I always loved Halloween as a child because it involved dressing up in costumes (the candy was secondary), but now, as an adult, I’m really starting to hate the holiday.
As a young adult, I became a little less enchanted with the holiday when I realized the vast differences in costumes available for women and men. It was a tradition for women to dress up in a slutty manner on Halloween, while men had more tasteful costumes in that area (tasteful as they were not considered slutty).
This year, however, my mind is on a different topic: witch trials. According to Carol F. Karlsen, as reported by Beth Daley of The Conversation, 78% of those accused of witchcraft in New England were women, and a vast majority of men who were accused were somehow connected to the accused women.
In the 17th and 18th centuries when the witch trials took place, women were expected to stay home and have babies (Daley, 2019). When women stepped out of their dictated role, they were targeted (Daley, 2019). This continues today, but not quite in the same fashion.
I turn 39 in just under a month. I’ve never been married, and I do not have children. At this point in my life, and living in the United States (which is ranked as the 51st country in gender equality, down two rankings from last year), I’m not sure I ever want either of those things. Any time I get into a casual conversation with a man, I get some variation of the following: What does your husband think about that? You really should have children; it will change your life. Your boyfriend allows you out alone after dark? Does your boyfriend allow you to hang out with other men?
The reactions have tamed down a bit since the witch trials were found to be unconstitutional, but our country’s attitudes about women hasn’t changed. It makes it hard to feel anything but contempt toward this country. I don’t feel welcome or that I’m allowed to be who I am, and Halloween is just another reminder of that.
Daley, B. (2019). Most witches are women, because witch hunts were all about persecuting the powerless. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/most-witches-are-women-because-witch-hunts-were-all-about-persecuting-the-powerless-125427