How about a Sexy CEO costume?
October 8, 2015 2:41 PM   Subscribe

 
I expected to feel a lot more hate for the guy than it turns out that I do after reading his point of view. It sounds like he has a good sense of humour about what he's up to.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:48 PM on October 8, 2015 [20 favorites]


...what would you say to critics who think you’re sexualizing inanimate objects for profit?

Um, mostly: LOL.

It’s funny that they don’t get it. They get angry, and it’s hilarious. It’s like, it’s supposed to be funny. If you didn’t realize that a sexy lobster is funny, come on. If you didn’t realize that a sexy slice of watermelon is funny, if you don’t realize that a sexy hamburger is hilarious, or that a sexy pizza slice is just so funny, like…I don’t know. I feel like a lot of those articles just get written by people that don’t go out.

posted by Nevin at 2:52 PM on October 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Sexy halloween costumes: first as tragedy then as farce.
posted by GuyZero at 2:54 PM on October 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


it's not sexy halloween costumes for grown women that are objectionable, it's the miniature ones for little girls.
posted by daisystomper at 2:56 PM on October 8, 2015 [27 favorites]


A source warning might be nice for people clicking from work.
posted by JauntyFedora at 2:58 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sexy Log Lady and Sexy Log combo pack, great for mom and baby
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:58 PM on October 8, 2015 [23 favorites]


Still waiting for them to make a Stupid Sexy Flanders costume...
posted by wellvis at 2:58 PM on October 8, 2015 [26 favorites]


This guy is not the only purveyor of sexy female Halloween costumes, certainly. And the problem isn't, and has never been, the existance of sexy Halloween costumes. The problem is, for women, that's just about the only kind of Halloween costume there is. Except for Frog, of course.

I'd respond to the link in more detail, but it's not loading on my machine for some reason, which might be due to the confluence of the facts that I'm currently using public bookstore wifi and that the link is to Maxim.
posted by JHarris at 3:01 PM on October 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


Came to make "Costume Warehouse" reference, too late.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:05 PM on October 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


In the OP he claims that they also make plenty of modest costumes, but what sells sells and presumably that's partly because of what retailers order and stock. So his company might not be the actual problem.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:06 PM on October 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Last year people thought that I was a sexy tree for Halloween, but actually I was a naughty pine.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:12 PM on October 8, 2015 [100 favorites]


In the OP he claims that they also make plenty of modest costumes, but what sells sells and presumably that's partly because of what retailers order and stock. So his company might not be the actual problem.

Him being a lying bag of vomit fuck is definitely a problem. Go to his site. Select a category. And scroll through page upon page of sexy clownfishes, sexy tweety birds, sexy hungry werewolves, sexy Snow Whites and sexy musketeers. Maybe one in a hundred isn't a "sexy" costume. Fuck him. Liar.
posted by howfar at 3:13 PM on October 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


I just read an ad for Yandy
posted by maus at 3:15 PM on October 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Anyone wanting a not sexy costume, make your own. It is not that hard. I was a very unsexy witch for years, now I am old enough not to need makeup! I was also unsexy dead Ophelia in a shroud, and made my kids costumes as well, all males so mostly scary/fierce, gorilla suit from an old fur coat, hand painted skeleton, various knights and warriors and Superheroes. I do not think sexy Halloween costumes are a major problem in the world, though. People should dress up however they want and just have fun. It is not a somber holiday where you dress for Church!
posted by mermayd at 3:22 PM on October 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Still waiting for them to make a Stupid Sexy Flanders costume...

It's been a while since I've seen the episode but....isn't it just a really tight 1-piece ski suit? That's a costume you could probably dig out of the average thrift shop around these parts.
posted by Hoopo at 3:28 PM on October 8, 2015


The comments on the Amazon sexy Ph.D. are a worthwhile redemption. Not of him, but.
posted by Dashy at 3:30 PM on October 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


The sexy Halloween costume is a Voight-Kampff test for common sense.

You think they're driving society into the ditch? The sexy nurse trope predated this company by decades and decades. Society already had the demand, and they're filling it. Society was already in the ditch.

You think the costumes denigrate women? Who the hell do you think is buying them? You think women are stupid? Do you also hate Sephora and Victoria's Secret for making products that women buy?

You think it's all just fuel for douche frat bros? You think douche frat bros need women in costumes to be douche frat bros?

You hate what they're doing to the tradition of Halloween? You mean the ancient Irish festival of Samhain, when the doorways opened to the Otherworld? That tradition?

Or, no, wait. You think Halloween is only for kids, and kids ought not be in sexy costumes. I'm actually with you on that point.

But you're strangely OK with a kid dressed as a blood-drinking monster steeped in sexuality, or a diseased moon-worshipper symbolizing man's animal instincts, or a Georgian-era symbol of unethical science run amok amid charnel houses. Okaaaayy...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:30 PM on October 8, 2015 [51 favorites]


It's OK I found the non-sexy costumes!
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:31 PM on October 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


We need to go back to the costumes we had in the good old days: vacuum-formed plastic masks and garbage bags screen-printed with the name of the thing you are dressing up as.
posted by ckape at 3:34 PM on October 8, 2015 [55 favorites]


Him being a lying bag of vomit fuck is definitely a problem.

Hurls bag of vomit fuck through shot-out rear windsceen. Destroys pursuit vehicle.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:35 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's OK I found the non-sexy costumes!

Non-sexy???

I'm pretty sure that costume gets you into any Village People tribute band in the nation.
posted by GuyZero at 3:36 PM on October 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


But you're strangely OK with a kid dressed as a blood-drinking monster steeped in sexuality, or a diseased moon-worshipper symbolizing man's animal instincts, or a Georgian-era symbol of unethical science run amok amid charnel houses. Okaaaayy...

literally all of those are better than child prostitute
posted by poffin boffin at 3:39 PM on October 8, 2015 [43 favorites]


I mean, the fact that we all know that this is tawdry and tasteless and make fun of it every October kinda means that society, and Yandy, are more self-aware than we give it credit for
posted by Apocryphon at 3:39 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


You think they're driving society into the ditch? The sexy nurse trope predated this company by decades and decades. Society already had the demand, and they're filling it. Society was already in the ditch.

While I have absolutely no interest in debating moral equivalences between the different practices, this is precisely the same argument as you could make for dealing crack or guns.
posted by howfar at 3:45 PM on October 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


it's not sexy halloween costumes for grown women that are objectionable, it's the miniature ones for little girls.

Maybe your experience is different from mine, but many of those are handmade by a parent. I think I would puke if I saw a 'sexy nurse' outfit for a 6 year old at target.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:45 PM on October 8, 2015


Anyone wanting a not sexy costume, make your own. It is not that hard.

Conversely, anyone wanting a sexy costume could also make their own, because those aren't that hard either.

But nevertheless, even though it's not hard to make your own costume, there are many people who for various lacks of time, skill, or the like, may prefer to buy a costume. So why are the women who want the sexy version of a costume more catered to than the women who want the non-sexy version?

Also, consider: why are there no "sexy" male costumes?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:46 PM on October 8, 2015 [25 favorites]


> Anyone wanting a not sexy costume, make your own. It is not that hard.

Yeah, the women who don't want to dress in "sexy" costumes seem to do just fine at the parties I go to.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:46 PM on October 8, 2015


Im gonna be hot as fuck this Halloween, cause I'm a grown ass woman that's why.

(But I'm making my own costume because I'm badass like that, I own my sexy looks, I don't line white douchbro pockets with them)
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:46 PM on October 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


we’re just trying to make fun costumes that when people walk into a party [wearing one], they’re gonna get noticed, they’re gonna get attention. Hopefully they’ll win a contest. That’s kind of our goal.

I love all those parties with the "Best Mass-Manufactured Costume Purchased for Under $19.99 from Party City" prizes!

Here’s the thing about giving money to charity — you’re not allowed to say which charity you’re giving it to unless you have a formal relationship with the charity because the charity needs to basically have a source for you. So the charity that we’re giving it to, we’re no longer saying, because they don’t want us to...

Uh...this sounds weird to me. What does "have a source for you" mean? Was it a misheard "endorse" you? Were they rejected by the corporate giving program and now they're just sending an ad hoc donation? I work for a nonprofit and I've never heard of anything like this. There's no reason they'd be "not allowed," though there might be a reason the World Wildlife Fund (or whomever) really wants no part of sharing this message. But it's certainly not a legal or tax reason.
posted by Miko at 3:47 PM on October 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


> Also, consider: why are there no "sexy" male costumes?

Hire a stripper and ask him where he shops.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:47 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


(But um I don't mean to imply "being grown" means "sexy"...err problematic I am)
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:48 PM on October 8, 2015


The point is, yes, grown adults should wear what the hell they want for whatever reason they want and this guy is still a prick.
posted by howfar at 3:48 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


why are there no "sexy" male costumes?

There are! Go to Party City.* I mean, definitely not as many and not billed as "Sexy" in the same way, but there is no shortage of high-skin-exposure caveman, bodybuilder, Elvis, tight-pants-disco, etc costumes for men.

*I mean, don't go there, but go there to see the costumes. I have to go there for work occasionally so I get a sense of what there is. But it is a depressing place that reveals the limits of the American imagination
posted by Miko at 3:49 PM on October 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Are there children's costumes on the site? I looked (quickly) but couldn't find any.

Anyway, presumably the women (and perhaps men) who are buying these costumes have the right to make decisions about what they may or may not wear without being shamed for it.

Halloween is an interesting night. It's the one night a year people of any gender can dress up however they want and not be judged or shamed for it.

It's surprising to see the amount of shaming going on in this thread.
posted by Nevin at 3:51 PM on October 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


I have literally never seen a person wear one of these things in real life. I'm convinced they only exist as internet memes.
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:51 PM on October 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


I don't understand what the problem is. Adult men and women are allowed to wear whatever they want whenever the hell they want.

I also find it laughable, that in today's global economy, some people are complaining of 'not being able to find a non-sexy costume'. Well I guess that can be true. I mean, every time I go to the bars, I can never find the glasses they drink milk out of.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:52 PM on October 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


How about a Sexy CEO costume?

How about it?
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:53 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


This year I'm going as a slutty pumpkin.

... shit, I just spoiled clav's Halloween question ...
posted by octobersurprise at 3:53 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


> The problem is, for women, that's just about the only kind of Halloween costume there is.

It's the only kind there is that's specifically marketed for women. All of the other costumes can be worn by women, with the possible exception of unmodified topless cavemen, togas, etc.

Also, one shouldn't limit oneself to off-the-shelf costumes unless one is lazy, late, or really uncreative. (I'm all 3, so I definitely buy this shit.)
posted by Sunburnt at 3:56 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one here who finds these costumes hilarious and delightful? A sexy lobster?! It's just absurd. I personally enjoy the intersection of silly and sexy. If I were buying a costume for a party instead of making my own, I might consider something like that.
posted by chatongriffes at 3:58 PM on October 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


There are! Go to Party City.*

Oh, really?

I mean, definitely not as many and not billed as "Sexy" in the same way....

