Abby, 9, dressed in her Halloween costume as Star Wars’ heroine Rey, faces off with her brother William, in his stormtrooper costume in Maplewood, New Jersey, U.S. October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Barbara Goldberg
October 26, 2017
By Barbara Goldberg
NEW YORK (Reuters) – This Halloween, expect to open the door to more pink pussyhats and fewer princesses.
Months after the historic women’s march on Washington and in the midst of the “#MeToo” sexual harassment outcry, Halloween 2017 is becoming yet another platform in the United States for women and girls to show strength.
This year’s most-searched Halloween costume is Wonder Woman, according to Google’s Frightgeist search tool.
Star Wars heroine Rey, the self-reliant young woman who shines as a survivor against all odds, is among the film series’ characters who rank in the top 10 children’s costumes for 2017, according to the National Retail Federation.
And, makers of homemade costumes this year are getting online tips for re-purposing pink “pussyhats.” They were worn by many of the hundreds of thousands of women who took part in marches in Washington and other U.S. cities on Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as president, to denounce his years-ago boast about grabbing women’s genitals.
“The year or more of sexual harassment scandals has shifted people’s thinking about what they want to become on Halloween,” said Barnard College Psychology Professor Tovah Klein.
“Costumes empower children – as in ‘I can be strong, I can be invincible, I can fight for justice.’ And right now, with Wonder Woman and other characters, girls are embracing this strong side,” Klein said.
Raising her light saber, 9-year-old Abby of Maplewood, New Jersey, demonstrated her warrior stance dressed as Rey, a steel-colored cloth crossed over her chest, with pants to match her tunic.
“I feel more brave when I’m Rey,” said Abby, a fourth-grader who has celebrated Halloweens past by dressing up as princesses.
“I like Rey more than princesses. She’s very tough. She’s fighting. She’s helping a lot of other people survive,” said Abby, whose parents asked that her last name be withheld for privacy.
More than 179 million people in the United States will celebrate Halloween 2017, spending a record high of $9.1 billion, with the largest outlay on costumes, the retail federation said.
To be sure, feminist-fueled Halloween costumes are nothing new. But this year, they carry a special resonance.
Trump’s brag about assaulting women, which he later called “locker room talk,” was made public when a 2005 video surfaced during his 2016 presidential campaign. A year later, sexual abuse allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sparked the “#MeToo” movement. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
“Strong feminist ideals, girl power, political movements” are pushing Wonder Woman to the 2017 top costume purchase for girls, said AnnaMarie McConnell, vice president of product and brand development at Ricky’s NYC, a beauty supply store that features Halloween costumes.In Sheridan, Wyoming, Jennie Way said her daughter Marley, 4, chose to dress up as Wonder Woman and daughter Vivian, 8, as Robin, a sidekick to Bat Girl, portrayed by their grandmother Deb Johnson.
“It’s about how we picture ourselves and how we picture other women,” said Way, 41, a married nursing student.
“If we see ourselves as strong, and if we see our mothers and our friends as strong enough to help us and to help carry us, then that makes the conversation move forward,” she said.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Additional reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Frances Kerry)
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