I grew a beard this weekend.

Yep. It’s my usual anti-establishment style. I’m so sick of the sexifying ofwomen’s costumes that this year I decided to dress up as a man.

It was a statement, and it was simple. A tie, some spirit gum, a bit ofblood spatter and voila! I was transformed into my personal pop-culturehero, Shaun. Shaun of the Dead.

And my beautiful nine-year old boy, Mr. P, was my Zombie.

We set out with pillowcases along the sidestreets of Roncesvalles, where theChinook-like temperatures had people hanging out on their front porches,laughing and cranking ‘Thriller’ from dollar store ghetto blasters.

The scene?

Me, aka Shaun, trying valiantly to grab some great low-light pictures. Mr.P, aka Zombie, running madly from house to house.

Line of the night?

Parker: “Mom, that lady was speaking a different language.”
Me: “That’s OK honey, I think ‘Trick or Treat’ and ‘Thank You’ areuniversal.”

Watching proud parents parade their babies, and doing a little reminiscingof my own about years past pushed me to ponder, When does the switch get thrown for little girls? When does it becometime to put away the demure Dora the Explorer and instead opt for the overtOfficer Pat U Down?

The easy answer to this is, of course, that society in general is makingchildren grow up more quickly, and that from age eight onward young girls arededucing that real strength = sex. Use it or lose it and pull out thoseminiskirts now girls, better get on that train early. Cause gawd knows thatonce you hit 40, the free rides are over.

My take? The push to make pre-pubescent girls more provocative, and thesexifying of women’s Halloween getups in general is the result of one thing.

Women have no unsexy pop culture icons to emulate. Because to be a popculture icon, first you have to be popular. And to be popular as a woman -you have to be sexually provocative.

Take my personal favourite female pop culture icon of late – Angelina Jolieas Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. She’s smart, she’s strong – and she’s asuperhero. But sadly, if I want to dress up as THAT for Halloween I need toinvest in a DD bra and a case of toilet paper. Cause we all know that LaraCroft can be as spectacular as she wants – but folks, she ain’t nothin’without her humongous breasts. Tomb Raider costume less the bazoongas = EpicFail.

To contrast? Some of the most popular men’s getups.

Loose green T-shirt and some baggy brown pants? You’re Shaggy! Shiny silverattire and an axe? You’re the Tinman! Ridiculous yellow jumpsuit withmatching ridiculous yellow hat? You’re the Man in the Yellow Hat fromCurious George!

Indeed, superhero spandex and a speedo is about as sexy as it gets for theaverage heterosexual man. And unless you’re six foot somethin’ and spendfive days out of seven at the gym – there’s not gonna be much that’s sexyabout that.

Walking amongst the revellers on Church Street, my beard gave me a strangesense of empowerment AND peace. Looking around at all the Vixen Vikings andNaughty Nurses – uncomfortable to be sure in their bustiers and sky highheels – my Vans and button up white shirt was a small statement ofnon-conformity.

So my final thought? Fight the power. Next year, resist the urge to buy thatHalloween costume that’s just a might too tight – and dress up instead, asyour favourite man.

You’ll be doing young girls everywhere a favour.

And as for me? I’m saving my super sexy attire for where it belongs – thebedroom. People might just have to stop and wonder, what’s beneath thesurface of that a-sexual Shaun?

And isn’t that the true definition of sexy?

Roz Allen

Roz Allen is a Toronto-based freelance troublemaker. Find her online at www.therozblog.com.