Ben Pugh, the editor of uniformstories.com, has compiled a series of photographs from the internet depicting little girls, teen girls, and adult women in what he terms the “evolution of the uniform-related Halloween costume.”
Tagged as “Military Humor,” the subtitle of his article was “Age x Available Fabric + Boobs = I Love Halloween.” That was on the first day it appeared online on October 9, 2014. Since then, a revised version omitting the subtitle has appeared. But the photographs remain.
The use of images of children and women dressed in costumes as police, military, and emergency service personnel is troubling on a number of levels, especially since the adult women are scantily clad and photographed in sexually suggestive poses. The images exploit and objectify and send the message that women are not legitimate figures of authority but sexual objects.
Pugh’s article is evidence of the persistence of misogynistic attitudes toward women in law enforcement and the military, even decades after women’s rights in the workplace has been legislated. I’m not sure what link, if any, Pugh has to these occupations other than his purported interest in uniforms. But his montage is evidence that women working in these occupations experience sexual harassment and sexism on an ongoing basis, both inside and outside their place of employment.
Pugh’s disingenuous tribute to women in uniform does nothing to honour the brave and committed women who work to serve him, his community, and his country on a daily basis. His sexist portrayal is not humourous as he insists; instead it is demeaning and disrespectful to the women who go to work every day not knowing if it will be their last.
It is very likely that one day in the future Pugh will need assistance of some kind from an emergency services worker or a police officer. I sincerely hope it’s a woman in uniform who answers his call.