Sexism and Halloween

According to Alliance Data Retail Services, Halloween is the fourth most popular holiday for consumers to spend money—next to Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. It seems everyone drops big bucks on halloween, the costume industry will make a wapping 2.6 billion dollars by the send of this halloween season. 65% of consumers will spend an average of 66 dollars on their costume. But this issue is, these costumes are increasingly sexual- at least, they are for women. As Mean Girl’s says “Halloween is the one night of the year where girls can dress like sluts and not be judged”. If you want to dress in a more provocative way, I’m all for it! More power to you! But there are little other options.

Below are a series of gifs (Courtesy of Buzzfeed) that show the progression of female halloween costumes, from adorable baby to over-sexualized adult.

The Devil:

Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Angel: 
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Bumble Bee:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Witch:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Unicorn:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Pirate:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Nurse:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
Minnie Mouse:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz 
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
Furthermore, these costumes are so much sexier than their male counterparts. The images below, all from Buzzfeed, show the major difference between female and male costumes. As you can see, the female costumes are always sexier, and show much more skin.
The comic below (courtesy of Hairpin) shows the ridiculousness of the costume industry!
It is coming to the point where “sexy big bird” and “sexy pizza” outfits are the norm. Maybe Halloween Costume Producers can take a more feminist view on the issue, and provide a multitude of costumes- some sexy, some more modest- so that women across the world can feel comfortable and confident in their costume choices.


Recently, Mommy Blogger Ilana Wiles write about the #likeagirl campaign, which promotes pictures of girls doing traditionally “manly” things, such as rolling in mud, working with tools, etc. But, she wanted to shine light on the boys who were accepted while doing typically “feminine” activities, like playing house, wearing princess dresses, and painting their nails. She promoted all  posted photos with the hashtag #likeaboy.

Wiles was psyched to see parents sharing pictures of their sons happily taking part in so-called “girl activities.”

“I know #likeaboy doesn’t exactly have the same connotation as #likeagirl because the point of the original commerical was that we need to turn #likeagirl from a bad thing into a good thing. But when boys partake in so called “girl activities” it shouldn’t be looked upon negatively either. It’s important to praise boys for being sensitive and nurturing, just like we praise girls for being strong,” she said.

“We are not just raising future athletes and business leaders,” the mom of two said. “We are raising future fathers who are now expected to take on major roles in the household. Housework and childcare isn’t girly. It is what makes a good man and a strong family. Every little boy should be handed a doll and a toy vacuum.”

“In these photos, I think it’s awesome to see how many parents are proud of their kids just for being themselves,” the blogger added.

One reader noted that not all parents are that accepting.

She said, “there needs to be a male counterpoint about #manningup. I’m so tired of hearing people tell my son what he can and cannot play with because it’s not boy enough. When he was two-years-old, he fell in love with a stick unicorn. It was a soft plush toy with a big honking sparkly horn. I bought it for him immediately. I remember him walking around with his prize possession and people stopping me to say that letting him play with ‘girlie toys’ will make him gay. First off, who the hell cares. Second, he was two. He had no clue of gender roles and what’s appropriate for a boy. He just liked what he liked. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a man tell my sensitive little guy to ‘man up’, as if having emotions is only a female thing.”

Kids are kids. Most like to try new things and don’t think along gender lines. We shouldn’t either. Instead of focusing on whether activities are for boys or girls, everyone should focus on promoting the activities that makes the child the happiest. Whether your daughter is a girl who likes racing or a boy who likes dress up, the most important thing a parent can do is support their child. If a child grows up in a loving home, where they know they will be accepted and loved no matter what, they will never be afraid to be themselves. Instead of ostracizing future generations, lets be accepting- this will lead to an overall happier world with better parent-child relationships. No matter what interests your child has-regardless of the gender connotation of those activities- you should be supportive.

Check out some of the awesome #likeaboy photos below:

All Photos Courtesy of Ilana Whiles

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Saudi Arabia Refuses To Allow Women To Enter The Asian Games

What century is it again? Saudi Arabia sparked international outrage this week after refusing to send any women to participate in the Asian Games. They are sending 199 men instead to participate in the multi-sport event, to be held in South Korea later this month. The Asian games are held every four years for athletes across Asia. This move has been described as “a backward step for women’s participation in sport”.

Saudi Arabia is the only country among the 45 competing nations at the Asian Games, which start in South Korea on Friday under the slogan “Diversity Shines Here”, to have selected an all-male team.

According to Mohammed al-Mishal, the secretary-general of Saudi Arabia’s Olympic Committee, no woman has yet “reached a level” for international competition.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) that organises the Asian Games, said there were no rules forcing countries to pick females but he was surprised Saudi Arabia had not chosen any after being widely applauded for including women at the last Olympics.

“Saudi Arabia broke through the ice when they participated at the London Olympics with a female,” he told Reuters in an exclusive interview.

“It showed they are ready, they are capable to have women participate.

