F**ked-up Halloween Costumes
Inappropriate “sexy”, culturally appropriated or socially insensitive costumes plague every Halloween. Whether it’s intentional or not it’s gross. Sometimes it really is an honest mistake that, unfortunately, is realized in hindsight. No matter the case, these costumes don’t just make the wearer look like a jackass, but they can really offend others. I’m not easily offended, but when I saw a “Drunk Mexican” costume at a Party City last year it was hard to contain my outrage.
This year’s scandalous costume is the “Sexy Handmaid.” The “Handmaid” refers to women enslaved as human breeding stock in the dystopian novel and TV series “A Handmaid’s Tale.” In this HULU Original females are raped and beaten regularly, so it goes without saying why sexualising this character is pretty messed up. Last year there was a debate around whether wearing a Moana costume as someone not of Polynesian descent would be offensive. In my opinion as long as it’s a specific character that isn’t generalizing a whole group it’s OK. For example, dressing up as the Disney character Pocahontas is appropriate. Dressing up as a generic native american or as costumes labeled “Indian,” is not.
Then there was Julianne Hough’s 2013 blackface incident. Don’t get me wrong there was nothing wrong with her dressing up as Crazy Eyes from Orange is the New Black. The hair and outfit would have sufficed. Painting her face to look like a black person without considering the historical context of blackface was her f**k-up. Don’t be like Julianne Hough!
“Blackface for Halloween? Don’t do it.” an article by Sade Carpenter in The Chicago Tribune says there are a lot of people who are oblivious to the history of blackface and others simply don’t care. Those who disregard blackface as being offensive, took to social media to plead their argument for it saying: “So what if some people think blackface is offensive! It was a Halloween costume and I find it hilarious ….” and “How will the overly sensitive portion of the black population make it through the day?”
No matter your opinion, these types of costumes are not harmless and they affect people’s self esteem and self worth. Please consider the following when picking your costume:
- Is this offensive to a specific group of people?
- Does it depict a stereotype?
- Does it depict sexual harassment or any type of harassment/abuse?
- Does it represent a horrible act in history? (Don’t dress up as Hitler or try and be creative and dress up as a Boston Marathon victim. Yes, both have been done and it was f**ked-up)
- Don’t ever do blackface!
- If you think you might be appropriating a culture the safest thing is to just not, or ask a large group of people attached to that culture before going through with it. When I say large I mean at least 100. Asking 1,000 is best as it is the minimum for a scientific survey. Again, it’s better to just not.
- Most importantly, use common sense!
Halloween is by far one of the most playful holidays. It sucks when it’s ruined by people who show up to a party dressed as Chris Brown and Rihanna-with-a-black-eye (yes, this too has been done) and inadvertently offend survivors of domestic violence and empower those who have committed domestic violence.
Halloween is about being fun-scary, not WTF-scary. There is an infinite number of appropriate costume ideas. Be a sexy maid or axe murderer all you want, just be sure to dress-up responsibly, but most of all have fun this Halloween!
Check out the links below to get a better understanding of costume “don’ts.”