Dress Up Like a Feminist Icon for Halloween: From Beyoncé to Gloria Steinem to Emma Watson

Put together a badass costume with these easy tricks.
Publish date:
October 17, 2014

Ok, it's SERIOUSLY almost Halloween and I don't know what the hell I'm wearing. I love celebrating, but I usually procrastinate too long and end up doing something embarrassingly simple -- like the time I dressed up as a masquerade ball attendee. But this time around, I’m striving for something beyond a feathered mask and sparkly dress -- something bolder.

So if you haven't been working on your groundbreaking costume since March, consider making a statement by channeling a legendary feminist. Here we give you nine women worth emulating this Halloween. We obviously left a million options off the list, so give us more options in the comments.

P.S. This list is meant to highlight kick-ass women, not to suggest you appropriate another culture, so please be respectful when choosing a costume.

Amelia Earhart

Sport the look of the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928 with a replica of her signature leather jacket. It’s not cheap, but you’ll get so much use of this wardrobe staple. Ideas for accessories? An aviator hat, goggles and neckerchief.

Femen Protestor

This might be the easiest of all the costumes in our roundup, since to be a Femen protestor you don’t even need a shirt. After attacking Russian President Vladimir Putin topless at a fair trade event in Hanover, Germany last year, these fearless Ukrainian women have made a name for themselves. A floral crown and a black marker to write your beliefs on your chest and back will suffice. And if Femen’s politics are not up your alley, dressing up as a member of Pussy Riot (dress, balaclava) or ’70s feminist movement protestor (bellbottoms, big homemade sign) could do the trick!

Gloria Steinem

For better or worse, writer, lecturer, editor and feminist activist, Gloria Steinem became a poster girl for the feminist movement in the ’70s. She also founded Ms. magazine, published by the Feminist Majority Foundation, and most recently illustrated the widespread presence of domestic violence among high-profile NFL scandals. Channel Steinem’s swag with a pair of aviators and straight-down-the-middle hair part.

Frida Kahlo

Kahlo is credited as one of the most celebrated female artists in history. The trailblazing Mexican painter, who lived from 1907–1954, was best known for her self-portraits -- and her personal style. To achieve her look, stamp on a self-adhesive strip of synthetic hair, throw on a bright dress and secure part of a floral wreath to your hair.

Angela Davis

Since the 1960s, the American political activist, scholar, teacher and author Angela Davis has been a prominent counterculture activist. This look would be easiest for women with natural hair -- let your hair out and comb it into an Afro. Then slip on your favorite black leather jacket.

Emma Watson

All you really need to channel the 24-year-old Brit actress is a structured, belted white dress, similar to one she wore while delivering a speech at a recent United Nations meeting where she introduced the "HeForShe" campaign, A Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality. Then pull your hair back into ponytail and add a black clutch and pumps. Tres chic.


The pop star, mother-of-one who often sings about self-empowerment closed out this year’s VMAs with a huge “FEMINIST” sign in the background. Enough said. Even though we can’t all wake up flawless like Beyoncé, her look is attainable with a long, wavy, honey-colored wig, paired with a sparkly leotard and any one of your sky-high platforms. Bust out your arts and crafts skills and create a black poster board with the word FEMINIST in white as a prop.

Hillary Clinton

Just as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has finally settled into her own skin as a powerful political leader, her classic look, the pantsuit, has carved its place in feminist sartorial history. Sport a solid-colored suit with a blonde wig and set of pearls, and you’re good to go.

Rosie the Riveter

The iconic advertising figure known during WWII for her “We Can Do It” attitude encouraged women to work during the war effort. Get her look with a red polka-dot headband. Complete the costume with a chambray shirt rolled up at the sleeves. And then, of course, pose for Instagram’s sake.