Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Feminist Sheros: Take Back Halloween

A year ago, in the Halloween Costume Challenge, I explored how to be creative and have fun with costumes that don't sexualize children or rely on racist or sexist stereotypes.

Today I attended a work event where we were encouraged to dress as our favourite Shero.  Costumes depicted a wide range of women who have gone before and led the way in sport, literature, medicine, science fiction, and music just to name a few.

My photography skills are limited and I only had a phone camera...  but this was such a perfect opportunity to capture a whole bunch of creative and empowering ideas for future halloween costumes. Please ignore the fuzzy photos and bad lighting and instead appreciate the evidence that it doesn't have to be a challenge to costume ourselves and our children as heros, sheros, role models and other powerful figures from history.

And just to keep this page smart as well as fun...  I've included links for more information on each of these Shero's, as needed!  

[Note... it turns out that the layout of all these photos & words isn't working well in mobile format so I hope you are reading it on a computer.]

Huge thanks to my colleagues who let me share their pictures here!!  

Starting with today's prize winner for best costume...   Clara Hughes

She is a six-time Olympian medalist, Officer of the Order of Canada and Member of the Order of Manitoba. As a spokesperson for mental health initiatives she has used her voice to reduce stigma and create positive social change.

 Two interpretations of  Rock 'n Roll icon 
Joan Jett; performing since the '70's she helped paved the way for women in rock music.

The most historical female of them all... 
Mother Nature

Annie Oakley (1860-1962), known for as a famous sharpshooter and performer in the Buffalo Wild West Show; She was also known for her philanthropy in the support of women's rights. 

This Shero doesn't need an explanation if you have daughters or were a child yourself sometime in the past 20 years!   Of course she is the beloved Paper Bag Princess from the story book by Robert Munsch. 

 Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) was first arrested for providing contraception to women in 1917 and arrested multiple times for speaking her mind.  She founded the organization that became Planned Parenthood.


 Tavi Gevinson is the 17 year old American writer who founded Rookie Magazine featuring topics that range from pop culture and fashion to social issues and feminism.  Unlike a few of our more historic Sheros, you can follow Tavi on Twitter

Velma Dinkley,  was the adorable brainiac part of the gang in the animated series Scooby Doo!

The iconic image of Rosie the Riveter shouldn't need an explanation, but there is a pretty fabulous collection of artifacts, stories and photos here of American women who served at the home front during the second world war.

Kathrine Switzer first ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 - five years before women were legally allowed to enter the race.  She tells her story here. 

Katherine was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2011 for creating a social revolution by empowering women around the world through running.

Fans of Battlestar Galactica won't need an introduction to Kara Thrace aka "Starbuck" one of television's most complex action (s)heros!
Perhaps she is a lesser known Shero to some... but here the management team pays tribute to our Executive Director, Joan Dawkins.  Well done team! 

Channelling Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this colleague arrived as her own Shero:  
Sharon the Patriarchy Slayer! 

Beloved Canadian author and feminist (and some hope... future Mayor of Toronto?)  Margaret Atwood

You can follow her on Twitter too! 

One ambitious colleague dressed to capture an entire genre... here she embodies Film Noir

I confess I couldn't find the Shero in the genre itself (femme fatale perhaps?) but I believe this costume was just an excuse to wear that stole and fabulous hat - and that is good enough for me! 

In case you aren't up on international punk rock protest groups, Pussy Riot is a  feminist Russian, guerrilla performance group. Two of it's members are currently in prison in Russia as a result of peaceful protests. Super fun costume but also a really serious issue! Please check out the link to learn more about these women and the organizations that are supporting their efforts to be released from jail:   Help Free Pussy Riot

And finally, the last Shero of the day... Athena, a goddess from Greek mythology. 

Athena is the Goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, math, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts and skill. 

That pretty much sums up all the awesomeness of the women I spent my day with, numbering far more than those featured here. 

Have a safe, creative, empowered Halloween everyone!!    

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