The spooky season is upon us and with it comes the good ol’ Halloween fancy dress parties! It isn’t a new thing to wear a controversial costume but this year I think there are costumes we need to stop wearing.
We all know them: the Mexican costume with a tequila shot belt and poncho, the sleek and sexy Geisha, the Native American armed with a crossbow and headdress… Costumes that rely solely on stereotypes that are usually historically incorrect to boot.
These costumes, whilst inaccurate, are also insensitive to the culture and people they caricature. Especially since historically, these cultures have been stripped away, persecuted and ridiculed – and still are today.
Dictators and Extremists
People attending fancy dress parties as Nazi officers or suicide bombers aren’t unheard of. Celebrities such as Paul Hollywood have even joined in! I struggle to understand how anyone could think that an ISIS member or SS officer costume would be a good idea yet people do buy them. And wear them. IN PUBLIC.
I don’t think I need to explain why these sort of costumes are a no go. But if you are still struggling to understand: I suggest going to your local book shop and picking up a book from the history section.
Now, I’m not talking about the pointed bra Madonna dress, or the Lady GaGa ‘Poker Face’ costume. I’m talking about the costumes that come after a big headline. News like the Dame Janet Smith Review (an inquiry into the sexual abuse committed by Jimmy Saville) inspired many to don familiar shell suits, a mesh vest and fat cigar to replicate Saville. It doesn’t stop at Saville either, other celebrities with a same track record become costumes but who is being mocked? Because from where I’m sitting, it looks like the victims are.
The issue with Caitlyn Jenner inspired costumes
Two terrible costumes that hit headlines involved the Kardashians/Jenners. When Caitlyn Jenner made her appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair, many hailed her for her courage. Others took it as an opportunity to poke fun, and thus a costume resembling Jenner’s Vanity Fair shoot was released… in the men’s section. Now I’d just like to say that as a feminist, I do not support Jenner’s political views and deafening silence when it comes to discussing the LGBTQ+ community.
HOWEVER, that is not an excuse to wear such an inappropriate costume. (Nor is it an excuse to ignore her preferred pronouns and deadname her!)
It is not the first time that a costume mocking transgender women has hit retailers. But this was the first time such costume was directed at a particular celebrity. Thankfully, the costume was widely condemned and has been pulled from shelves.
Jenner herself told Matt Lauer on the Today Show that the costume did not offend her. But whilst she may be in on the ‘joke’, the costume is still regarded as transphobic, and rightly so!
Kim Kardashian, Jenner’s ex-step-daughter, faced a similar mocking when her robbery ordeal hit the headlines in October 2016. Kim was victim to a serious and terrifying robbery during a visit in Paris.
It is reported that she was tied up and feared for her life during the attack. Kim has spoken since about how it has changed her view on life and social media.
After media backlash, this costume was also removed from the retailer’s website and an apology was issued for the offence caused.
The ‘Blade Gunner’
One costume that doesn’t seem to be going away soon is the Oscar Pistorius ‘Blade runner.’ The costume, seen below, features the South African’s Olympic suit emblazoned with “Blade Gunner” – referencing Pistorius’ shooting of his girlfriend of which he is currently serving a mere six-years jail time.
The costume is not only an insult to Reeva Steenkamp (his former girlfriend), but due to the depiction of Pistorius’ prosthetic legs, is also an insult to amputees and Paralympians alike.
In summary, choose your Halloween costume wisely and probably stay away from anything that is placed under the ‘bad taste’ or ‘controversial’ section.