Yeah, that's kind of my point. You pointed me at costumes where guys flash skin - I'm talking about the straight-up sexualized versions of things, where it is in-your-face "hey, this person's costume is blatantly making them a sexual object".

Think about it. Why are there "definitely not as many" of those for men, and why are they "not billed as sexy in the same way"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:58 PM on October 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


Non-sexy costume stores are called second hand stores. Savers, goodwill, loathable salvation army, et al. I spend $7 each year on becoming something. Baseball player is this years costume. Years past have been secret service agent, cowboy, doctor, so on. It's so cheap and easy to put something together, and a lot of them are getting in on the idea by sourcing new costume accessories in-store to buy too.

As for the sexy everything costume, it's funny that we need to police people having fun. Halloween is becoming an adult holiday to dress cute and have fun. Haters gonna hate. Good on this guy for having humor about it.
posted by msbutah at 3:59 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one here who finds these costumes hilarious and delightful? A sexy lobster?

Sure, but where does this crustacean objectification end? Brine shrimp? Barnacles? Krill? Woodlice?
posted by greenhornet at 4:03 PM on October 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


It’s like, it’s supposed to be funny. If you didn’t realize that a sexy lobster is funny, come on.

Let me explain a bit about lobster reproduction. The males kill pretty much anything smaller than themselves, and, as they get more successful at killing, their urine increasingly carries markers of status. Those big feelers on lobsters? Yup. Urine detectors. Oh, also, lobsters pee forward, using their muthparts to direct the flow.

Now, female lobsters will head for the killingest male lobster around. They then approach his den. Before he can murder her, the female lobster pees on him, which shuts down his aggression towards her. Then she enters his den and molts, basically shedding her skeleton. They mate, and have a connubial feast of her shed exoskeleton. She grows a new exoskeleton over the next few days, surviving on scraps of food from the kills he drags home. She stores his sperm internally, and she doles it out to fertilize batches of eggs sometimes over a five-year period. Oh, yeah, she's pretty much a stone killer, too. It's basically autocannibalistic serial killer sex spree.

Does that sound sexy? I so, seek professional help.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:03 PM on October 8, 2015 [112 favorites]


The Cecil the Lion costume isn't offensive. I don't get why Ashley Benson apologized for it. What a bad example to talk about.
posted by mullacc at 4:03 PM on October 8, 2015


Think about it.

I don't need to think about it, it's not like the first day of my life I've ever thought about this (I posted a critical link on this a few years back and got chided abundantly). You know my opinions from here, you know I basically agree with you about the patriarchy and everything. But there are not zero costumes that sexualize men. Check out the site itself - the shirtless cowboy, etc. That is not someone dressed as an actual cowboy, it's someone dressed as a sexualized cowboy. Of course not as many, of course not as sexy, because it's a patriarchy. But we can't totally say, in truth, they only sexualize women. They just do that to an intense degree that dwarfs the degree to which they sexualize men.
posted by Miko at 4:04 PM on October 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Does that sound sexy? I so, seek professional help.

And now we're kinkshaming, well that's just great
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:06 PM on October 8, 2015 [32 favorites]


As for the sexy everything costume, it's funny that we need to police people having fun.

How is it "policing people having fun" when I'm asking why there aren't more such costumes for men? You're assuming that pointing out the double standards is the only reason I'm talking about that disparity.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:06 PM on October 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


How about a Sexy CEO costume?

How about it?


A FPP doesn't get the comment you want, a FPP gets the comments it deserves.
posted by GuyZero at 4:07 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have spent hours making a plague doctor mask only to realize that I will end up wearing it for 15 minutes and then will need to remove it in order to take my kid trick or treating. I could wear it at the annual Halloween party, but again it would be for 15 minutes before I need to talk to somebody or drink something.

It would have been 100% easier and 50% cheaper to just buy something off the rack at whatever Spooky Costume Store occupies the local abandoned Circuit City.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:08 PM on October 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


the local abandoned Circuit City.

Scariest costume of 2015.
posted by GuyZero at 4:10 PM on October 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


I have literally never seen a person wear one of these things in real life. I'm convinced they only exist as internet memes.

I thought this until i was with a huge group of people 3-4 halloweens ago that ended up at a sorority halloween party, and then a frat house.

It was like, sexy furby and sexy pochahontas as far as the eye could see.
posted by emptythought at 4:17 PM on October 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm just glad Wayne Gretzky found such a great retirement job.
posted by sneebler at 4:20 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


A sexy lobster?

Sure, but where does this crustacean objectification end? Brine shrimp? Barnacles? Krill? Woodlice?


Krill. It stops with krill.
posted by fairmettle at 4:27 PM on October 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


I overheard a conversation between a couple of college girls a few years ago. The one girl was saying to the other, "I wanted to come up with a real Halloween costume this year, but it's so much easier to just go as 'a slutty something.'"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:42 PM on October 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


@ EmpressCallipygos - I meant my policing fun comment at the tone of the article, the need to question this man who made such things. Not directed at anything in this thread, sorry if you felt that directed at you. I honestly wish there were more sexy costumes for men. Although, being gay myself, I don't think we need the help as most of the parties I attend are full of oversexualized characters of all varieties. In the past I've even just bought a sexy-n women's costume and used that because, hey, I was a gender queer twink of a boy and I want to be a sexy nurse goddamnit.
posted by msbutah at 4:45 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The donation thing sounds more like "okay, we'll take your money, but you are not a partner or anything, don't use our damn name" than anything else.
posted by corb at 4:48 PM on October 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Krill. It stops with krill.

Thus, the famous saying "krill or be krilled."
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:54 PM on October 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah, you can't market your sexy lion costumes using WWF's trademarks basically. It's just basic trademark stuff.
posted by GuyZero at 4:54 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now that I think of it, "sexy CEO" would also be basically "autocannibalistic serial killer sex spree."
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:56 PM on October 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Did we get around to the Spinal Tap reference yet?
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:59 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Any costume I wear is, by default, going to be sexy.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:10 PM on October 8, 2015 [26 favorites]


This year I'm cutting a couple of holes in cardboard box and calling myself a robot. I may make it "sexy" by cutting one... or maybe two, more holes.
posted by Poldo at 5:11 PM on October 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Disagree with the "no sexy costumes for men".

I am a man. I bought a women's sexy wizard costume (think Harry Potter styled). I look damn sexy in it.

Sadly, I don't really fill out the top though. Seriously though, someone should talk to this dude about their build quality and fabrics. Maybe it's just that I run warm, but their fabric does not breath at all.
posted by yeahwhatever at 5:13 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


don't use our damn name

This may be the case, but if they accepted the donation they actually have no real power to ask that - it would just be a handshake agreement, and it would be a little strange in the nonprofit world to ask that. I guess what I'm saying is that I treat this donation claim super skeptically and I think that's a wise way to treat it in the absence of any actual verifiable statement.

Something else that's very interesting is that at one point, they were saying the name to the media - the World Wildlife Fund. And now, they have stopped. That's interesting. Something happened there.
posted by Miko at 5:19 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Halloween is an interesting night. It's the one night a year people of any gender can dress up however they want and not be judged or shamed for it.

I think this is an unrealistically optimistic way to look at it. I've read many anecdotes of women being ridiculed for not dressing sexy at a Hallowe'en party (you know, they go as an actual zombie rather than a sexy one or whatever). If Hallowe'en is turning into just an excuse to crank up the expectations for women's appearance even higher for a night, there's plenty of room for criticism of the sexy costume movement.
posted by No-sword at 5:32 PM on October 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


vomit fuck is my next band/blog/pug's name.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:35 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Maybe I should have gone with SEXY Carol Burnett as Miss Starlett in "Went with the Wind" this year. I could have gotten by with *one* green velvet curtain.

(and last year's
"Sexy Granny Weatherwax" could have been just a hat, a pair of boots, & a large "I ATEN'T DEAD" sign.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:36 PM on October 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


GenjiandProust:
"Does that sound sexy? I so, seek professional help."
Well, you see, um...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:54 PM on October 8, 2015 [32 favorites]


Alright, I can figure it out. What are your highest selling costumes every year?

"Alright" is a word professional journalists use now?
posted by ignignokt at 6:00 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Alright" is a word professional journalists use now?

Yes. While I agree that alright is alwrong, language evolves, and the usage on "alright" is far too high to stop.
posted by eriko at 6:05 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


That CEO guy seems OK but every time he says "girl" or "girls" it just grates.
posted by bendy at 6:14 PM on October 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I really really miss the foxy lady boutique in San Francisco.

They had size 14 thigh high boots with heels. (I own a pair) They had sexy costumes in a wide variety of sizes. Women and men (mostly men who wanted to dress like women for a variety of reasons) seemed to shop there equally.

If selling the kinds of costumes they had (including the year around Halloween stuff) is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

When I got my boots a lay preacher who worked there helped me try them on.
posted by poe at 6:14 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's basically autocannibalistic serial killer sex spree.

Does that sound sexy? I so, seek professional help.


Or write Hannibal fanfic.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:15 PM on October 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Still waiting for them to make a Stupid Sexy Flanders costume...

Been done.
posted by bonehead at 6:27 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


And now, they have stopped. That's interesting. Something happened there.

The decided to name their dead lion costume Cecil instead of, I dunno, Hercules or something.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 6:30 PM on October 8, 2015


That CEO guy seems OK but every time he says "girl" or "girls" it just grates.

Basically mirroring erikos comment above here. While it can grate on me too, the usage is really too high to stop, and I often stop myself from judging someone too harshly for using it or reading too much into it unless it's part of a greater critique.

I've tried to train myself mostly out of it, and to use it only for young(er) people, but that is just not the standard usage. Especially among my peers.
posted by emptythought at 6:42 PM on October 8, 2015


I was curious about validating the part where he claimed they made un-sexy "theatre-grade costumes." Theatre-grade costumes are expensive so I sorted by price, and lo, indeed there are some: Vampire, Fairytale, Mrs Claus, Fairy Godmother. So while it is true they do make not-explicitly-sexy costumes, it is not true these are theatre-grade.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:54 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was just looking for ideas for a scary costume today and it was so frustrating. I'm going to a party that's outdoors in kind of a woodsy setting and because it's a photographer event, there will be people there doing horror photography - which is one of my favorite kinds of photography - for anyone who wants to pose and get their photo taken.

Anyway, I really want a genuinely creepy costume and I was kind of thinking I'd like a Hills-Have-Eyes/Deliverance/serial-killer-in-the-woods type of costume, given the setting. I was thinking something like Leatherface would be scary, easy to put together and require minimal costume makeup (I'm terrible at makeup). But I wanted to see examples of how it can be modified for women in kind of a cool way because I don't want to be a dude and I want to be able to wear my hair down. It was more or less impossible to find examples of women leatherfaces because it's sexy Leatherfaces all the way down. SEXY FUCKING LEATHERFACE. So I decided to look for super scary clown costume ideas (à la last season's American Horror Story) because the location we'll be at has a cool vintage circus trailer that I could use as a prop. But guess what . It was the same thing for pretty much anything I tried to google and it was really frustrating.

