Friday, 29 October 2010

Strippoween weekend is here again

Our friends over at What's the Idea raised the question, and as it's Friday and my brain is now on gentle cycle, I'm stealing developing the discussion. So yes, agreed: Halloween is irrelevant to us in the Caribbean. I hardly think that's even an argument. Is it harmless fun? Perhaps. Assuming we consider fostering meaningless, wholesale cultural appropriation "harmless". This isn't hip-hop music, whose origins we can trace back to our own, and which even in its current form we have adapted and given our own unique stamp. Or even Valentine's Day, which has its naysayers, fine, Hallmark holiday, blah blah, but surely a celebration of love and affection can never hurt, especially in a society where we are becoming less patient and more aggressive. (Yes, I'm looking at you, man in the obnoxious Transformer truck who honked at me for letting an old lady take her time to cross the street rather than deciding she had had enough time and running her over.) We're talking about a holiday that has little usefulness and even less imagination. And even were I given to letting the whole thing slide, it's the lack of imagination that really does me in.

If you want to tief the people dem holiday, fine. Go for it. But at least put some effort into it. How many sexy nurses and sexy police officers and sexy Big Birds does one need in a Halloween party? Can someone not wear a shell and some antennae and really high platforms and go as a giant African snail? Or a red plastic bag and go as...well...Red Plastic Bag? Can we not make the thing at least slightly culturally relevant? Or, if you must do sexy because you're going to the club and no one is going to want to slow grind on a mollusc, maybe a sexy school meals server? I once went to an Independence Day fancy dress party in a little, yellow, tank dress under wraparound banana leaves and everyone could tell I was a conkie. It isn't hard.

But we seem to have borrowed (well, not borrowed because we seem not to want to give it back, ever) not only the holiday itself, but the obsession with making everything about women's bodies on display, and any imagination costumes might show suffers as a result. Small clothes are great. I love them, as appropriate. But if you forego them on one occasion, you'll still be sexy tomorrow, and you'll still be sexy underneath your real costume. And we'll know it. We believe you. Your sexy is safe. If you are going to participate in this...'holiday'...unless you are actually going as a stripper, please feel free to make the whole exercise interesting and entertaining. Your butt cheeks will still be there to shine at a later date.


The photo above is meant to be a women's costume for Brian, the dog from Family Guy. Brian is, in fact, a dog, not a cocktail waitress with a picture of a dog on her dress. Notice what the men's version of the costume looks like - fancy that: a dog.

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