'#FeministHalloween' costumes defy 'internalized misogyny'

A “#FeministHalloween” contest will award prizes to college students for submitting costume ideas that counter “the onslaught of culturally appropriative or insensitive costumes.”

The American Association of University Women (AAUW), which is sponsoring the contest, encourages women to Tweet, Facebook, and Instragram photos of the costumes they wore this past weekend using “#FeministHalloween.” Friday is the final day to submit entries, and prizes will be announced Monday for the best individual and group costumes.

The AAUW describes itself as “the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls.”

“Not even on Halloween, a day that’s largely about escapism, can we fully break free from stereotypes and bias, from the pressure to dress 'sexy,' from the onslaught of culturally appropriative or insensitive costumes” the contest website explains. “That’s why this year, we’re cheering on empowering costumes, especially ones that flip gender stereotypes on their monstrous heads.”

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Featured feminists from last year’s contest dressed up as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, “cats against catcalling,” and a “Title IX” superhero, and the full array of this year's submissions are featured on the contest website.

Western New Mexico University student Jill Smith, for instance, dressed up as Rosie the Riveter this year, telling Campus Reform that she believes women “need feminism in order to be seen as more than objects” and is excited about the contest because it “shows that feminists have fun too.”

Another student, Meghan Mausteller from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, dressed up as “Bad Little Red Riding Hood,” even carrying a severed wolf’s head in a basket to show that she had “killed her own wolf,” she told Campus Reform.

Mausteller, who also identifies as a feminist, said that the contest “helps further the feminist movement because it encourages women to work past their own cultural biases or internalized misogyny and take Halloween and make it into something that's entirely their own,” adding that she is also glad that it “encourages women to dress in a way that isn't appropriative or culturally insensitive.”

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The two winning entries will be decided by a panel of student leaders from the AAUW’s National Student Advisory Council, which will announce the results Monday. The winner for best individual costume stands to receive “fun feminist swag and accessories,” while the group contest winners can anticipate an undisclosed “special delivery” from AAUW.

The AAUW had not responded to a request for comment by press time.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen