Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Feminist Halloween!

Halloween is upon us, which means an onslaught of slutty, racist costumes is also upon us.

Many blogs have devoted posts on how not to offend on Halloween, so I'm just going to support their message by saying: Please don't dress up in racist costumes! As a general rule of thumb, if you are dressing up as another race/ethnicity/culture - the costume is racist. If you are dressing up as another race/ethnicity/culture that has been marginalized, colonized, or mass murdered by anyone in the Western World - that costume is especially racist. That means, for example, that no one should be dressing up as a: Mexican, Asian, Black Person, Arab, any woman wearing any sort of Muslim head covering, Indian, or (a costume I find particularly offensive) Native American. That's right folks! If you are a white person living in the United States, it is not ok to dress up as a Native American Princess, Pocahontas, Native American chief, or warrior. Our ancestors and our government have historically - and are still currently - trying to eradicate their culture, so it is not a good idea to dress up in a form of their cultural dress as a form of cultural parody.

Ohio University's Students*Teaching*About*Racism*in Society group has organized a fantastic campaign with these posters:


I would also argue that dressing up as any sort of marginalized group is offensive; that means no dressing up as a welfare queen or "ghetto" African American. Poverty isn't funny. And it isn't a costume.

Now for an issue I find slightly more complicated - should we dress up as sluts on Halloween?

I admit I am guilty of this. My Halloween costumes have always been on the sluttier side - except for last year when I dressed up in my mom's old flight attendant uniform. If that costume is considered slutty, it isn't my fault, it is the airline industry of the '70s.

Mom's old uniform! An ode to powder blue and orange polyester.
Honestly, I think it is fine to dress up as someone or something slutty for Halloween - so long as you feel comfortable doing so. I don't however, appreciate the sexualization of every.single.damn.thing on Halloween. Brett and I recently went to a Halloween store to find some Halloween decorations, and I was disgusted by the overtly sexualized, frequently racist, and way too expensive Halloween costumes. I didn't see a single non-sexual costume for women.

I've never had a nurse dressed like this
Alice in Wonderland was a tramp