“I don’t know why they are not participating here, maybe for technical reasons.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, condemned the decision, saying: “Refusing to send women to the Asian Games casts doubts on Saudi Arabia’s commitment to end discrimination and allow Saudi women to participate in future competitions.

“Women’s sports have a long way to go in Saudi Arabia. Now is the time for Saudi Arabia’s sports officials to lay down concrete plans for female sports in girls’ schools, women’s sports clubs, and competitive tournaments, both at home and abroad.”

A member of the Saudi Olympic committee said on September 4 that the kingdom plans to send women to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But Saudi officials should make clear what steps they are taking to ensure that women are included in other future competitions and are able to participate in sports generally.

enhanced-buzz-26624-1411134318-16Sarah Attar participated in the London 2012 Olympics
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Under international pressure, Saudi Arabia included two women in its team at the 2012 Olympics in London – Wujdan Shahrkhani in judo and Sarah Attar in track and field – although neither met qualifying standards. They participated under the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s “universality” clause, which allows athletes who do not meet qualifying standards to compete when their participation is deemed important “for reasons of equality.” The two women were still required to be accompanied by their male guardians and to wear appropriate clothing.

Al-Mishal’s statement to Reuters says that Saudi Arabia is preparing to send women to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 “on a good scale,” but that they are not yet ready to compete in Incheon. “Technically, we weren’t ready to introduce any ladies and the new president of our Olympic committee (Prince Abdullah bin Musaed bin Abdulaziz) rejected sending women to only participate – he wanted them to compete,” al-Mishal is quoted as saying.

Al-Mishal also said that the kingdom is focused on training women to compete in only four sports – equestrian, fencing, shooting, and archery – which he says are “accepted culturally and religiously in Saudi Arabia.”

“Limiting women’s participation to specific sports is yet another example of Saudi Arabia’s refusal to allow women to compete on an equal basis with men,” Whitson said. “Saudi Arabia should allow women to compete in sports across the board and offer them training equivalent to the training Saudi men receive.”

enhanced-30997-1411134416-20Female Athletes in Saudi Arabia
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Saudi authorities also began allowing licenses for private sports clubs for women in March 2013, and the first club opened in the Eastern Province city of Khobar in June 2013.

Human Rights Watch documented in its February 2012 report, “‘Steps of the Devil’: Denial of Women’s and Girls’ Rights to Sport in Saudi Arabia,” that Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that, as a matter of policy, still effectively bars girls from taking part in sport in government schools. There is no state sports infrastructure for women, with all designated buildings, sports clubs, courses, expert trainers, and referees restricted to men. Discrimination against girls and women in sports still takes place at multiple levels, including:

  • The continued lack of physical education for girls in state schools;
  • The lack of representation on national sports bodies, as well as the country’s Olympic Committee, which means there are no competitive sports events for Saudi women athletes in the country; and
  • The denial of government financial support for Saudi sportswomen in national, regional, or international competitions.

“Saudi Arabia needs to end its discrimination against women and ensure women’s right to participate in sport on an equal basis with men,” Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director, said.

Natural Beauty Includes Armpit Hair

Women are always held to unrealistic beauty standards. London-based photographer Ben Hopper, however, has taken a small step towards dealing with some of these problems by creating a simple and elegant photo series that turns our ideas of feminine body hair and beauty upside down.

For this photo series, which is fittingly called “Natural Beauty,” Hopper asked models and actresses to grow out their body hair and challenge the idea that hairy women are in any way unattractive or unhygienic.

As Hopper explains on his website, “Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement. Why is that? For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal. By creating a contrast between common ‘fashionable’ female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made.”

Before 1910, natural body hair was considered normal. But after the first shaving campaign, women were convinced that shaving their body was the way to go. Body hair is natural and normal men are always allowed to have hair, while women are considered “unfeminine” if they do not shave. The photos below prove that women can be feminine and have body hair. For many the photos with the natural body hair makes them uncomfortable but that is purely because they are not used to it. If women restrained from shaving everyday, then society be fine with it. Throughout history, many women have refrained from shaving to prove a point. During the hippie movement of the 1960’s and the feminist movement of the 1970’s, women refrained from shaving their armpits to protest the conventional beauty standards that society places on women. They used not shaving as an symbol of protesting the oppression and sexism that women have to deal with.

Check out the amazing pictures below:

natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-1 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-4 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-7 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-2 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-5 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-9 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-7-1 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-10 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-3 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-6 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-11All Photos Courtesy of Ben Hopper

Who Runs the World? Girls: Quoting Beyonce & Changing Stock Photos

untitledGetty Images recently released the “Lean In” collection, in partnership, which features more than 2,500 photos of female leadership in contemporary work and life. The aim of the collection is to change the way that women are portrayed in the media. All too often, women are portrayed as sexual objects in the media, regardless of profession or race. The picture below is just one example. If you search female construction worker, the results will be many variations of the picture below on the left, instead of the more realistic picture on the right. Getty and LeanIn are working to change that stereotype in the media, by presenting many variations of realistic pictures of women in different situations. Furthermore, in media situations, the only options may be pictures like the one on the left. By photographic and publishing women in a variety of positions, Getty is making it easy to find realistic images, so companies don’t have to use over-sexualized images.



