Last Thursday, the 28th, I attended a student only discussion of the topic “What is Your Costume Screaming?” In the basement of Knott Hall a group of around 25 students or so gathered to discuss, or perhaps just even listen in on a conversation about, the topic. Right off that bat with the only student setting I could tell that the conversation was going to get very intimate, and with no boundaries that it did.
Right away one of the leaders of the discussion started off by saying a few words. She asked a few things of everyone when discussing, mainly that people’s opinions were going to differ and even though we might not agree we should still respect everyone’s opinions. She also asked us in order to not alienate anyone from the conversation that we not use the words slut, hoe, whore, manwhore, etc. when describing someone’s costume. She asked us instead to use words that would describe what made the costume slutty for example.
Going into this event I really only had one idea of what they possibly were going to discuss, that being that on Halloween girls have the tendency to dress really slutty. I had the mean girls quote on my mind that “In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” Although right away all that I myself could possibly have to say was thrown out the door since there were certain words I couldn’t use. Soon enough though I would find out that there was way more to discuss that I hadn’t even thought of.
Before the discussion began they played a youtube video about Halloween costumes. The first thing in there was a little bit on how girls costumes tend to be risqué, even including the mean girls clip that I had been thinking of. Then the video moved on to how some costumes can be really offensive. I hadn’t even thought of this as a possibility. They showed a clip of a newscaster talking about how this one white girl dressed up as her favorite rapper and in doing so painted her skin black/dark brown. The newscaster, as well as lot of the people in the room, found this very offensive. Their offense confused me a little seeing as people all the time dress up as Mexicans or Indians for Halloween, yet when someone dresses up as an African or African American people get offended.
Naturally as the discussion moved on it drifted away from the actual Halloween costume discussion to things such as sex, bars, buying people drinks, etc. There were a couple of points people made that really stood out to me. I remember this one girl saying that in general as a girl she felt like when girls where skimpy clothing it is saying to everyone else that they want to put out. In rebuttal to this a guy said that as a guy this is not what guys are thinking at all. Rather, instead of seeing a girl and thinking “Oh she is wearing that because she wants to put out” a guy will think “Oh that girl is really attractive and I want to try and get with her.”
Overall the whole discussion really got me thinking on different perspectives/opinions/views. A lot of what we read lately has had things in them which can be viewed with different interpretations. Two things in particular were the poem My Papa’s Waltz by Peter Meinke and Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemmingway. As we discussed in class in the poem there are two different views that can be taken about what the poem is about. That being that the boy’s father is abusing him, or that they are just having fun and the father is a bit of a sloppy drunk. Also in the short story in the end there are certainly two different views that can be taken of what happened, whether or not Mrs. Macomber killed her husband on purpose or by accident.
Overall thought of different perspectives really got me thinking. A lot of things in general can be viewed with different perspectives and people are certainly going to have views that differ from yours. Also not all the time is their going to be one specific “right” view. That being said, just as the discussion leader stated at the event, we really need to respect one another’s views.