Halloween 'fail': Professors mock 'sexy Ph.D.' costume on Amazon

Women's Phd Darling Sexy Costume

Looking for a Ph.D. in awful Halloween costumes? Well, you might want to head to Amazon, where this fine ensemble was spotted earlier this week. 


Like the infamous "Bic for Her" pen, the "Delicious Women's Phd Darling Sexy Costume" soon became a magnet for snarky comments and ironic reviews. 

"As a lady Ph.D. student, let me say how much of a relief it is to see them accurately describe what we wear every day," commented ajohns1290

"I am almost ready to defend the dissertation it has taken me so many years to prepare for," wrote another user. "I would love to have a sexy robe to wear for my graduation, but my school colors are maroon and gold. Why is this only available in blue?"

This "sexy graduation gown" comes with a gold sash and a hat, as well as a diploma, most likely in "terrible costume design." By now, it's not a surprise when a company like China-based Delicious (which sells the costume for $50) seemingly pulls an occupation out of a hat and places "sexy" in front of it. But the idea of a sexy Ph.D. really struck a nerve with women who earned advanced degrees.

Dr. Heidi Czerwiec, an associate professor of English at the University of North Dakota, told TODAY she and other commenters were trying to "counter absurdity with absurdity."

Sure, everyone had a good laugh at the costume, but it underscores a serious problem in academia today. 

"What's not funny is that even within the university, women are still judged by their appearance," she said. "Student evaluations of female instructors, which can affect retention or promotion, often tie their opinions of a woman to her appearance."

Czerwiec pointed to the "chili pepper" attractiveness ratings on RateMyProfessors.com, which boasts over 14 million reviews. 

"Costumes like these don't help," she said.

Amazon users also had a good time picking apart the "Women's Phd Darling Sexy Costume" for accuracy. 

"It would be a lot better with ramen noodles and red wine stains on it, because that is what really would happen," Nancy Van Leuven, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, told TODAY.

Between bouts of laughter, she explained that Ph.D. students don't wear square mortarboards while receiving their degrees, but don caps instead. The fact that this fine garment (96 percent polyester) must be hand-washed also sparked a chuckle. 

"Can you tell this stuff cracks me up and horrifies at the same time?" she said. 

Keith Wagstaff writes about technology for NBC News. He previously covered technology for TIME's Techland and wrote about politics as a staff writer at TheWeek.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kwagstaff and reach him by email at: Keith.Wagstaff@nbcuni.com