What I want is to see ideas on how to take a costume that is either a male character or typically worn by men, and modify it to be cool on a woman (so I don't have to, for example, wear a bunch of men's clothing that will just look too big or boxy); and be able utilize my hair somehow, which I think could be used to make a costume look awesome if I could find ideas for a cool way to style it. What I don't want is to look sexy. I want to look scary, I want to look authentic, literally anything but sexy, which has never been a goal of mine on Halloween. I LOVE Halloween and I would love to be able to easily access cool, creepy costumes without having to be a man. Every year it's a struggle for me and I usually have neither the time nor talent to make a costume myself from scratch so lots of years I've just given up. It's such a bummer.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:04 PM on October 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


I have to admit that sexy Sock Monkey made me chuckle-snort.

I guess sci-fi or outer space costumes for men don't sell? No guys want a "space scoundrel" costume to go with their girlfriend's sexy Boba Fett costume?
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:16 PM on October 8, 2015


Miko: "[Party City] is a depressing place that reveals the limits of the American imagination"

My wife looks forward to visiting Party City when we go back to the US for Xmas, because there's so much weird, zany stuff, unlike staid, boring Japan.

Seriously, though, y'all don't know how good you have it. "What, there's only 50 costumes? This selection sucks. And this caviar isn't the right temperature, either, and doesn't go with my champagne!"
posted by Bugbread at 7:25 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Im gonna be hot as fuck this Halloween, cause I'm a grown ass woman that's why.

I was hot as fuck one Halloween a few years back, but that is because I was a large man covered head-to-toe in a costume (including a layer of polar fleece), with his head encased in a helmet and who had to climb several flights of stairs to reach the party. Seriously, it gets like Mustafar in there.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:40 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


y'all don't know how good you have it. "What, there's only 50 costumes? This selection sucks. And this caviar isn't the right temperature, either, and doesn't go with my champagne!"

I guess I don't really get that. Maybe you're adopting a sarcastic voice, but here in the US we get a steady diet of Tokyo street style via the web, and limits on imagination don't seem to be the problem. Meanwhile, Party City is organized into a few sections along prescribed party themes: "Over the Hill," "Rock 'N' Roll," "60s Hippie," "70s Disco," "Hollywood," "Heavy Metal," "Western/Cowboy," "Tiki," and I'm forgetting a few but there aren't that many more. Each section has its costumes, gift bags, hanging decor, favors, bunting, balloons, and confetti. The remainder of Party City is made up of cheap plastic favors, colored M&Ms and containers in your party theme colors, wedding crap, catering trays, and paper goods in all the available themes plus your favorite sports franchises. American celebrations begin to boil down into whatever theme the party industry has decided is acceptably frivolous, relatively inoffensive (except for Tiki and Fiesta, but hey, who cares about Polynesian and Central American culture, right?!), and easily commodified.

I really sort of deplore how it has oversimplified and commodified the creativity that goes into parties and special events, at the same time that I marvel at the willingness of our people to embrace, buy and enjoy such generic and shallow expressions of culture.

I mean, maybe you're being serious, but Party City is every bit as staid as a party company would be in any other fearful culture. "Zany" has become a word that denotes a lazy attempt to be fun and creative without really committing to challenging any boundaries. And there's no champagne and caviar in sight: just a bunch of crappy, stale candy.
posted by Miko at 7:43 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Seems to me that if there aren't a lot of sexy men costumes, it is either (A) because there is little demand for them or (B) an opportunity to make a ton of money selling sexy man costumes. I also think it is very strange indeed to blame the business for fulfilling consumer demands.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:50 PM on October 8, 2015


triggerfinger, one of my Best Ever costumes would work for male or female and is not sexy at all. Depending on where/how you shop, it can be pricey, tho.

Basically, you get a cheap long jacket or cloak and a bunch of cheap rubber human/character masks. You the staple said masks to said jacket/cloak. You are now wearing a cloak made of human faces. Depending on the mask, you might have to trim the scalp some, but you can use those bits somewhere else. This can get super expensive given this is not an election year, but if you check out dollar stores/five belows, you can do okay.

Makeup wise, you only need to add a dotted line around your own face. Prop-wise you only need a fake knife at most.

For grim woods interaction, ask for a selfie. Leave a blank space on your cloak for emphasis.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:57 PM on October 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


I also think it is very strange indeed to blame the business for fulfilling consumer demands.

I know! Just the market! All a bunch of neutral actions! No responsibility on anyone! just making a buck!
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on October 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


I think I would puke if I saw a 'sexy nurse' outfit for a 6 year old at target.

Pirate, not nurse, buuuuut. . .
posted by KathrynT at 8:01 PM on October 8, 2015


Him being a lying bag of vomit fuck is definitely a problem.

He sells silly, sexy costumes that adults choose to buy with their own money. He says that their biggest sellers are the silly, sexy stuff. I don't think he's lying about that. He doesn't say that they would make more sedate costumes but those don't sell. He says that they sell lots of costumes and the silly, sexy stuff sells best.

It gives me the creeps when little kids dress up in "sexy" costumes. Looking at the Yandy website, I'm not seeing any place where they sell kid costumes. So, you can't accuse them of sexualizing kids. The Cecil the Lion thing does sound tasteless, but if you're really twisted up in knots over it you must have really lived a charmed life until now. If they're really giving a significant portion of the profits to a conservation charity, that's... confusing, but I guess ultimately they're doing more good than harm there.

It's not his responsibility to make un-sexy costumes for you. He makes the costumes he makes and people are happy to buy them. If you want un-sexy stuff, it is out there in the world. It's not as popular as the sexy stuff, because right now people are having a lot of fun with the sexy stuff.

Hurling abuse at this guy doesn't make you a feminist. It makes you somebody who is crabbing about other adults having fun. It makes you somebody who is in a tizzy about that cheap young lady in the simply scandalous outfit. Is that really the person you want to be?

That woman in the sexy lobster costume is not setting back the cause of feminism by daring to go out in public like that. She is out there being bold, having fun and doing what she likes, even if some other people judge her harshly for how she's dressed. That sounds pretty damn feminist to me.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:05 PM on October 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


Miko: "here in the US we get a steady diet of Tokyo street style via the web, and limits on imagination don't seem to be the problem."

I haven't seen any cool street style in a decade or so. Yeah, there was creative stuff going on a decade ago in Harajuku, mostly exorbitantly priced clothes by avant designers, but some people went for the totally hand-made cool stuff. But then again, a decade ago I could go online and see that people in the US were buying creative but moderately priced bizarre raver gear, while others went for totally hand-made cool raver stuff. So on that front, I don't think there's a lack of creativity in either country.

In any country, you can be creative and exercise that creativity if you have time and money (also, shit is cheap in the US, so it's really just a matter of having the time). The difference I'm trying to point out is that the US also has a ton of cool pre-made stuff, and yet MeFites always seem to complain about the lack of selection. Lots of folks would love to have as much selection as you have, and yet you say "[We only have] "Over the Hill," "Rock 'N' Roll," "60s Hippie," "70s Disco," "Hollywood," "Heavy Metal," "Western/Cowboy," "Tiki," and I'm forgetting a few but there aren't that many more" (You're forgetting all the Halloween monster stuff. Zombies, vampires, etc.) Try picking from a selection of 5 to 10 costumes max.

Ditto with the party decorations. "There are only like 15 corporate-approved themes!" Yeah, well, try "There are only 'children's birthday' and 'general party'".
posted by Bugbread at 8:07 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


So what's your point there, Miko? That a guy who sells costumes for a living should stop selling the costumes that are most in demand? That the right thing for him to do is tell his customers that they are wrong, and he just won't sell them the thing they want?

I hope you're equally angry at McD's for selling hamburgers, Toyota for selling gasoline powered cars, your government for selling liquor, and your mother for letting you have Hallowe'en candy.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:08 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, I'm like seven feet tall, and somehow I've managed to make awesome drag queen stuff happen for hundreds of theme events and parties and fetish balls and so on. If you were hoping to just to go to Party City and find your entire outfit pre-made in a bag, I suppose that may be frustrating. That was never an option, for one such as I.

You just have to use your imagination, for Pete's sake. The party and costume stores have lots of loose props and bits and pieces, and you can find cute stuff at the thrift store and put it all together to make pretty much any costume you can think up. Get busy with a hot glue gun. Make something that expresses who you want to be. Making yourself into your own fantasy is almost always going to be more satisfying than just putting on some polyester thing off the rack.

Quit worrying about other people having the kind of fun you disapprove of, and make your own damn fun.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:19 PM on October 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


MeFites always seem to complain about the lack of selection.

Ah. You get me wrong. I'm not complaining about the lack of selection. I'm complaining that the store exists at all. Rather than this narrow diet of prefab pap, I'd prefer there were no such store, and people were on their own to figure out how to make a costume or have a party.

So what's your point there, Miko?

That claiming "just serving the market!" is a snake's justification. Claiming you are powerless in the face of demand is lame and pathetic. There's clearly a synergy between some of the lamest aspects of our culture and this guy's power to supply more disposable crap, but his decision to do so is a moral choice, and one to which he can be held responsible. McDonald's and Toyota have to answer as well. My mom? She sent me to school with austerely healthy lunches and made carob-chip cookies with whole-wheat flour. Damn straight she could let me have some processed candy once a year on Halloween.
posted by Miko at 8:22 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, Sexy Topical Costume ensures that people will come back for next year's Sexy Topical Costume. I too live in Halloween Town USA and I see the fad costumes come and go. Timing is a huge part of it - Left Shark was too early, Pizza Rat is close enough. I may not like the dude, but he found something that works so...?

I mean, we have a yearly bazaar where people pay 20+ bucks for a 5 dollar costume store witches hat with 3 bucks of flair hot glued to it. This cottage industry would not exist but for people willing to pay for it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:24 PM on October 8, 2015


Oh for sure. I mean, make money sticking it to the ignorant, short on time, and dull-minded. Just don't dress it up. It is what it is: pandering, raking it in, making a quick buck, totally distancing oneself from any and all moral dimensions of the activity. The almighty buck rules, right? I mean, for everyone in this town that buys a $5 witch hat with shit from Michael's hot-glued to it are three or four locals saying "Great. Shut up and leave your money." Let's not claim this is some higher-order good - it's just American alienation, competition and desperation expressed in one local milieu. Really, many. I am kind of on the "fuck the Halloween industry" train that is coming in pretty close behind the "fuck the Christmas industry" train that's already, for years, been cooling off in the station.
posted by Miko at 8:28 PM on October 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


You think they're driving society into the ditch? The sexy nurse trope predated this company by decades and decades. Society already had the demand, and they're filling it. Society was already in the ditch.

That was a perfect crotchety dismissal of concerns built on:

A) "This is how it's always been"
B) "shrug, capitalism"
C) "What about the children, huh?"

You can, in fact, use this to dismiss:

- Sexist workplaces
- The famously misunderstood McDonald's coffee case
- Thalidomide
- Choking hazards
- Unregulated food with E. coli
…and more, I'm sure!
posted by ignignokt at 8:30 PM on October 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


Impressive!
posted by Miko at 8:35 PM on October 8, 2015


That a guy who sells costumes for a living should stop selling the costumes that are most in demand?

