Every year during October I see many feminist sites coming up with a variety of different feminist style costumes. This includes everything from dressing up like the Notorious RBG to dressing up like birth control pills. Occasionally in this line-up we have some geeky female characters like Hermione or Katniss, and even some of our favorite 90s heroines like Buffy, Xena, or Scully, but I always wanted something more—something that would actively show both my geeky and feminist side in one costume. So without further ado, here are my Top 5 geek feminist costume ideas.
1. Subversive Disney Princesses:
This was probably one of the easiest ones. You can take any Disney princess and show that she’s more than just the sweet, kind girl you see in movies. Turn Sleeping Beauty or Snow White into knights or badass members of a biker gang. If you don’t want to make or come up with a different costume for the Disney Princesses, you can do things more subtly—walk around as Belle, but read Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble instead of a fairy tale. Or better yet, dress up as Cinderella but carry around Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Or simply wear a sweet feminist T-shirt over your costume to make a statement. This one is fun and can be easily done in multiple ways that require only as much effort as you want to put in.
2. Revealing Superhero Outfit or Armor (For Men):
Now, I am certainly not saying that women can’t wear revealing outfits for Halloween. That is totally your choice, but it is a fact that society encourages women to show off their bodies and objectify them. This is why many costumes for women have almost nothing to them and all have the word “sexy” stamped in front of them. Guys, however, almost never have the sexy costume option and when they do it’s usually as a joke. So I’m calling on the guys this Halloween to show us your Sexy Superman costume, or rock a Red Sonja gender swap outfit. You know you’ve always wanted to wear a chain-mail thong and nothing else. Some of you might be wondering why this role reversal is feminist. Playing with gender roles and presentation is almost always feminist, especially in this case. Wearing “sexy” costumes supposedly reflects poorly on the woman wearing it, but marketing such things exclusively to women and objectifying them is just fine. If men started wearing the sexy costumes, the same as women do, this starts to normalize things. It becomes more about preference in costumes and less about objectification and gender presentation.
3. Hermione Granger, Activist & Politician:
Yes, yes, I mentioned earlier that I didn’t just want a list of strong female characters to dress up as, like Hermione, but rather actively showcase feminism in our Halloween costumes. But I think there is a difference between just dressing up as Hermione and dressing up as Hermione while showing how she had the balls to stand up for the rights of the less fortunate. Hermione is an amazing heroine in the Harry Potter novels, but after the Golden Trio saved the world, Hermione continues to be amazing. Hermione goes on to work for the Ministry of Magic, working first in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, where she continues her work with S.P.E.W. and working for the rights of other underprivileged magical creatures. She then goes to work in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and help the Minister of Magic change laws so that they no longer favor purebloods. Basically, Hermione is an awesome activist heroine and changing the basic Hermione Halloween costume to reflect her activist and political career would be an interesting and feminist take on the character.
4. Combine Rosie the Riveter with any Geek Lady:
Now, admittedly, there are issues with Rosie the Riveter and what she actually represents, but there is also no denying the symbol she has become in feminist circles and even with geek feminists. We see fanart like this all the time—Princess Leia as Rosie the Riveter, or Wonder Woman as Rosie the Riveter—so why not actually combine the two costumes in real life. Rosie the Riveter is a perennial favorite feminist costume, so just combine her costume with your favorite geek heroine and bam! Instant geek feminist costume.
5. Computer Programmer Barbie:
Okay, so this one isn’t strictly geeky, but it’s too good to pass up. Not long ago there was some controversy over a Barbie story book that featured Barbie as a computer programmer—except she wasn’t actually a computer programmer, she was a designer, the programming part was too hard for her and she had to ask the boys for help with that. On top of this, Barbie was an incompetent designer as well, causing her computer to crash and Skipper’s to get a virus. Obviously, female programmers were pissed and started editing the book to more effectively portray Barbie as a computer programmer. So why not, this Halloween, don a cute pink outfit and some pink glasses if you have them, carry around a laptop case and go as Computer Programmer Barbie.
Halloween is a great time to have some fun with some costumes, but I think it’s always good to have costumes that represent the things we love, reflect our beliefs, and even challenge people when we can. Do you have some geeky feminist costume ideas? Let me know in the comments.
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I know this isn’t technically “geeky”, but what about Queen Elizabeth II? She was a prominent female leader before feminism was even a thing! You’d probably be able to get most of what you need from your local thrift store (you could probably get a suit and a children’s dress up crown). You would most likely have to sew a sash, but you could add a quote from a woman who inspires you to the front (or if you’re religious, a religious text reference to a woman of leadership, though a quote from the queen would work best) Here’s a link with info:
I like these! I’m going as Hestia (the Greek goddess of hearth and home, who is my favorite but also who could represent traditional values to some people) but if Hestia lived now, and was in a biker gang. Lots of leather along with the classical Vestan hairstyle!