How Halloween helped me love my body

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By Maia Roston, Third year, Philosophy

The Croft Magazine // Halloween costumes are a main part of the holiday for many, some feel the pressure on women to dress a certain way isn't empowering, but for Maia Roston it is exactly this tradition that has helped her confidence in her body.

The only opinion that matters is your own | Amie Martin / Unsplash

Each year as Halloween approaches and, especially as my friends and I grow older, the emphasis is almost entirely on the outfit. The outfit that holds such expectancy, anticipation and, unfortunately for many, extreme trepidation. It is of course natural to observe people on a night out but on Halloween this is heightened as it is suddenly more acceptable to wear less clothing than usual, for boys but more predominantly for girls.

I believe a woman can choose to dress in whatever way she desires but this thought is more widely shared when adopting a different character’s style. It is almost as if it is more acceptable when girls are not dressing as themselves but someone entirely different. What does not change though is the male gaze. In feminist theory, the male gaze is the act of depicting women from a masculine perspective that represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male onlooker.

Although as I said before it is more widely accepted to dress in more revealing clothing on Halloween, what does not falter is the unwanted attention from men that women are subject to. I recently tried on a ‘dress up’ outfit that I felt confident in but thoughts started to percolate in my mind and suddenly it was what everyone else would think which impacted the way I felt. I was seeking validation as I showed a group of my male friends my outfit, in order for them to express that it was not too inappropriate or scarce. I was assured that I should feel confident and wear it with pride, which did comfort me. However, I then questioned myself as to why I felt the need to have male validation. Why should my boy friends approve what I wear? Even if one of them did not like it or told me it was ‘too much’ I should not have felt the need to seek their approval.

To feel confident in yourself is of primary importance despite what anyone else thinks. I believe the male gaze to be the secondary and lesser effect of your outfit choice. What I mean by this is that you should not let others’ judgments determine your sense of self-worth and self-assurance. Not only on Halloween, but any day in life. Whatever you wear someone will have a thought about it. The importance of this thought is insignificant and more importantly fleeting. It is your opinion that truly matters, if that costume makes you happy, wear it!

I urge you to remember that ultimately the only person whose opinion matters is yours. This Halloween and everyday, dress in whatever makes you comfortable and confident. People will always be judgmental but what you feel intrinsically is of greatest significance.  Feel empowered in your sense of style and therefore feel empowered going about everyday life. I believe feeling quietly confident can make all the difference to your overall outlook in every way.

featured image by Amie Martin on Unsplash

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