You are assuming here that "most in demand" is some kind of naturally-occurring phenomenon totally divorced from any sort of social or cultural framework. This is a faulty assumption.

When 90% of your readily available costumes are some variation of "sexy", it seems very much worth considering whether "sexy" sells because that's what people want, or whether "sexy" sells because you don't really have much choice.

(And sorry, Ursula Hitler, but arguing that women could create their own non-sexy or sexy-as-they-wanna-be costumes is really not the point.)

Lots of people seem to have no problem complaining that commercial gatekeepers like record labels and radio stations limiting the public's options for popular music is both wrong and leads to horrible music becoming popular - yet noting that commercial gatekeepers like Yandy and most of the other commercial costumers limiting women's costumes to almost all "sexy something-or-other" is both a reflection of and a perpetuation of our culture valuing women primarily for their appearance gets a lot of "huh? wat? but they're just selling what women want to buy!!11!!"
posted by soundguy99 at 8:36 PM on October 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


the ignorant, short on time, and dull-minded

Hella broad brush you have there.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:37 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, I'll stand by it. Believe me, I've reason for saying so.

I'll assume you're in the "leave your money' camp.
posted by Miko at 8:38 PM on October 8, 2015


You can, in fact, use this to dismiss:

You missed the point with a shot so wide, this Halloween, you should get a Scott Norwood costume.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:50 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Miko: " I'm complaining that the store exists at all. Rather than this narrow diet of prefab pap, I'd prefer there were no such store, and people were on their own to figure out how to make a costume or have a party. "

I was reflecting on this sort of thing as I was brazing up an outdoor shower for my sister yesterday. She'd found one on the 'net that she liked but that they wanted low four figures for despite consisting of maybe $100 worth of material. So we cranked out something similar in a couple hours for less than $50 + material out of our scrap bins. Once we got to the successful testing stage I commented "How the heck do they get anyone to pay hundreds of dollars for something like this?"

But it didn't occur to me for a second that companies should some how be discouraged from selling their product. Other people have different skill sets (heck my sister has different skill sets that is why I was running the torch). Even to the point of not being skilled in being critical of pap.

At any rate it seems unkind to judge people for not having fun the right way or businesses enabling that fun. It's not like yandy is making costumes from clubbed baby seal oil or something.
posted by Mitheral at 8:52 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


*Sigh* The point is not that people are being judged for not having fun "the right way." The point is that limiting women's costume choices to virtually all "sexy" costumes is one of the ways in which our culture sends the message that women's primary value is their physical attractiveness, and that only women who fit within a narrow range of body shapes are "sexy" and therefore valuable.

It doesn't matter if Yandy dude is doing it intentionally or not - that's the end result.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:59 PM on October 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm not judging people. People's choices are constrained by culture. And I'm judging the culture. If things were different, things would be different. This guy contributes to the current culture; his work grows and amplifies it. Maybe that's something we want, maybe it's something, as a whole, that we want to critique for its perncious effects. That's all I'm saying. And that's totally reasonable. He's responsible for deciding to assert the influence he's having on the culture.

"How the heck do they get anyone to pay hundreds of dollars for something like this?"

Well, because those people don't have a brother with the skills, or access to scrap bins, and the skilled person decides not to skimp on materials and use stuff from the scrap bins because they're going to make more on the total bill by using pre-market materials. Not rocket science. But very few people are in that position.
posted by Miko at 9:08 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Miko: "I mean, make money sticking it to the ignorant, short on time, and dull-minded."

You forgot a category which I expect is large (or am I just a weird exception): people who enjoy wearing costumes, but don't enjoy making costumes. I'm informed. I've got the time. Hopefully, I'm not dull-minded. And I've made Halloween costumes before, but, honestly, it was just a slog. Lots of time and effort that wasn't any fun, with the end result being that I got to wear a costume and have fun. I've also bought costumes. Very little time and effort, and got to have just as much fun wearing a costume. If you like making costumes, great, more power to you, but I suspect there are also lots of people like me in that regard. (Note: I'm not addressing the "Sexy [X]" thing, just the general idea that you have to be ignorant, busy, or dull to prefer buying a costume to building one)

soundguy99: "It doesn't matter if Yandy dude is doing it intentionally or not - that's the end result."

Honest question, not a gotcha question: What would you have him do? Increase the ratio of non-sexy stuff, even though it doesn't sell? Get out of the business entirely, because given the sexism of society, female customers want to buy the sexy stuff more than the non-sexy stuff? Some other option I haven't thought of?
posted by Bugbread at 9:13 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


the general idea that you have to be ignorant, busy, or dull to prefer buying a costume to building one

Well...I don't want to call you ignorant, busy, or dull, but I guess if you want to wear a costume but would rather pay than make, then you're one of the people that others "stick it to" by providing a good you're willing to invest cash but not time in. So, go for it, buy a costume. Please, makers want that. But what that represents is someone with a skill and with interest making money by catering to a market that has money but lacks willingness to invest otherwise. That costume doesn't represent your individual creativity and effort - just, at a maximum, your taste and purchasing power. Which to some degree is of course fine, and I'd rather we had thousands of incidents of that than tens of thousands of mass-manufactured, generic costumes at Party City. So, sure, buy your costume, but let's restrain ourselves in praising this as an expression of your individual creativity.
posted by Miko at 9:21 PM on October 8, 2015


Miko: "So, sure, buy your costume, but let's restrain ourselves in praising this as an expression of your individual creativity."

Oh, no, totally agreed. At no point, when wearing a costume, am I thinking "check out my creativity".
posted by Bugbread at 9:24 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


And, fair enough. I usually either do the creative thing or nothing. Once, in my 20s, a friend enlisted me to be a witch at a historic house "haunted house" event and, though I'd never been something as straightforwardly Halloweeny and unimaginative (in my view) as a witch, I embraced it - went and bought a purple voluminous old prom gown, a black cloak, a witch hat, pointy toe boots, and the whole nine yards including greenish face makeup. It was my first time being a costume that didn't need a ton of contextualization, and I loved it. People looked at me and knew what I was: a witch; and I had a fun Halloween night. Dead simple. So it didn't deliver the creative/originality hit, but it was still fun. I imagine that's what's going on with many people who purchase off the rack. My prejudice is just that there's so much commodification, simplification, and lack of creativity in the event - and shops like this are among the main reasons for that.
posted by Miko at 9:33 PM on October 8, 2015


Thank you for the great idea, robocop is bleeding! I love it, it's easy to make and that is precisely the kind of cool thing that I can never seem to come up with on my own.

At this point, the tentative plan is to go with a gas mask idea I had earlier today (because I found a place where I can rent a cool gas mask and a long duster that's just tattered and stained enough to be creepy). I still have to figure out what kind of hand props I'll use, which will be determined by the vibe I want to go with - either silent, creepy girl; the post-apocalyptic urban warrior or straight-up scary murder person (my original intention). So I still have some work to do before the party (this weekend!)

and thank god for deviantart, which was pretty much the only place that I found with exactly the kinds of images of women that I was looking for.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:41 PM on October 8, 2015


I'm thinking of being a slutty ghost this year.

White sheet, three holes, the usual deal.

Holes are exactly where you think they'd go... NSFW places.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:56 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm in the pro-pre-fab costumes camp even though I make my own, and that's for two reasons.

The first is that I think any party is more fun if everyone's dressed up and if the choice comes down to pre-fab or no costume, I want pre-fab every time.

The other is that it raises the bar for the do-it-yourselfers. The stuff available at Target is at least as good as anything we made when I was a kid (and god bless my mom for fucking SEWING us costumes on top of raising us, doing all the meals, AND working a job with long hours!) That means that everyone's homemade costumes these days have to be even cooler to stand out at all.

I also love the growth of the Halloween market. The stores these days carry awesome stuff. We're still using the skeletal hands salad tongs we bought at Target 4 years ago (well, one of them. One of them lost too many fingers because they're just pot metal.) It would have cost BANK to get a articulated skeleton that's even half as good as the ones available just about anywhere.

I find the proliferation of sexy a little annoying but you can easily either sexify or desexify anything. Costume parts can be repurposed with 5 minutes' thought. In 15 minutes you can take pre-fab stuff from the Halloween store and make an amazing, unique costume. (Currently, I'm impressed with the various shields and crowns in the Game of Thrones and the ... Grimm maybe? Something Arthurian... departments.) Way cheaper, way faster, way easier than starting one from scratch. Add all those together and I'm far more likely to bother to go to the Halloween party at all.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:57 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


What would you have him do? Increase the ratio of non-sexy stuff, even though it doesn't sell?

Note that nowhere in the interview does Horstman say that non-sexy stuff doesn't sell - just that the sexy stuff sells faster. And it's not like he started from an even baseline of 50% non-sexy to 50% sexy and is just following a logical pattern - he started by buying costumes from lingerie companies, so "sexy" was his default to start with.

In other words, his wide-eyed claim that "sexy is just what sells" should be taken with a large grain of salt. So, why not add more non-sexy costumes and see what happens? Also, maximum profit is not necessarily the be-all end-all of all businesses forever and ever amen. I don't think it's out of line to suggest that companies can consider their business practices in light of moral complications and cultural affect.

Get out of the business entirely, because given the sexism of society, female customers want to buy the sexy stuff more than the non-sexy stuff?

The sexism of society is not something that just sprang up out of nowhere - making almost all of your women's costumes "sexy" is the the sexism of society in action. That's it, right there - maybe it's not as obviously sexist as patting your secretary on the behind as she walks past, or calling a female co-worker "Tootsie" and telling her not to worry her pretty little head over something, but it's the kind of pervasive sexism that contributes to creating a sexist society.

Also, it doesn't necessarily follow that women want to buy the sexy stuff, whether because of our society's sexism or not. Again, even in this marvelous age of Amazon and ebay, not everything is available equally to everyone all the time. If almost all of your costume options are "sexy", then you don't really have much of a choice, do you?

So, yes, I think suggesting that he increase the ratio of non-sexy stuff is not too much to ask.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:06 PM on October 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


And it seems to me that all of this thread is completely ignoring the deeper and maybe more basic questions of how and why is it culturally acceptable for women to be blatantly obviously "sexy" on a handful of specific days of the year? Is Halloween somehow free of slut-shaming? (I'd bet it's not, personally.) Where is the line between "owning your sexuality" and "pandering to the male gaze"? Is there a line? Is the line in a different place around Halloween? If so, why?

(Not that I think I can actually answer these questions, but I do think that arguing over whether Yandy dude has a right to sell all the sexy costumes he wants and that women can just choose not to buy them, or that women want to buy them, is really missing the forest for the trees.)
posted by soundguy99 at 10:15 PM on October 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


From the article: ...I feel like that’s just reflective of what women are wearing. If you go out on your average Friday night to a dance club in Scottsdale, AZ — where we live — girls are gonna be dressed relatively sexy. So I don’t feel like our costumes are really...some of them are sexier than that, maybe. But most of them are in line with current fashion. I think, actually, the backlash every year against our costumes gets less and less as people realize, this is just the way this generation dresses. And that’s the way it is.

