PC Culture

University Warns that ‘Sexualized’ Costumes Are ‘Dangerous’

Halloween in Times Square in 2013. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)
It should be the students’ choice to decide if they want to display their bodies.

Gonzaga University has issued a series of warnings to its students ahead of Halloween — including one that “sexualized” costumes are apparently “dangerous.”

The warnings were issued in a campus-wide email sent by Gonzaga University vice president for student development Judi Biggs Garbuio and Gonzaga student-body president Athena Sok last week. The email was later obtained by Campus Reform.

The email acknowledged that although Halloween may have “Christian origins,” it “has also become known for more dangerous and damaging traditions like binge drinking, sexualized or culturally inappropriate costumes, and vandalism,” the email stated. “We urge our community to be aware of the potentially harmful impact insensitive behavior can have on fellow students, other members of the Gonzaga community, and our Logan neighbors.”

“One of these behaviors is cultural appropriation — the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing respect of [sic] that culture,” the email continued.

The email also invited anyone who was interested in the issues of “cultural appropriation and the sexualization of Halloween costumes” to attend to “Courageous Conversation” events: “My Culture Is Not a Costume” and “The Sexualization of Halloween.”

Now, first of all, let me say that vandalism, binge drinking, and “culturally inappropriate costumes” are certainly not good things. In the case of binge drinking in particular, that is certainly something that could be described as “dangerous.” But “sexualized” costumes? How on earth is that something that could be considered “dangerous”?

I mean, maybe I’m just ignorant. After all, it’s not like I attended that “The Sexualization of Halloween” talk that Gonzaga hosted or anything, so maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about here. But even though I haven’t attended any seminars on the issue, I definitely have seen my fair share of “sexy” or “sexualized” Halloween costumes. In fact, if the past few years are any indication, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to walk even a block in New York City without seeing one this weekend. Do you know what every single one of these costumes had in common? None of them, not even for a second, ever made me feel as though I was in any danger.

Perhaps I’m just extraordinarily brave. Maybe these costumes actually are super threatening, and I’ve just been super lucky to not have had to bear the brunt of any of their destruction. But I really don’t think so. I think that the worst thing that can come from wearing a sexy Halloween costume is that the person wearing it might be kind of cold all night. Seeing how the vast, vast majority of college students are adults, I think that they should be allowed to make the decision about whether the cold is something that they want to deal with. It should be their personal choice to decide if they want to display their bodies or not, and using ridiculous words like “dangerous” to describe doing so is absolutely insane.

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