… for office Christmas parties.
As opposed to the boring lunches a few of my friends have mentioned their workplaces hold, my employer happens to go all out on the Christmas party front.
Last year’s theme was horror (odd for that time of the year, I know), and I came up with a Bride of Chucky costume, complete with doll. However, I was struck down with the flu a few days beforehand and was unable to attend. The fact they had a dance instructor teaching partygoers “Thriller” just added insult to injury.
This year, however, the theme is pirates.
As a member of the planning committee, I fought tirelessly (and by I, I mean my friend Laura, as I was in the midst of a wisdom-tooth haze when the theme was being chosen) to push through our original idea of cartoons, and failing that, 1920s/’30s swing.
Unfortunately, misogyny won out, and a pirate theme it was.
Talk about unoriginality, though. There are about three options of pirates in popular culture to use as a reference point: Pirates of the Caribbean (how many Jack Sparrow-wannabe’s but could-never-be’s will there be walking around?), Pirates of Penzance, and Peter Pan. If someone were to really think outside the box, they could get a party of five (pardon the pun) or six together and go as The Wiggles and Dorothy the Dinosaur, with Captain Feathersword as the MVP of the group.
Notice that these three ensembles have very limited roles for women. And as a workplace that employs just as many women as men, pirates is very limiting to the fairer sex.
Serendipitously, I happened to happen upon a three-year-old post by Rachel Hills discussing exactly this.
“‘I didn’t realise the boys were meant to come as pirates and the girls were meant to come as skanks,’” Hills’ friend laments at a pirate-themed party.
My point exactly; pirates is all well and good for men who are young-at-heart, and men who perhaps want to get their gear off and go shirtless, and men in general, but women are faced with exactly two options: slutty pirate or slutty wench.
Now I’ve got some co-workers who are happy to go as more masculine pirates. (One friend, Lana, sent me a picture the other day of her costume, and you can hardly tell it’s her and she looks great.) I haven’t come across many friends who are going as wenches, which may be a testament to my own views (and thus the changing views of society?) on the topic, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of buxom babes letting the stress of the year off their chests. In what was a poignant throwback-forward, perhaps, from my friend and former co-worker Tess, she came dressed as a pirate for my Halloween-themed birthday party this year, and managed to retain her dignity.
Sure, wenches are traditionally slutty by name and by nature, as noted in the comments of Hills’ abovementioned article, but that’s not the problem I have with them.
I’m the first to put my hand up (whilst simultaneously holding my skirt down) to embrace my inner sartorial slut when it comes to hitting the town (Hello?! Have you seen my Halloween costume?), and while I will not be attending my Christmas party as a wench, there will still be a hefty dose of slut in my outfit (pictures to come next week).
The problem I have with the limiting theme is that there is no room for originality or diversity, particularly for the female members of the payroll. It’s one slut fits all.