I get that this is sort of a "It's what the market wants, what can you do?" argument, but I think the guy makes a sensible point. Who is the target customer for an overpriced adult Halloween costume? It seems logical to me that it would be someone who has bigger plans for Halloween night than following around their kid trick or treating (like my wife and I), namely someone in their twenties or thirties who intends to have a big night on the town at a bar or club (or party) with a group of friends. I realize this isn't the sum total of all adult Halloween costume shoppers but I feel pretty confident in betting that it represents the majority.

My experience in going to bars and clubs is very much in line with the business owner in that on any given weekend night a large portion of the women at any typical bar or club are going to be dressed as "Sexy" twenty or thirty-somethings. I guess I don't see why it suddenly becomes morally reprehensible on Halloween but no big whoop the rest of the year. I mean, why no righteous indignation that the majority of women's club dresses are very much in the "Sexy" category.

I'm open to the larger discussion of why women are pressured to dress in a way that is pleasing to the male gaze at all, but I guess I just don't understand why the arbitrary line in the sand where women dressing in "sexy" outfits on a typical Saturday night at the club if fine, but worthy of complaint every Halloween.
posted by The Gooch at 10:19 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


So I went to the site, picked the Medieval category at random, and it seems like the women's costumes are mostly "sexy". But he does have a point that there are fairly modest ones to choose from , eg 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Even the ones labelled "sexy" aren't always that revealing.

As always there's no clear line between following the prevailing culture, and driving the culture in a particular direction. Arguably any time you follow it you reinforce it.

To me this guy doesn't seem to be like, say, Don Charney of American Apparel, deliberately driving his company in directions based on his own notions of "sexy". I think he'd happily sell 90% ankle-length dresses with high necklines if they were the ones that sold.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:53 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


*Sigh* The point is not that people are being judged for not having fun "the right way."

But that judging is what this disagreement is really all about. People are having fun doing this stuff. Some other people feel like they have the right to judge them for it. That's a problem.

Yes, the sexy stuff is easier to find than the non-sexy stuff, because sexy is generally more fun. But non-sexy stuff is available. If you want to dress up in a hazmat suit or something, do it. Other people want to show some skin, and that's their right.

The sexy aspect of what this guy does is not so different from what bikini companies or lingerie companies do. People want sexy stuff, he makes it and they buy it. What he's doing isn't wrong, and people buying it aren't wrong. If you hate everything about it, don't take part in it and stop clucking your tongue about other people enjoying it.

I've read many anecdotes of women being ridiculed for not dressing sexy at a Hallowe'en party (you know, they go as an actual zombie rather than a sexy one or whatever).

If that's happening, it's fucked up and needs to stop. Nobody should be shamed for not being sexy. But nobody should be shamed if they do want to go sexy. Both kinds of shaming are wrong.

Triggerfinger, I don't know what you're looking for with the Leatherface thing. Why can't you wear a tie and a bloody apron with the mask, and just let your female-ness make this a feminized Leatherface? What kind of feminization are you hoping for? (Also, your link to the clown lady pictures featured plenty of sexy clown ladies and plenty of very very not sexy clown ladies. I mean, are these clown ladies super sexy?)

why is it culturally acceptable for women to be blatantly obviously "sexy" on a handful of specific days of the year?


For the same reason it's the one night a year when my trans sisters can go outside wearing a dress and be reasonably sure they won't get bashed: ours is a deeply, miserably repressed culture, and as such we need at least one night a year to go wild. It sucks that it's only one night a year, but it's better than nothing.

Is Halloween somehow free of slut-shaming?

Sadly, this thread proves it's not.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:08 PM on October 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Damn straight she could let me have some processed candy once a year on Halloween.

Then damn straight that women can make their own decisions about what costume they choose to wear one time a year without you going all hyperbolic with the judging and shaming. Seriously, WTF, just listen to yourself. This is not the Miko that I'm used to reading.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:51 PM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


The point is that limiting women's costume choices to virtually all "sexy" costumes

If this is abhorrent to you, what on earth is stopping you from taking in the big bucks by importing cheap Chinese shit just like he does that meet your impeccable standards of taste and propriety? Put your money where your mouth is. Be the change you want to see.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:59 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hurling abuse at this guy doesn't make you a feminist. It makes you somebody who is crabbing about other adults having fun.

I'm "crabbing" about him being a liar. That doesn't make me a feminist either. He's still a liar.
posted by howfar at 12:16 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


To clarify, although I hope it should be obvious from what I've actually said in the thread, my bile is reserved for the disingenuous bullshit of the capitalist in a consumerist society: "Oh I'm just giving people what they want. Whether they buy it is up to them". This is nonsense and obvious nonsense at that.
posted by howfar at 12:23 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


howfar: "This is nonsense and obvious nonsense at that."

Call it "nonsense" if you want, but considering you're in a thread where there is heavy disagreement about whether it's nonsense or not, adding "obvious" is just being rude to the people in the thread who disagree with you. It changes the dynamic from "I think X and you think Y. You are incorrect. X is true." to "I think X and you think Y. You are incorrect, and you're stupid, too, because it's obvious X is true."
posted by Bugbread at 12:46 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Howfar, I'm sorry if it seemed like I was coming after you specifically. I'm just in a mood and the whole world is kind of on my shit list.

"Oh I'm just giving people what they want. Whether they buy it is up to them".

But he is giving the people what they want, and it is up to them whether they buy it. The silly, sexy stuff sells best. Where is the lying?

I'm a cranky lefty too, but this guy seems like a relatively benign CEO. He sells all kinds of fun costumes, and he's not ashamed to say that the sexy, topical novelty shit sells best.

I totally get his point about the humor of it too, that it's supposed to be ridiculous that somebody would ever wear a sexy lady Donald Trump costume. We're well past the point where every sexy, topical costume is supposed to be legitimately sexy. Halloween costumes have reached a postmodern stage, where some of them are ironic takes on the idea of a sexy costume.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:46 AM on October 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


What a terrible interview. Not a single question about how this CEO scumbag raised the price on HIV drugs from $13.50 to $750.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:50 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


A lot of the defenses for "sexy" halloween costumes and this dude's store--i.e. "it's what people want," "there's a demand and not enough demand for other things," "well then why not just make your own?" etc... reminds me A LOT of the defenses given for gender disparity of sexiness in video games, movies, porn, and almost every other form of media. In fact it's almost ad verbatim.

* Too many sexy female characters? Whatever, don't be a prude! People like it!
* Do you expect [some specific developer/producer/studio] to just STOP or to listen to YOU? Haha, that's not going to happen because capitalism.
* You want something else? Just make your own stuff, as if you have the same amount of talent and time and resources as a professional.
* You don't think there are any sexy men? But what about [a single example of some dude character who is preeetty obviously not supposed to be sexy] or [some really obscure shit that is hard to find]?
* Don't take this so seriously! It's just entertainment.
* People complain about this thing all the time? You're still a minority because the market indicates so.
* People are increasingly asking for more variety in representation of different genders, bodies and sexualities? Wwwhatever!

Complete with pretty obvious skirting around the core of this issue--that sexy female characters, much like sexy Halloween costumes, are a symptom of a male gaze-y culture where women are sexy or should strive to be sexy in a very particular way (then subsequently shamed when they are, because everything feminine-coded is considered degenerate, whether it's being a slut or a frigid prude), and that men are gross uglies whose attempts at sexiness are ~HILARIOUS~, due to aforementioned coding of sexiness as feminine, and a bunch of other heteronormative/sexist reasons that intersects with this issue.

To people who get irritated because they like wearing sexy costumes and don't like criticism of sexy costumes: Look. I get you. I make, sell and consume porn comics, and people have a lot of issues with porn. Much like what's happening in this thread with Halloween costumes, criticism against porn often gets construed as criticism against sex, as slut-shaming, as kink-shaming, etc. But the majority of criticism against porn and sexy costumes is not a criticism against people's sexual behaviors and desires--it's a criticism against the state of the industry and of our culture--the lack of variety, the undercurrents of sexism, the obvious skewing towards one single demographic, the toxic culture that fuels the content, and the content which in turn affects the culture that consumes it.

Also, don't pretend like the latter doesn't happen--how many times have I seen people reblog my porn saying "Wow I never knew how much I wanted this!" How many times have I gone to bed with a young guy who wants to mimic some overdone trope seen in mainstream porn vids? (The answer is a LOT, but I digress.)
This is what sexy halloween costumes are like. In the end, you have to accept that you don't wear that costume in a vaccuum. You wear it in a culture that can see you and is affected by you, and where you have been socialized to want that costume, the same way you've been socialized to celebrate Halloween at all in any shape or form.
posted by picklenickle at 12:52 AM on October 9, 2015 [23 favorites]


picklenickle: "A lot of the defenses for "sexy" halloween costumes and this dude's store--i.e. "it's what people want," "there's a demand and not enough demand for other things," "well then why not just make your own?" etc... reminds me A LOT of the defenses given for gender disparity of sexiness in video games, movies, porn, and almost every other form of media."

Yes, but there's a huge difference; those are all products where the focus is on sales to men. Better comparisons would be, for example, comparing this to Cosmo or the like.

picklenickle: "Complete with pretty obvious skirting around the core of this issue--that sexy female characters, much like sexy Halloween costumes, are a symptom of a male gaze-y culture"

Who do you see as skirting that issue? Reading this thread, I'm assuming (perhaps because I'm on MeFi) that everyone, both in the pro- and anti- camps, believes that the whole reason for the overall costume disparity is male gaze-y culture. Like, when MeFi talks about solar eclipses, nobody talks about the sun being hot, but it's not because they're skirting the issue, it's because there's no disagreement on that point and therefore nothing to discuss. Any discussion would just be "yup" and "yeah" and "I agree".

But rather than you and me going back and forth on this, let's double-check with the folks in the thread: Does anyone here believe that the tremendous number of sexy female costumes is not a symptom of male gaze-y culture?
posted by Bugbread at 1:03 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I kinda think the situation here is like the Bechdel Test. The problem is not that any individual movie fails, it's that so many movies fail. Likewise, the problem is not that this one individual company specializes in sexy costumes, it's that so many companies do. The problem isn't in a specific incidence, it's in the trend itself.
posted by Bugbread at 1:08 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Does anyone here believe that the tremendous number of sexy female costumes is not a symptom of male gaze-y culture?

I think people are individuals who are entitled to their own choices, and if a woman wants to dress up like a sexy clown you have no right to judge her or assume she's been duped by the patriarchy or whatever. Maybe she has a sexy clown fetish. Maybe she's gay and her girlfriend likes sexy clowns. Maybe she's cosplaying like a badass character in her favorite anime. Maybe her reasons are her reasons, and it's none of our damn business.

I think Bugbread makes a fair point that these costumes are being purchased (mostly) by women, so it's not fair to compare it to stuff being marketed to men. This isn't a weirdly sexualized ad for shaving razors or something, this is real women choosing to wear stuff you personally don't like. If a woman chooses to dress up like a sexy nurse, it doesn't matter if you don't like it. It's her body and her life. If you're sneering at her because you think she's showing too much boob, you're the one who is not being a good feminist.

