Modern Halloween is all about becoming a different character. It’s an opportunity to take a chance, to explore another reality, or to flout social convention. Since people began dressing in costume for Halloween, many have opted to examine – even if only for one night – the mysterious creature that is the opposite gender.
Yes, for many decades, men in particular have enjoyed actively transgressing expected gender roles on October 31st. They have relished putting on pantyhose, a dress, high heels, and a bra (often padded to depict an unusually ample bosom) as they strike out for the nearest Halloween party. It seems that the more amplified the man’s testosterone level, the more likely he will choose drag as a costume. For example, many of the football players at my high school went the drag route, often portraying not just women, but über-feminine cheerleaders.
Are these men frustrated by society’s rather narrow definition of what it means to be “masculine”? Are they interested in exploring their feminine sides? Are they conducting a social experiment to better understand how the other half lives? Are they mocking women with their display of larger-than-life features? Do these men simply enjoy manipulating their own faux body parts? Or maybe dressing in drag is just easy and economical since most males have mothers, aunts, sisters, or girlfriends from whom they can borrow rouge, mascara, and a plus-size cocktail dress?
Whatever the motivation, gender bending in honor of Halloween – no matter how homely the costumed character turns out to be – has been a tradition through the ages. Check out these fine specimens…
1935 – Image from Trevira
1946 – Image from aviatorr727
1956 – Image from elston
1969 – Image from kevynjacobs
1971 – Image from flashbacks.com
1974 – Image from High Steel Heels
1976 – Image from kevynjacobs
1978 – Image from Mr.Martee
1980 – Image from smays
1980 – Image from VTscapes
1981 – Image from Harold Gee