Feminist group in Calgary seeks to Take Back Halloween

A feminist theatre company in Calgary called Urban Curvz is fighting back against what they say is an increasingly sexualized holiday.

Event designed to provide an alternative to 'sexy Halloween'

A feminist theatre company in Calgary called Urban Curvz is fighting back against what they say is an increasingly sexualized holiday.

Pam Rocker, the organizer of Take Back Halloween, spoke on the Calgary Eyeopener about her inspiration for starting the event.

She says they are taking back the holiday from those who think a sexy leopard costume for a three-year-old, complete with fishnet stockings, is a good idea.

"When we saw that in a costume shop a couple of months ago, the artistic director of Urban Curvz and I thought, 'You know what, this is a problem for all ages,'" said Rocker. "And this is something that we want to take back by having something like a feminist costume contest where you actually have to be creative and think about things that don't gender stereotype and that maybe actually empower women."

Lots of sexy costumes for kids

There is no shortage of sexualized costumes for kids, says Rocker.

"There is also a 'mac pimp daddy' costume for eight-year-old boys, because it affects all genders. I also saw a sexy Bert and Ernie and a sexy pizza slice."

"We are not saying that if you want to be a sexy nurse that's bad, but we want to provide an alternative.- Take Back Halloween organizer Pam Rocker

Rocker says Halloween is an indicator of a larger movement of rewarding over-sexualized behaviour.

"The culture perpetuates this — you're rewarded if you're not smart, you're not a leader and if you're something to be objectified."

The goal is not to tell people how to dress but give people more choice. 

"We are not saying that if you want to be a sexy nurse that's bad, but we want to provide an alternative to something that isn't gender stereotyping," said Rocker.

What to expect

"Really the event is going tot be so much fun.... We'll have puppets, songs, stage fighting, imagining a future of feminist Disney princesses — so there is something for everybody. Awareness doesn't have to be a drag and that's really important to us, so we want it to be an exciting night for people."

There will also be a patriarchy haunted house that highlights some gender issues in a fun scary way.

"What's scarier than the gender gap, you know? I'm missing out on 26 cents an hour," said Rocker. 

"The politicians that maybe aren't the biggest fans of equality may jump out at you at any moment."

All people are welcome at the event but Rocker suggests kids should be at least 13 due to some mature content.

The event takes place on Halloween at Hillhurst United Church at 7:30 p.m. MT.


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