I apologize if I sound smug or holier than thou. But feminism doesn't just mean that women shouldn't be burdened to be sexy. It also means that if they want to be sexy, they have that right.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:44 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Maybe her reasons are her reasons, and it's none of our damn business.

This is true, but it doesn't answer or invalidate the question Bugbread posed that you quoted, since it concerns the market dominance (in terms of availability) of sexualized Halloween outfits rather than the choices of the women who choose to wear them. (At least that's how I read it.)

Personally, I absolutely believe that the monotony of "sexy" on the supply side is a problem and a symptom of male gaze-y culture, as Bugbread put it, while simultaneously holding the opinion that women can wear whatever the hell they want on Halloween.
posted by jklaiho at 2:41 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


it doesn't answer or invalidate the question Bugbread posed that you quoted, since it concerns the market dominance (in terms of availability) of sexualized Halloween outfits rather than the choices of the women who choose to wear them.

The Yandy guy is selling these costumes because people are buying them. Apparently a whole lot of women want to buy those costumes. That is why I keep coming back to the choices made by these women. If they didn't want them they wouldn't buy them, and if they didn't buy them the Yandy guy would stop selling them. He does make the less sexy stuff, and it doesn't sell as well. He's not lying... unless you really believe that the un-sexy stuff sells out fast and he just doesn't make more of it because he has a secret, sinister agenda to keep women dressed up like sexy lobsters.

This isn't a situation where nobody is making non-sexy stuff. You can't say, Oh, if only women had the option to buy non-sexy costumes, those terrible sexy costumes would finally go away! The non-sexy stuff exists, you can find it with a few clicks of your mouse, but the fact is that the majority of female Halloween costume buyers prefer the sexy stuff. They have made that choice. So, take it up with them... or better yet, don't, because what they choose to wear is none of your business.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:58 AM on October 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


All the SWAT costumes (donotlink link because I don't really want this company to rank higher for this phrase) for women are of the "sexy" variant, but the men have multiple regular, even boring, options in the same category. That does feel crappy, especially since, as the interview said, these are often bought as a group, and I can imagine that not every single women in such a group would want a sexy costume. Those SWAT costumes look like the perfect candidate to me to have a bit more variety in, so that you can go as a group, have the women who want a sexy costume wear that, and the people who don't feel comfortable with that wear a regular costume and still fit in and be part of the group.
posted by blub at 3:31 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


If a woman wanted to wear a non-sexy SWAT costume, could she buy one of the men's costumes and just wear that, or pieces of it over her own black t-shirt and pants? Seriously, it's just a vest and a hat over black clothing.

I've never been a short woman and I've never tried to make a men's SWAT costume happen, so maybe there are reasons it wouldn't work. But it looks to me like a lot of men's un-sexy costumes would be things a woman could wear, or at least that she could make it work with some relatively minor mods. Or a really tiny woman might have the option of wearing the boy's costumes.

Maybe the costume manufacturers could calm a lot of people down if they started selling the men's costumes as unisex. (While we're at it I'd prefer it if the women's costumes were sold as unisex too, thanks.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:43 AM on October 9, 2015


Super weird and disappointing to see accusations of bad feminist being hurled at people trying to express why they don't like the proliferation of cheap, shitty, "sexy" costumes.
posted by palomar at 3:47 AM on October 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


That sexy Lobster costume is full circle parody of a 10 year old CollegeHumor video. Which was so spot on down to the "not all our costumes are sexy" that they could have used the closed caption of it instead of the actual interview. From 2006 (possibly earlier, at least one person in the comments claims it's not original CH material.)

I was actually planning on going as sexy mustard this year.
posted by mcrandello at 3:51 AM on October 9, 2015


The Yandy guy is selling these costumes because people are buying them. Apparently a whole lot of women want to buy those costumes. That is why I keep coming back to the choices made by these women. If they didn't want them they wouldn't buy them, and if they didn't buy them the Yandy guy would stop selling them.

I think it's possible to respect the choices women make for their dress and their bodies and their self-presentation while still being aware and critical of the shitty patriarchal context in which and in response to which those choices are made. I can sneer at the way that the male gaze's proliferation in our culture encourages particular kinds of self-objectification without sneering at the women themselves.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:08 AM on October 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


If a woman wanted to wear a non-sexy SWAT costume, could she buy one of the men's costumes and just wear that, or pieces of it over her own black t-shirt and pants?
She could, but a man in a men's costume looks good, handsome, a curvy woman in a men's shirt does not have the same kind of look. And I would not even try pants that are made for men. I don't like the idea that as a women who doesn't like or have time to make her own costume you apparently have to choose between either those hyper-sexy costumes, or baggy not-well-fitting clothes that are made with men in mind.

"Just call it unisex" is what many sports clothing manufacturers do too for things like knee pads and running vests/backpacks, but they usually fail to take breasts and curves into account.
posted by blub at 4:16 AM on October 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


The best (and scariest) costume I encountered was a silent, completely shrouded in black person. From within the folds, the person held a stick with a rubber hand attached to it. The person jiggled his or her stick, and the hand bounced obscenely. That was it. A black sheet, stone silence, and a rubber hand on the stick.

Also, there is apparently a sexy pizza rat costume. You know, the New York pizza rat....
posted by angrycat at 4:25 AM on October 9, 2015


This isn't a situation where nobody is making non-sexy stuff. You can't say, Oh, if only women had the option to buy non-sexy costumes, those terrible sexy costumes would finally go away!

I have no problem with sexy costumes. Sex and sexiness are the right of every person. My problem is with a culture that pretends that capitalism is value neutral, that capitalists make no decisions and only follow the market. Homo economicus does not exist, and the lie that "that's just what sells" and "LOL" is not enough. Individuals make choices, but that includes those individuals who shape and inform the choices of others. He's not a bad man because of what he sells. He's an arsehole because he can't even be honest about what he sells and, more importantly, about what he doesn't sell.
posted by howfar at 4:37 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure this is not the first thread we've had about the vast majority of pre-made costumes for women being sexualised. The same excuses trotted out, the same rationalisations.

Wear whatever you want and have a good time. But don't pretend this guy is giving an honest and unbiased account of the market, especially if you'd be skeptical of CEOs giving advertorial interviews for cigarettes or coal or whatever.
posted by harriet vane at 4:56 AM on October 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I keep hoping the "Sexy Otto von Bismark" costume is going to show up, and every year I am disappointed. One year I settled for "Sexy Goethe," but it just wasn't the same.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:09 AM on October 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


blub: " I don't like the idea that as a women who doesn't like or have time to make her own costume you apparently have to choose between either those hyper-sexy costumes, or baggy not-well-fitting clothes that are made with men in mind. "

While I don't like that idea, either, I can grok why someone running a costume business wouldn't want to make women's unsexy SWAT uniforms if they don't actually sell. But you know what would be somewhat better than the current situation, while costing the company very, very little? Sell them as unisex, and got a woman to model each one. Then you're not putting people in the position of "either buy a sexy costume or browse the men's section". Instead, if you're a woman, you can go to the women's section and see "SWAT team member" "Sexy SWAT team member" "Jar of peanut butter" "Sexy jar of peanut butter". If the costumes sell, great! If they don't sell, so what? No additional costumes were designed or procured, the only money the CEO is out is the cost of the model shoots.

A perfect solution? No, of course not. But a totally doable and and economical improvement on the current situation.
posted by Bugbread at 5:29 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only costume I have any problem with is dudes wearing the Caitlyn Jenner costume. If I wanted to wear one, fine, but dudes no.

Like Ursula Hitler said, it's the one night trans women who are closeted/repressed/whatever can have a night of freedom (as a matter of fact Halloween was how I came to understand who I am) so yeah, sexy is fun let's do it, but I draw the line at making fun of trans women on Halloween. That's about the only line I've got.

I think this dude is kind of a fun loving asshole that I'd probably enjoy having a beer with but feel gross afterwards.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:00 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sexy SWAT teams in a police state. Says so much.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:15 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


A lot of the defenses for "sexy" halloween costumes and this dude's store--i.e. "it's what people want," "there's a demand and not enough demand for other things," "well then why not just make your own?" etc... reminds me A LOT of the defenses given for gender disparity of sexiness in video games, movies, porn, and almost every other form of media. In fact it's almost ad verbatim.

Exactly. People can wear whatever the hell they want, but it's not separable from institutionalized sexism. Almost nothing is.

Personally, I absolutely believe that the monotony of "sexy" on the supply side is a problem and a symptom of male gaze-y culture, as Bugbread put it, while simultaneously holding the opinion that women can wear whatever the hell they want on Halloween.

Exactly. These are not mutually exclusive views.

. Seriously, WTF, just listen to yourself. This is not the Miko that I'm used to reading.

Another disappointed customer. ...Seriously, I've reread my contributions in the thread, and I'm having trouble understanding what I said to warrant this reaction. I dislike this sort of commodification of creativity, and sexuality even as I recognize people's individual choice to do what they want. And I mean, for what it's worth, I do feel the same way about McDonald's and the petroleum industry. This just isn't a different political realm for me.
posted by Miko at 6:28 AM on October 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


White sheet, three holes, the usual deal.

Holes are exactly where you think they'd go... NSFW places.


...so how will you see?

###

A lot of this conversation reminds me of the old saw, that the Left wanted to destroy religion in order to take its place. A lot of the comments here could have come almost word for word from a Focus on the Family type as recently as the 90s (they seem to have given up since then). Right down to the idea that "culture" is a nebulous third party that preys on women, as opposed to something they participate in creating. Of course we talk about the male gaze and (implicitly) false consciousness instead of immorality and modesty, but it all is so familiar. Women don't have agency under either view
posted by mrbigmuscles at 6:38 AM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Seriously, I've reread my contributions in the thread, and I'm having trouble understanding what I said to warrant this reaction.

I'm suspecting you got some pushback when you accused those of us who have been saying "why are there almost no non-sexy costumes so people have choices" of really meaning "shame the harlots", because that sure as hell is not what I have been saying, at least.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 AM on October 9, 2015


Yay! Demand exists in a vacuum, completely untethered from the forces of supply and marketing! This isn't just my Princess Unicornia de Murgatroyd costume; I really AM Princess Unicornia de Murgatroyd!

*flies off on Bedazzled Shop-Vac*
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:32 AM on October 9, 2015


If a woman wants to dress as a sexy whatever, more power to her. (Been there, done that, one time in college.)

However, one of the problems is that at this point it feels like "sexy whatever" costumes are so much the default choice (at least for women in their teens through early twenties) that anyone who doesn't follow the trend can feel out of place at the very least, if not intensely uncomfortable and ostracized.

This also ties into body image issues. These woman in the sexy whatever costume ads all follow the Victoria's secret trend. Tall, thin, busty, white, tan...you get the picture. But most woman don't look like that. So then this becomes one more negative message to girls and women. You're expected to dress sexy because that's what women do, and that's how you're supposed to have fun, but are you really going to fit in if you don't look like the pictures?

