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.

Published by Aidan Ryan

I'm a writer, publisher, editor, and branding professional based in Buffalo, New York. I'm a founding partner and managing editor of Foundlings Press. I've written for the Buffalo News, Buffalo Spree, and other newspapers and magazines, including CNN and The Skinny in the UK, mostly about food, drink, travel, and strange people in strange places. I've also published fiction and poetry in journals like Slipstream and Traffic East, and interviews and essays in The White Review, Rain Taxi, and elsewhere.

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