From the Griffin’s Nest: On Halloween Sluts and Feminism

I think experiencing Halloween Samhain-style in Edinburgh this year moved me to write again to the Griffin, responding to an op-ed by an old friend, about what she felt was the the “slut” culture of Halloween, and how that (again, in her opinion) works against feminist progress.

I didn’t really need much of a spur, here – I’m consistently appalled when men and women, some waving the stolen banner of feminism, label a stubborn, creaky patriarchy as “progress,” or the status quo as “all we hoped for” or all that the movement can achieve.  And I’m even more incensed when I hear people complaining about “sluttiness” on Halloween.

Samhain – a torch-bearing procession through Old Town, Edinburgh, and an elaborate pageant outside the National Gallery – was a refreshing reminder that Halloween is really all about death, sex, and drunkenness.  Good ol’ paganism.

So, when so-called feminists, or anyone, really, criticize women who dress provocatively on 31 October, they’re either misunderstanding feminist aims or demanding that the world acknowledge their restrictive set of gendered expectations – but beyond that, they demonstrate their total ignorance of the holiday’s history.

Halloween in Edinburgh looked a bit like this. Oh, and there were plenty of women wearing nothing but tree bark and body paint.

I regret that I haven’t written much f late; I’ve been engaged in my course readings, and a (final, I hope) revision of my novel, R.S.V.P.  Expect more posts in the first week of December, though, because my backlog’s been building steadily: I’ll have reflections and pictures from Bonfire Night, Edinburgh Castle, the local folk music scene, and university life.  And, of course, there are a few adventures from the tail end of my stay in Germany that slipped through the cracks – most notably my sojourn in St. Annaberg, Poland, and a learning how to open a wine bottle against a tree by the Rhine in Köln, on the night before my flight to Edinburgh.

As the Scots say (for everything, always): Cheers.

In the meantime, enjoy this pictures from Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Day.  #Deathtotyrants

The view of Stockbridge, Leith, and the Firth of Forth from Calton Hill.

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