [insert costume name here]!

Or:

Oh my God, there are so many slutty costumes. I can’t believe anyone even wears these.

Every Halloween women’s costumes become a big deal and it seems that everyone is talking about them. As the Mean Girls quote above explains, Halloween is a time for girls/women to dress like “total sluts.” Now I don’t want to suggest that women who wear sexy Halloween costumes are sluts. First of all, I hate the connotations of that word. Second of all, I am not about to go around slut-shaming other women. If you want to dress in a costume that is revealing, that is fine with me. I can’t say that I have never worn a revealing costume (one year, I was a sexy sailor). Everybody likes looking sexy. There is nothing wrong with sexy.

That being said, I do think society has put more pressure on women to wear sexy costumes than men.

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