Women Stock Images 1(2)Many photos are unnecessarily over-sexualized
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

“This is such a big passion project for all of us, and cheesy as it sounds, by showing people powerful images of women, we thought maybe we could actually change the world,” Pam Grossman, director of visual trends at Getty Images, told BuzzFeed.


The editors were especially attuned to a viewer’s perception of the women in the photos. “The most important thing for us is that you felt like the woman had agency, not like the image was happening to her, but she was the protagonist of her own story — they all should feel like the hero of their image,” Grossman said.

lean-in-collection-hed-2014The photos show that women can balance motherhood and a professional career
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

“We paid careful attention to make sure the images were diverse, not just in terms of race, but also in age, family situation, and career,” said Bennett. Notably, the collection also features men actively participating in what may be seen as nontraditional male roles.

enhanced-buzz-wide-4492-1392163401-7The images show women in roles that are often considered “manly”
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images 

“My hope is that internally our photographers will see these stories and it will inspire them to create even more [positive images of women],” she said.

The project is clearly achieving its goal. With more than 2,500 photos, that show a diverse group of women from all walks of life, the project is clearly working to produce images that will counter-balence the over sexualized images that often take precedence in the media. With projects like this, those over-sexualized images will become obsolete, and the realistic, diverse images (like the ones that Getty is providing) will become mainstream.

See more of the amazing images below:

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Women Should…

A series of ads, developed for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, expose the inequality and sexism that is still prevalent around the world. They Googled the words “women should” and let Google autocomplete the rest of the sentence. The results were shocking…everything from “women should stay at home” to “women should be slaves”. Based on searches dated 9 March, 2013 the ads expose negative sentiments ranging from stereotyping as well as outright denial of women’s rights.

“When we came across these searches, we were shocked by how negative they were and decided we had to do something with them,” says Christopher Hunt, Art Director of the creative team. The idea developed places the text of the Google searches over the mouths of women portraits, as if to silence their voices.

“The ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality. They are a wake up call, and we hope that the message will travel far,” adds Kareem Shuhaibar, copy writer.

The ads were created to inspire conversation about the topics of women’s rights and the discrimination that women still face across the globe. Though Google uses complex, automated algorithms generate search results, which can differ according to factors like region and time, it is still shocking that these results occurred. Hopefully the fact that “women should be slaves” was autocompleted doesn’t mean that “women should be slaves” is frequently googled. Either way, the ad’s draw attention to the fact that women across the world are still treated poorly. There is still widespread discrimination and sexism across the globe. These ads show the disturbing thoughts that some men across the world still have about women. By inspiring this conversation, the creators of the ads are hoping that they can inspire change, and a call for more emphasis on rights for women.

Check out the ad’s below:

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UN-Women-Ad-4_495x700 jpgAll Photos Courtesy of UN Women


Sexism & Alliteration: The Global Gender Gap

The new Global Gender Gap Report was released earlier this month, and as usual Nordic countries took the top spots. For the fifth year running, Iceland is rated as the country with the narrowest gender gap. This means women in Iceland have greater access to health and education, and are more politically and economically empowered than women in other countries. Finland, Norway, and Sweden are second, third, and fourth, respectively.

The U.S. is ranked 23rd. The U.S. is ranked lower than both Nicaragua (10) and Cuba (15).

Yemen was ranked last, at number 136, directly below Pakistan (135), Chad (134) and Syria (133).

The Global Gender Gap Index measures and ranks 136 countries on one important aspect of gender equality — the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economics and politics.

Politically, the Nordic states proved to be the best for women as many Nordic countries were also early starters in providing women with the right to vote (Sweden in 1919, Norway in 1913, Iceland and Denmark in 1915, Finland in 1906). In Denmark, Sweden and Norway, political parties introduced voluntary gender quotas in the 1970s, resulting in high numbers of female political representatives over the years. In Denmark, in fact, this quota has since been abandoned as no further stimulus is required. Today, Sweden has among the highest percentages of women in parliament in the world (44.7%) while the other Nordic countries are almost as successful.

Israel (53) continues to hold the top spot in the Middle East and North Africa region and gains three places relative to its rank in 2012. This is mainly due to improvement in the percentage of female parliamentarians.

The overall gender gap narrowed slightly across the globe in 2013, as 86 of 133 countries showed improvements.

The report states:

On average, in 2013, over 96% of the gap in health outcomes, 93% of the gap in educational attainment, 60% of the gap in economic participation and 21% of the gap in political empowerment has been closed. No country in the world has achieved gender equality. The four highest ranked countries— Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden—have closed between 81% and 87% of their gender gaps, while the lowest ranked country—Yemen—has closed a little over half of its gender gap.

No country in the world has achieved gender equality. Women received the right to vote almost 100 years ago in America, many anti-discimination laws have been put in place,, but we still have not managed to close the gender gap.

In 2013, there is still distinct inequality between the sexes.

That is unbelievable. And that needs to change.