The value of a woman has nothing to do with how much skin she does or does not show on Halloween, or how she does or does not explicitly express her sexuality. In case you're still confused, allow four young women to break it down for you.
During round four of the Brave New Voices Grand Slam Finals 2013 held in Chicago over the summer, four teenage members of DC Youth Slam -- Hannah Halpern, Amina Iro, Reina Privado and Asha Gardner -- performed a powerful poem that eloquently captures the mixed messages young women receive -- especially around Halloween.
This line perfectly sums up their message: "But no matter what garments we wrap ourselves in, a woman's status as trick, treat or geek is not up for discussion. A woman dressing, acting or being should be her choice."
Halpern told The Huffington Post that they were inspired to write the poem after thinking about the extreme ways in which women are often portrayed in pop culture -- as the "damsel in distress" or as an (often hypersexualized) "evil" crazy woman:
We decided to write a poem changing the way we see monsters; [to show that] women can be fierce, hot-tempered, or what have you. We connected this to Halloween and how as girls grow older, they are convinced that their costumes must get skimpier and show more skin to be sexy. After brainstorming, we realized that our key point was women should wear what they want. Slut-shaming is not the answer, nor is peer pressuring women and girls to wear sexier outfits if they don't want to.
These four young women are -- as they say -- "motherf**king monsters." And we love it.