31 October 2010

Tricks and Treats

Last year around this time, I noticed a costume emporium’s ad on a subway car. Among the outfits it showcased was one rather like this.

“A costume of Stephanie Brown as Robin?” I thought. “Now that’s progressive. As well as rather obscure.”

Was it, I thought, remaindered merchandise from a few years earlier, when Batman took on that young blonde character as his first female sidekick for a few months? Was it a sign of that character’s growing popularity and symbolic significance, which caused DC to bring Stephanie back from the dead and make her the latest Batgirl?

No, I realized after absorbing a little more knowledge of the modern American Halloween. It’s simply a “Sexy Robin Costume.” (There are at least two different styles.) It’s just one example of the trend of adult costumes mashing up iconic figures—many from children’s entertainment—with the professional style of a streetwalker.

Thus, we have the choice not only of Sexy Dorothy but also Sexy Scarecrow, Sexy Tin Man, and Sexy Wicked Witch of the West. Women can choose to dress as a Sexy Student at Gryffindor, Sexy Queen of Hearts, or Sexy Captain America.

There doesn’t seem to be any equivalent for men. HalloweenCostumes.org’s “Sexy” section contains only one male costume: a plaid kilt with copy that starts, “Everyone will be wondering what you have under this men’s Scottish costume!” But the main picture of that outfit is a model wearing pants, which sort of destroys the mystery. Apparently we’re fine with women dressing “Sexy” on Halloween, but American men wouldn’t be caught dead in such clothes.

(As I prepared this posting, I discovered that Comics Alliance has listed “The 18 Weirdest ‘Sexy’ Halloween Costumes Based on Comics,” including this Robin, and “The 13 Most Improbable ‘Sexy’ Comic Book Costumes,” not including any found in stores.)

No comments: