This week was referred to many as “Halloweek” or the Thursday, Friday and Saturday were called “Halloweekend” but the way people went about their costumes was “Halloweak” in my eyes.
Sure, I just totally wore out that wordplay in one sentence, but what I am trying to get too is the weak excuses for “clever” or “relevant costumes. The fact that there are people in this world that would dress up in a bloody Trayvon Martin Costume is absolutely disgusting to me. OH and we can’t forget about the loving mother who dressed her child as a Klansman. Yes, people like this do exist and think it is all in good natured fun and tradition to dress up in such ways.
Halloween tends to bring out the insensitivity in people that they disguise as humor. They joke saying things like, “Oh, it is just Halloween, it doesn’t mean anything.” Do you think it “doesn’t mean anything to the social group you are marginalizing? Many people fall culprit to cultural misappropriation when All Hallows Eve rolls around. Cultural misappropriation usually refers to people choosing parts of a culture, usually stereotypical and possibly falsified information, as the major representation and identity. Ladies love to do this with their Native American (or even better, “Indian,” for those that don’t understand geography and correct terms) costumes, complete with headdresses, skimpy beaded dresses, pigtail braids and war paint. Men are more lazy and will throw on a poncho, sombrero, fake mustache and hold maracas or a burrito. Ladies, it is okay to dress up as “Pocohantas” because that is a character that you are portraying, not just what you think a culture is. Would you get upset if someone of a different culture than you dressed up in something that they deemed as the “norm” for your culture? I am sure you would. So, don’t do it because cultures include real people NOT characters.
I mentioned “skimpy” as a descriptor for the Native American costume, which brings us to the crux of another major Halloween problem. Slut shaming and implied consent also plague this season just as much as Baby Ruth’s and Kit Kats. For teen girls and women, many of our pre-made costume options are limited to those that use the adjectives “sexy,” “slutty” or the tactful “sweetheart” and contain about the same amount of fabric as the comparable costume for an 8-year-old. But, lucky for us, we live in what is considered a free world where we have the freedom to choose how we want to express yourself. If you love wearing short skirts (I do!), then go ahead and do it on Halloween. If it is not your thing, wear a almost complete coverage Hulk costume (also something I have done). But, women that wear the former type of costume are in no way, shape, or form “asking for it.” That doesn’t mean that they will allow people to touch them, squeeze their asses, cat call them, or take advantage of them sexually. If that women wants to hook up with someone, she will because that is her choice. Her clothing is not consent. Her saying so is consent. This all sounds so simple but yet women are still victimized because of some cute, little costume that they were excited to wear.
I went as Miley Cyrus for Halloween (Thursday I wore the teddy bear unitard complete with little bun nubbins for the infamous VMAs Miley. Friday I wore a cropped tank top with white boy short underwear over pantyhose with a handmade wrecking ball for the equally infamous “Wrecking Ball” music video Miley), and when I told people that was who I was going to be the first think they would mention was something along the lines of how little clothing I would be wearing. “Oh, you are wearing that to be a slut.” Yes, my costumes did leave me wearing little clothing. Yes, Miley is notorious for her overtly sexual behaviors. No, neither of those are reasons why I chose the costume. I have been told that I looked like Miley multiple times when I was at the LouFest music festival by strangers because of my hair cut. So, I thought it would be fun to play off such a current cultural icon and embody her, especially her “fuck the system” spirit. Sure, I have had some issues with her use of back up dancers as more like cultural stereotype props, but in general she is raising some good issues about identity and roles to the public in a really interesting way. But, just because I am not wearing that much clothing doesn’t make me a slut. It makes me confident and comfortable and it makes me something that maybe I am not on a daily basis. And, that is what Halloween is all about.