On Halloween 2018, the costumes of Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un, Game of Thrones and Wonder Woman, shadowed others, while this year, according to Google Trends, the costumes that top the list are: ‘The Purge’, ‘Vis a Vis’ and ‘Mary Poppins’.
The choice of costumes is usually very influenced by popular culture and fashions of every moment. The premieres, the new seasons of the most popular series, controversial politicians or new celebrities are thrown into stardom, often become the inspiration for the costumes of each year’s parties.
Why do we like to dress up?
Occasionally, holidays interrupt the established flow of everyday life and become the perfect occasion to be spontaneous and have a good time.
“Dressing up is a way of disinhibiting routine and releasing tensions,” explains Héctor Galván. Therefore, for most people, it is a pleasant experience.
Then we like to dress up or not depends on the symbiosis of two factors: cultural values and learned behaviors.
When we dress up “we establish an unreality game framework that is allowed and where, in addition, we can carry out a series of behaviors without any limit or penalty,” explains David Pulido, a psychologist who works at the Álava Psychology Center Reyes and at the Therapeutic Institute of Madrid.
Normally, when we dress up, we do it in a context (a costume party, a birthday, etc.) so that our outfit and our uninhibited behavior manage to escape the tyranny of the judging finger. We are playing and the rest follows the game.
But not everyone likes to play. “Rejection of costumes is a learned behavior. It has to do with our previous experiences and the time of the environment, ”says this expert.
Dress up: can it become an insane decision?
“Disguising, disinhibiting and disconnecting from reality is always good,” says Pulido.
However, when someone who is not part of a group or a cultural context feels the need to dress up very often and compulsively, it is a warning sign. “Dressing up is very healthy, but depending on something external like a costume to behave naturally, it is not,” warns Polished.
Along the same lines, Héctor Galván reaffirms the benefits of dressing up but also recognizes that if we cross a certain limit it could become something harmful to our health.
“The problem arises when the character or fantasy is moved day by day, pretending to be someone who is not, endangering the authenticity and essence of the person,” adds Galván.
Our personality: a ‘remove and put’ mask
It does not have to be Carnival for us to wear the mask, we already do it every day: at work, with our friends, with our family. Our everyday mask is an invisible disguise that allows us to play a role in developing in the social world.
“When we get rid of that mask imposed (or self-imposed) by social mandates, we free ourselves from self-censorship,” says Héctor Galván, also the clinical director of the Madrid Institute of Psychology.
The words ‘person’ and ‘personality’ come from the Greek term ‘prósopon’ which means ‘theatrical mask’.
“The idea of perceiving personality as masks that one puts on is deeply interesting,” says David Pulido: “I think that current psychology has to go beyond what they call ‘personality psychology’ … the human being is much more complex and less classifiable than we think. ”
Release of repressed behaviors
The costumes are, for the most part, replicas of the stereotypes and gender roles established: hypersexualized costumes for women and segmentation in the professions, making it difficult to find the costume of the nurse boy or the pilot girl, for example.
However, in Carnivals, is very common to witness the breakage of these stereotypes and see people dressed as the opposite sex, usually men dressed as women. Why does this happen?
“The costumes help us to reproduce those behaviors that we feel like and that are normally punished,” explains Pulido, “socially, it is punished that a woman has a strong attitude and that a man has a softer behavior. ‘
However, the answer could be much simpler. “Dressing up as a woman is a fun option. It is a simple costume to do that allows you to hesitate, seduce, put humor and make bodily expressions that we would not otherwise do, ”says Galván.
Costumes, sexuality, and introspection
Understanding the disguise as a form of expression and release of repressed behaviors, could the costumes serve to explore our own sexuality?
From his position as a sexologist, Héctor Galván’s answer is affirmative. In fact, he explains that using costumes in sexual life can be a very useful tool for:
break the monotony
unleash our sexual fantasies
generate more trust, complicity, and intimacy in the couple
Put aside shame, modesty, and fear
“Dressing up has great benefits, not only for our emotional well-being, because we release edges of our personality that otherwise remain repressed, but also in the field of sexuality because it helps us to know ourselves more during the process,” he concludes. the expert.