Yes, there are other choices. Make your own costume, don't celebrate Halloween. And yes, plenty of women won't feel this way. But keep in mind that this message is going to hit adolescents hardest, and that's really the peak point in life for feeling peer pressure not to mention a point where a lot of body image issues start really taking root.

I think it's too simplistic to say, "This is what the market wants" or, "Adult women should dress sexy if they want to." Both of those things can be true while at the same time the fact is this is one more instance where women get the message that being sexy is one of their defining characteristics, and that you're only sexy if you fit within a very narrow definition of what sexy is.

Given this message, it's not surprising that so many women might have issues with their image and self worth. If being sexy is the goal, then you fail if you don't want to be sexy, and you fail if you want to be sexy but don't have the "sexy" body type. Of course, this is a message that women get all the time, from all directions. This Halloween costume thing is just one more example.

It doesn't feel like Halloween is about coming up with a creative or spooky or fun costume, if you're a woman. It feels like the point is to look sexy while wearing a Halloween costume. At least, that's the message I get from all of this.

(I know this isn't universal to all women. I know this is oversimplifying some things. I still think the point stands, and I think it's a point that a lot of people in this thread are overlooking.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:56 AM on October 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh, one more thing:

My experience in going to bars and clubs is very much in line with the business owner in that on any given weekend night a large portion of the women at any typical bar or club are going to be dressed as "Sexy" twenty or thirty-somethings.

Well, when you're going out to the club, part of the point is to dress up, go dancing, look sexy, whatever. I mean, that's sort of by design. Sure, it's not completely divorced from broader issues of sexism, and it's still rooted in the idea of women being sexy, but it's not exactly the same thing. It's sort of like pointing out the fact that women buy sexy lingerie. That's also (mostly although not exclusively) tied into the male gaze, but at least it's not entirely nonsensical. These things are both tied on some level into having sex. After all, the kind of dancing at clubbing often involves a lot of "grinding" and it's fairly common for women and men to go to clubs and bars in pursuit of a hook up/potential date/makeout buddy/whatever.

This is why I think the analogy to women in comics and video games being oversexed is more fitting. It's this idea of women being portrayed as sexy by default, even when there's literally no reason for it. In both of these cases, there is also the very stark contrast with women being portrayed as sexy and men just not, or at the very least it's so incredibly imbalanced.

I mean, when I was a kid, the fun part of a Halloween costume was being creative about it, coming up with something that resonated with you purposefully. Of course, historically dressing up as something scary went along with this.

But these costumes aren't creative. They aren't spooky. They're just sexy and kind of cheesy. Maybe some people think this is funny. Clearly this male CEO thinks it's funny, but the fact that the male CEO who is selling these costumes thinks it's funny doesn't really mean a whole lot to me, personally.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:10 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


litera scripta manet: "After all, the kind of dancing at clubbing often involves a lot of "grinding" and it's fairly common for women and men to go to clubs and bars in pursuit of a hook up/potential date/makeout buddy/whatever."

I don't know if that means I've been going to the wrong kinds of clubs or the right kinds of clubs.
posted by Bugbread at 8:15 AM on October 9, 2015


I wonder what Rob Cockerham will dress as this year?
posted by TedW at 8:23 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The obvious risque couple's costume this year is David Cameron and Porcine Companion.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:26 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


litera scripta manet, I think you may have missed my point. My argument is that "sexy" club clothes and "sexy"
Halloween costumes are two sides of the same coin since the customer for both is the same. Where are the people who buy Halloween costumes as adults planning on wearing them? I don't get a lot of 28-year-olds stopping by my house trick-or-treating. I don't think it is a reach to assume the majority of people who buy adult Halloween costumes are planning on wearing them out to a bar or club or raucous party. They are functionally wearing the same style of outfit they wear anytime they go to a bar/club/party, except this one day a year it is a "sexy" outfit with a theme rather than just a sexy outfit, period. I get that this isn't the *only* possible customer for adult Halloween costumes, but I also have a hard time faulting a business owner for catering to the majority.

The lion's share of outfits marketed to this demographic are going to be skimpy, yes, but I don't see why this is a moral outrage with Halloween costumes, but we don't get similar threads decrying, for example, why Tilly's has so few dresses for people who prefer to wear something more modest.
posted by The Gooch at 8:52 AM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing I always think about sexy costumes is, it's cold outside. Staggering down the streets in next to nothing, freezing your boobs and legs off, just looks sad.

I will appreciate that apparently yandy is just doing all of this for lulz, though.

Meanwhile, I knit Halloween costumes because I am HARDCORE. Okay, I did a little sewing this year, but that's a pain in the ass.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:06 AM on October 9, 2015


Triggerfinger, I don't know what you're looking for with the Leatherface thing. Why can't you wear a tie and a bloody apron with the mask, and just let your female-ness make this a feminized Leatherface? What kind of feminization are you hoping for? (Also, your link to the clown lady pictures featured plenty of sexy clown ladies and plenty of very very not sexy clown ladies. I mean, are these clown ladies super sexy?)

The tie, apron and mask are accessories and are the easy parts. The other part is what clothes are worn underneath, which are still part of the costume. So, I guess some kind of slacks and maybe a button-up shirt (what color? long or short-sleeve?) would seem obvious. I could go by the standard costume photos or a picture of Leatherface himself but the whole reason I was googling Leatherface is not because I wanted to dress as him specifically, but because I wanted a serial-killer-in-the-woods costume, but try finding good ideas by googling that. Leatherface is maybe the most famous representative of this genre so the easiest to google. I was looking for women who had dressed up in this type of costume and how they had styled it specifically for women but not sexy.

In any case, yes, I could just throw on some guy slacks and button-up shirt, throw an apron over it, grab a machete and call it a day. But the reason I don't want to wear guy clothes is I don't have a guy's body. So if I want men's pants that will fit over my hips, I have to buy a few sizes bigger which means they will likely 1). be too big in my waist, 2) be too long, and 3) be way to voluminous in the legs. The same goes for a men's shirt that will fit over my boobs. Honestly, it's hard enough to find WOMEN'S clothes that fit women properly, forget about men's clothes!

So now that I'm wearing my very ill-fitting men's clothes, I not only look objectively ridiculous but I feel really uncomfortable because I know I'm wearing ill-fitting clothes and look ridiculous. A costume like this might be okay if I were just dressing up to take kids trick-or-treating around a dark neighborhood for an hour or something, but I'm going to a photography costume party and expecting to get professional-style photos taken. So I want something that not only can I feel really comfortable in, but also looks super cool as a costume.

My other option is the sexy Leatherface, which (leaving aside the fact that I want to look like a genuine scary SKitW - basically the opposite of sexy), as I do not have the body type that this costume is made for this outfit makes me super uncomfortable as it actually ends up being more revealing on someone who has a bigger ass, hips or boobs than what it's made for (basically anyone who's not tall and thin).

So I went online looking for ideas on how to style this kind of costume and even though my only parameters of "not sexy" and "not men's clothes" are pretty broad, I still couldn't find anything. Which, even though Leatherface is obviously a man and maybe not a great example, SKitW is a common enough general, not-specifically-gendered horror character, which should make it pretty easy to style for women. The reason there aren't really any examples out there is probably because there are lots of women like me, who are not good at styling, who go out and look for ideas on how to put a costume together and can't find any (apart from sexy and man-style) and so move on to another idea. Which obviously further exacerbates the problem of not having any images out there for other women to use.

Btw, I did finally put together a really good SKitW costume (although as I mentioned above, I think I've settled on the gas mask costume). But only after I visited a costume rental place yesterday which has high-quality theatrical costumes. I put together an outfit which had: black leggings; dirty knee-high black boots; a beige-ish hip-length peasant shirt which (deliberately) looks beat to shit and has patches on the elbows and I think some small holes; and a really excellent leather apron (also beat up), with different colored leather pockets. Now all I would need to get is a mask - either a Leatherface one, or something more generally creepy like this. My hair is long and straight so I was thinking of crimping it to kind of get this look (except messier and dirtier-looking).
posted by triggerfinger at 9:14 AM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh - and it seems a little strange to me that I have to say this - but I do feel I need to mention that even though I don't want to wear a "sexy"-style Halloween costume for whatever reason, it does not in any way mean that I think less of women who do. In fact, the opposite is true - I'm pretty much always a defender of women wearing whatever they hell they want to wear and having fun in whatever way they want. I fully understand how the sexy costume industry fits into the larger picture of a misogynistic culture and I still think women have the right to wear this stuff without judgement if they want to. I get pissed off at the lack of costume options not only for personal reasons but also because I believe that broadening the options available to women in any area is a powerful way to fight back against a culture that places such incredibly narrow parameters on what's acceptable.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:29 AM on October 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


You know what is really depressing/distressing (as a dad of girl tweens)? Looking at the costumes in the "kid" sections of the pop up halloween city stores and seeing the sexy-blank outfits there as well. They aren't named as such, but every generic pincess or whatever comes with tights and a barely ass-covering skirt or tutu. It's kind of hard to explain to your 12 year old why a costume is being denied - "uhhh....it's too cold on Halloween night to wear what amount to a bra and lace stockings as 'lady pirate', honey."
posted by Mr. Big Business at 9:35 AM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Where are the people who buy Halloween costumes as adults planning on wearing them? I don't get a lot of 28-year-olds stopping by my house trick-or-treating.

* They could be going to a Halloween party thrown by a friend.
* They could be taking their kids around trick-or-treating and deciding to have fun with it themselves.
* They could be giving out candy to the kids trick-or-treating and decided to dress for the occasion.

that's just off the top of my head.

I don't think it is a reach to assume the majority of people who buy adult Halloween costumes are planning on wearing them out to a bar or club or raucous party. They are functionally wearing the same style of outfit they wear anytime they go to a bar/club/party, except this one day a year it is a "sexy" outfit with a theme rather than just a sexy outfit, period. I get that this isn't the *only* possible customer for adult Halloween costumes, but I also have a hard time faulting a business owner for catering to the majority.

Do we know that this is really a case of a business owner "catering to the majority", or whether it's a case of a business owner creating a majority by simply having a much smaller stock of the non-sexy costumes so most people who want something non-sexy just don't bother?

It's like the whole girls' toys being pink thing - do girls ask for toys in pink becuase they really like pink, or do they ask for toys in pink becuase that's the only color their toys come in?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:42 AM on October 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


And they know they are "supposed to" want/ask for pink toys.
posted by agregoli at 9:53 AM on October 9, 2015


Never mind what's been selling, It's what you're buying (Single Link Fugazi-Tube)
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:08 AM on October 9, 2015


The thing I always think about sexy costumes is, it's cold outside.

Not so much in Phoenix where this guy is located, but I do take your point.

This seems like a remedial explanation but my frowns towards the "sexy" Halloween costumes is that they only represent one narrow value of "sexy" for women. Tall, slender, buxom, tight tight short short. These picture on this website reinforce a very narrow definition of "sexy." And the models on the site appear to be white*, many are blonde, all have long hair. The "plus" sized costumes are pretty much just XL and XXL.

