Halloween can be tricky business if you're a feminist. Whether it's the "sexy Native American" or the "sultry geisha," there's just no shortage of offensive combinations to choose from in your Halloween shop. As Mic's Derrick Clifton noted recently: "Halloween should be a fun evening for everyone, but first we need to do a better job at creating a culture in which cultural appropriation, sexism and racial stereotypes are no longer considered amusing or clever."
And don't get us started on the men's costumes, many of which appear to have been thought up by a drunken sophomore in college. (Pro tip: It will never be OK to dress up as an abusive Ray Rice for Halloween.)
Assuming you do, finally, find a satisfactory costume, it's become almost impossible to find a non-sexualized version of it. It's not that women shouldn't have the right to wear something revealing, but it would be nice to have a choice in the matter.
So what does one do when faced with so much Halloween-related exasperations? Give up entirely on the holiday, stay home, inhale a bag of bite-sized Snickers and listen to the "rainy day break-up" Songza playlist? Nope. Create your own. Don't worry if you're feeling uninspired. Here are a few of our favorites, just to get your creative juices flowing:
The "Hobby Lobby"
Five conservative men took it upon themselves this summer to restrict access to birth control for millions of employed women across this great nation, giving more power to bosses who refuse to cover contraception on "religious grounds." In a 5-4 ruling — in which zero of the justices who voted in favor of this decision will ever have an unplanned pregnancy — the Supreme Court single-handedly decided that corporations can have a religious conscious. In the noble words of Mitt Romney, corporations are people!
So this year, don't worry if your costume budget has been slashed due to those pesky birth control costs: Just put on regular clothes and go as a corporation. When people ask you who you are, you can say: "I'm Hobby Lobby, and thanks to the Supreme Court, I'm a person, too."
The "Notorious RBG"
Speaking of Hobby Lobby, there are not nearly enough words to describe the ways Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg energized the feminist movement this year. When she wasn't writing scathing dissents for Texas's strict voting laws or for the Hobby Lobby case, she gave heartfelt advice to young feminists.
At the young, young age of 81, she still works out like a "Canadian Air Force pilot." She also hates mansplaining just as much as you and views her nickname, the "Notorious RBG," as a compliment. In fact, she loves it so much that she owns a few of those T-shirts, too.
The "Slutty Vagina"
Although Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a "slut" for demanding access to birth control more than three years ago, the Hobby Lobby ruling proved that as a nation, we still can't get over the fact that women have sex. So this year, let it all hang out. Screw the sexy nurse costume, let's just call a spade a spade and dress up as good old slutty vaginas, a la the Daily Show's Kristen Schaal circa 2013.
The "Mo'ne Davis"
Being on the cover of Sports Illustrated is hard if you're girl — and a 13-year-old girl at that — but Mo'ne Davis managed to break through that barrier in more ways than one. Not that anyone should have been surprised, the South Philadelphia native, who plays for the Taney Dragons, was also the first Little Leaguer, and youngest person ever, to ever grace the cover of the magazine.
Davis definitely brings new meaning to that long-derogatory stereotype, "throwing like a girl."
The "Woman Who Has It All"
The only word sequence we hate more than, "We're out of guacamole," is "Can women really have it all?" Most recently popularized by Anne-Marie Slaughter in her Atlantic piece "Why Women Still Can't Have it All," the term has been used to perpetuate the myth that women will always be forced to choose between their career and family and can't possibly attend to both. I personally prefer its meaning in Liz Lemon's world, where "having it all" means getting her sandwich and her man.
Whether "having it all" means not having to choose between a cupcake or a cookie — why choose when you can have both? — or not having to choose between having a child and getting that well-deserved promotion, you can taylor this costume to represent whatever the term means to you. Which, after all, is the whole point, isn't it?
The "Olivia Pope"
Speaking of having it all, let's turn our attention to Ms. Olivia Pope.
Fierce, brilliant, stunning and flawless, is there anything this fictional fixer can't do? The answer is no. With a glass of red and the president of the United States in the palm of her hand, the sky is quite literally the limit. Although Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes has called Pope an "anti-hero," she's still something of a role model to the many women who idolize her empowering self-confidence. Feel free to use the phrase "It's handled" as much as you want while in this get-up: Whether it's refilling the chip bowl or answering the door at your Halloween party, you've got this.
The "Beyonce Voter"
After Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters used the patronizing term "Beyoncé voters" this year to describe single women who "depend on government because they're not depending on their husbands," the Internet took sexist lemons and turned them into feminist lemonade in a pretty amazing way. The term was impeccably reclaimed by the Tumblr Beyoncé Voters, which superimposed empowering Beyoncé quotes on the pictures of female leaders like Janet Yellen, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.
Wear this costume with pride as we approach this year's midterm elections, and remember the vitally important role female voters can play at the ballot box.
The "Cover Girl of the Year"
If you want to go as one of the most beautiful people of 2014 — inside and out — why not go as the stunning Laverne Cox as her stunningTIME Magazine cover. After she was left out of TIME's 100 list, Cox was given her own cover by the magazine with the headline "The Transgender Tipping Point," a nod to Cox's own work as an advocate as well as the growing transgender movement across the country.
Whether she's lighting up the television screen or inspiring LGBT youth across the country, this unstoppable trailblazer embodies was a real cover girl should look like.
The "President Hillary Clinton"
This year, swap your standard Clinton colorful pantsuit outfit for the much more exciting — not to mention aspirational — "President Hillary Clinton" costume.
The former first lady-turned-senator-turned-secretary of state hasn't been lazy in the years since her husband inhabited the Oval Office. At this point, it's clear she has the best chance yet of becoming our first female president. Her approval ratings have been some of the highest ever recorded in the Democratic Party's history despite the fact that she has also had to weather an exhausting array of sexist, and now ageist, critiques all while maintaining an impressively down-to-earth sense of humor.
The cigar may be optional,but the badass attitude most certainly isn't.
All images: Mady G for Mic