By Alicia James
Halloween is the last American holdout of Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory on the carnivalesque. In Rabelais and His World, Bakhtin posits that when people don costumes and enter into the streets in a community-wide party, they become part of a collective by ceasing to be themselves. Anonymity brings heightened awareness of one’s sensual and material body, as well as how that body interacts with or against social norms. Revelers return to their daily identities renewed the morning after.
I fully support sexy costumes for this reason. Social hierarchy shrivels in a pale blaze of exposed skin after the sun sets on Oct. 31. Geeks, goths, wallflowers, and basic b**ches are all on the same playing field. No one cares if you secretly like boy bands or what your dad does for a living. It only matters whether or not you’re packing sexy at the Halloween party.
Pro-sexy pundits suggest that skimpy costumes are about self-expression. I’d like to point out that most folks in the red Solo cup age group don’t quite know who they are yet. They cannot truly express themselves via fashion’s subtle methods. Instead, sexy costumes can be seen as a way to divest false notions of self, and ritualistically synthesize the raw, visceral stuff of human life. After all, Halloween is a feast in the face of mankind’s deep fear of death.
So, girls, if you want to freeze your tush off masquerading as a sexy nurse/nun/firefighter/cop for a night, then rock on with your bad self. Explore your sexuality and your career options at the same time. Just remember the rules of engagement:
- Always keep an eye on your drink.
- Never leave a sexy sister behind.
- Cheers to tapping into your dark side. Bakhtin approves.