*I guess you could argue some are Hispanic, but there are definitely no black or Asian women.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:26 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thanks litera scripta manet for saying what I had been thinking but couldn't find the words to say. My issue with these costumes is not the costume or the costume wearer - I've worn these types of costumes in the past. I take issue with the costume being labeled "sexy" and the implication that to be sexy, a woman needs to have a particular body type or be in a particular age range. That is, it seems like even when a woman chooses to wear the costume of her own volition because she wants to feel/look sexy, she is not the one who ultimately gets to decide if that objective was successful. What do you think happens when a woman who doesn't fit the 22 year old thin voluptuous archetype wears one of these costumes? What if you're heavier, or older, or have different proportions? You can choose to wear the costume anyway (if it even comes in your size), but you're opening yourself up to verbal abuse (esp. if any photo of you is posted online). The decision to "be sexy" for Halloween is not one that women control - you can try, but, ultimately, society will tell you if you if you succeeded. In some ways this is the same as any costume -- you're judged on how well you pull off the look you're going for. But in this case, the judgment is whether you're "sexy" or not, and in a world that tells women their worth and right to exist is largely based on whether they're considered fuckable, it can be much more emotionally fraught than whether someone thinks your werewolf costume is bad.

There is a real cultural pressure to be "sexy lady" on Halloween, and a silent statement that, if you don't want to do that (or are otherwise not of a body type/age that society casts as "sexy") you should just stay home, Halloween is not for you.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:28 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


The lion's share of outfits marketed to this demographic are going to be skimpy, yes, but I don't see why this is a moral outrage with Halloween costumes

First of all, I wouldn't characterize this as a "moral" outrage. I know this may not be your intention in using that word, but implying this is about morals gives the impression that this is about being morally against women wearing sexy costumes. I don't think anyone in this thread is saying women should feel ashamed or shouldn't wear sexy Halloween costumes if they want to.

Although lord knows there are plenty of people who do say that, which just makes this even more of a mind fuck. Like, on one hand, you as a woman should be sexy because that's how woman are and being sexy is bad and you should feel bad for wanting to be sexy.

but we don't get similar threads decrying, for example, why Tilly's has so few dresses for people who prefer to wear something more modest.

I think this leads into my next point, which is that this is about choice. Lots of places do sell more "modest" clothing, or at least, you can certainly find more clothes that offer more coverage than those dresses you linked to. But with the Halloween costumes, there is very little choice for women to find pre made nonsexy Halloween costumes, at least as far as I've seen. I'm not saying there's zero choice, but the number of sexy costumes vastly outweigh the rest.

It is true that a lot of women will wear these costumes out to clubs, frat parties, etc. But first of all, since Halloween is about wearing a costume, why does that costume have to be a thinly veiled version of the same thing you wear all the time? And what about women who want to wear costumes for other reasons? As noted above, there are in fact other reasons to wear Halloween costumes that don't involve clubs and frat parties. Shocking, I know.

I also think it's worth pointing out that there is a difference between very explicitly sexy costumes (or explicitly sexy anything) and short dresses. This isn't just about the amount of skin showing. You can have bras and underwear that aren't explicitly "sexy" in that they're main purpose is to function as underwear not sexy lingerie. For example, this bra versus this one.

Although at the same time, this does lead back into a related issue when it comes to the marketing of clothing, lingerie, etc, in that the body types catered to fit a very, very narrow range, which as I noted above, is incredibly damaging. Unless you're a size two, taller than 5'7" and caucasian (yes, there are the occasional models who are POC, but they still typify this very specific body type, and there are way too few of them), who is busty but not TOO busty, not to mention young, then you get the message constantly that you/your body is: wrong, invisible, ugly, lacking, etc.

When you combine that message with the message that women are defined by their looks, well it's quite frankly toxic. It may not be the goal of this CEO or of Victoria's Secret to make women feel this way, but their intentions don't mean a whole hell of a lot to all the women who are affected by this.

On preview, I see that melissasaurus has just done a very good job covering some of these points as well.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


On that note, it's been very depressing for me to look back and realize that the time when I got the most male attention was when I was roughly 21 years old and I was incredibly thin because I was actively starving myself to death. That male attention ranged from getting hit on at parties by peers (which was fine) to cat calls on the street (not at all fine) and more middle aged men then I care to count hitting on me creepily in some of the most inappropriate settings, like at an outpatient drug rehab program.

Women get these messages from so many places, and the problem is that it's one of the most consistent messages that they get. It's so frequent and so consistent that it's hard to even know how it shapes you.

For example, I enjoy shopping and looking nice, and I always put on makeup before going to work and often before going to errands. I like doing those things, truly, but I also have to admit that on the few days when I don't feel like putting on makeup, I still feel compelled to. It's very disheartening when you decide to not put on makeup one day and then you get several people telling you how "tired" you look.

Oh, and don't forget to smile. Because women should always be smiling, naturally.

Anyway, that's wandering a little bit away from this article to a certain extent, but it does lead back to my overarching point which is that saying "Oh, a sexy lobster costume is just so funny!" ignores all of this other cultural baggage. None of this is happening in a vacuum.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:02 PM on October 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Man, I had always really enjoyed "sexy lobster" type costumes as a sort of absurdist commentary on the "sexy [thing] costume" genre (and I have definitely dressed as "ridiculous sexy [thing]" in the past, although with costumes I've put together myself, not something right out of a party store bag). Now I'm not sure if "sexy lobster" is meant ironically, or if it even matters how they mean it, so long as it still functions to reinforce the dominant "you must go as something sexy" paradigm.
posted by naoko at 12:43 PM on October 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'll be honest. I'd wear sexy Halloween costumes every year and buy them off the walls if only they would make plus size lady costumes that weren't made of fucking spandex.
posted by corb at 12:46 PM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I'll be honest too - I'd be down with the idea of a sexy [schmeh] costume in my own life, but not for Halloween; instead it would be fantasy wear if I had a steady partner or something. And from what I understand, that is actually the kind of market this "sexy [schmeh]" stuff was originally meant to be for - you'll note that in the article, he says that they got into lingerie first.

And to be clear, once again - my personally feeling more comfortable drawing a clear line between "the costumes I wear for Halloween" and "the costumes I wear if I wanna get a little wacky in the bedroom" does not mean that I think people who draw that line in a different place are weird or kinky or sluts or anything. If anything, what you're seeing in me is more like, I'm feeling like I'm being called a prude for not wanting everyone in the world to see my freak flag, and that's not fair either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:57 PM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some of the most sexay costumes on the site are labeled "bedroom" - so like sexay bedroom nurse so they're definitely aware of the role-playing customers it seems.

(I spent way too long looking at Yandy because of this FPP. )
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:01 PM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I seem to be getting a cold so I'm impatient and crabby. I skimmed responses and don't plan to respond. I think I said what I needed to say, and probably quite a bit more. But:

If anything, what you're seeing in me is more like, I'm feeling like I'm being called a prude for not wanting everyone in the world to see my freak flag, and that's not fair either.

To reiterate, it is absolute wrong to shame anybody for not wanting to wear sexy stuff. If you go to a Halloween party and anybody is like, "you don't look sexy enough", that person is acting like an asshole.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:55 PM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


when you accused those of us who have been saying "why are there almost no non-sexy costumes so people have choices" of really meaning "shame the harlots"

Sorry - where did I do that exactly? I think you may have misread or misattributed something, because that is not even my view.
posted by Miko at 4:57 PM on October 9, 2015


I've just reviewed your comments, and you're right, I have been confused. My apologies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:31 PM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some of the most sexay costumes on the site are labeled "bedroom" - so like sexay bedroom nurse so they're definitely aware of the role-playing customers it seems.

Yeah, as a costume company it always seemed puzzling and pretty objectifying, but as a lingerie company (that pretty much makes fetish wear tbh) it somehow makes sense.
posted by GuyZero at 5:46 PM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think naoko hit on what I was getting at. I think that sexifying things that are inherently not sexy, (I'm looking at you pizza rat and the dress and tacos) is making fun of the sexy "whatever" cliche. I love the absurdism of it. Like, fine, you want me to dress up sexy? Look. I'm a sexy lobster.

As a woman operating in this world, I'm well aware of the cultural baggage and sexual expectations we are constantly bombarded with. I totally agree there should be more non-sexy options for women and more yay sexy options for men who want them. Pretty much, I just want everyone to have fun dressing up on Halloween in something that delights them, whatever that may be.
posted by chatongriffes at 9:29 AM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]






Pre-made Halloween costumes are extremely expensive when compared to the cost of the materials and the value added by the manufacturer/retailer. It's cheaper and a lot more fun to make costumes yourself... that's the ultimate choice. So presumably the women (and often on Halloween, men) who are dressing up in these sexy costumes are going in eyes wide open?
posted by Nevin at 1:50 PM on October 27, 2015


It's cheaper and a lot more fun to make costumes yourself... that's the ultimate choice.

That is, that's the ultimate choice if you have the time and the skill to make a costume yourself.

So presumably the women (and often on Halloween, men) who are dressing up in these sexy costumes are going in eyes wide open?

More likely, they are looking for costumes because they don't have the time or skill to make their own. People who want sexy costumes are fine, people who don't want sexy costume but also don't have the time or skill to make their own....guess it sucks to be them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:58 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pre-made Halloween costumes are extremely expensive when compared to the cost of the materials

How much does fabric cost in your world? Because in mine, the cost of the materials is usually 5-6x the cost of a pre-made costume, even before you factor in the value of my time.
posted by KathrynT at 2:04 PM on October 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nevin: "Pre-made Halloween costumes are extremely expensive when compared to the cost of the materials and the value added by the manufacturer/retailer. It's cheaper and a lot more fun to make costumes yourself."

My kids wore pre-made Star Wars costumes this Halloween. They were expensive (because I had to import them). However, to achieve the same quality I would have to have learned how to make molds, cast plastic, cast flexible resin foam, bought airbrushes, regular brushes and a range of paints, etc. It would have cost way more to make one of those costumes than to buy it.

Now, if you mean "You can make a shittier version for less money", then, well, yeah.

Which then leads on to point two: It's a lot more fun for you. For me, making costumes is a slog. Wearing is fun, but making is just a bunch of unpaid work. So the choice is "spend many hours not having fun in order to make something that looks like shit, or spend a few hours doing regular work and use that money to buy a costume". Pretty easy choice.

On the other hand, you enjoy making costumes. And perhaps you are good at it, so the stuff you make looks as good or better than pre-bought. That's great! But it's silly for you, or I, to conclude that our personal feelings and skills are universal and that therefore we can extrapolate about other people.
posted by Bugbread at 4:41 PM on October 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


I love DIY costume stuff. But it's not rare that I'll invest a bunch of time and money into making a costume or some other craft project and it will end up being super stressful and it won't even look that good. (I almost always wish my final effort could be a first draft, because it's not until the end that I'll feel like I finally figured out what I was doing but now it's too late and the "first draft" will just have to do.) At such times I invariably find myself thinking of the line Jason Jones used to use to sign off at the end of Craft Corner Deathmatch: "Remember: It's easier and cheaper just to buy stuff."
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:28 PM on October 27, 2015


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