One of the best things about Halloween is that you get to dress up in something you would never normally wear and be someone totally different for a few hours. Halloween costumes are creative and interesting, and they’re so much fun to put together. But you know what isn’t fun? Dealing with the Halloween costumes that are based on unfair and, frankly, gross stereotypes. Every year, there are people dressed in offensive AF costumes, and that needs to stop. Yes, Halloween should be fun and not taken too seriously, but basic human compassion and sensitivity should be the default everyone operates from. Unfortunately, it isn’t. People dress in offensive costumes, then make up every excuse they can think of to justify their garbage behavior.
We all make mistakes – personally, I wore sugar skull makeup before I knew better. But let’s become more aware, move past those mistakes, learn from our past behavior, and do better. The real issue is when you know you’re being offensive and awful, but still do it anyway, but still – your costume can be offensive without you knowing it. I don’t pretend to be the peak example of PC-woke-ness – you can go ahead and call me a no-fun too-serious example of everything that’s wrong with this country – but Halloween sometimes seems to be the season for everyone to showcase their lack of empathy and understanding. These are 11 signs your Halloween costume is probably offensive af, and if you don’t know, now you know.
You're 'Borrowing' Something From Someone Else's CultureCulture sharing is different than cultural appropriation. Even if you bought a kimono on your vacation to Japan, you should have enough good sense to know that dressing up as a geisha for Halloween is offensive af. Cultures are not costumes. Cultures are real experiences, specific traditions, and occasionally costumes and makeup that belong to one group of people. You should never dress as an entire culture, like a Japanese person, or a Mexican man. This goes double if you're dressing up as another culture while also dressing up as an offensive stereotype from within that culture. Geishas, terrorists, straight up Chinese food take out containers (I've seen it happen), and the like are all out of bounds when it comes to Halloween. Just don't. Source: Target
You're Body ShamingSkinny people wearing fat suits is not funny. Skeleton costumes that are actually named "Anna Rexia" are not hilarious. Body shaming can exist in Halloween costumes. Costumes making fun of different body types or full on promoting eating disorders (looking at you, Anna Rexia costume) are totally offensive and should never be considered when picking out a Halloween costume.Source: PartyBell
You Had To Check With Multiple People That It Wasn't OffensiveYou all get bonus offensive points if you only ask people within your same race, gender, age, and ability if something is or isn't offensive. By all means, stay inside your own bubble and phrase it as "we don't know any g*psies, right?" To be clear, g*psy is an ethnic slur used against the Romani people. So, dressing up as the Esmerelda-ified version of one is totally cute, right, since we've all co-opted this term and basically used it to mean "bohemian" yeah? You aren't going to get a real, actual answer by staying within your own circle of privilege. If your costume is sounding off an internal alarm that you should maybe double check that your costume isn't offensive, it's probably offensive. If it's giving you any sort of pause or queasy feeling, just back away, especially if you feel the need to pitch your costume idea to multiple people. Source: Target
You're Dressing Up As A StereotypePromoting falsehoods that are used to further oppress and dehumanize a culture that is not yours is not okay. Even if it's your culture, I hope you have enough good sense to realize that you're not helping yourself by being self deprecating to appease the sense of humor of the school of thought that's oppressing you in the first place (really, I know a black man who ironically wears a Confederate flag onesie). Since stereotypes are often so cartoonish, it feels okay to wear these costumes because you know the people of this culture aren't like this in real life, but that doesn't mean the effects of dressing up as the corresponding stereotype isn't fundamentally offensive. So, put down the sombreros, turbans, afro wigs, and kimonos, everybody. Not today (or ever).Source: HalloweenCostumes.com
Your Costume Promotes HateDressing up as the KKK, a Nazi, or a member of ISIS obviously promotes an ideology of hate. Even if you mean it to be a joke because you obviously wouldn't ever be a member of these organizations, it isn't funny and it's definitely offensive. You don't have to dress as a member of a large, organized hate group to still promote hate with your Halloween costume. You can combine blackface with domestic violence and pretty much come up with an outrageously offensive costume that makes everyone's skin crawl. For those of you who forgot, Ray Rice, a player on the Baltimore Ravens, was caught on tape beating his wife, Janay Palmer, in an elevator. People actually dressed up as that for Halloween. Domestic violence isn't funny, but since it's in current events, you get to be #topical and #edgy, right? So wrong. So very, very wrong. It still promotes hate and belittles a larger problem that is suffered by many people by turning it into a joke. But, speaking of bad NFL costumes, is everybody else looking forward to the super offensive Colin Kaepernick that are bound to happen this year? *eye roll* Source: Keith Olbermann via Twitter
You've Altered Your Skin Color With MakeupUgh, I can't believe I have to say this, but blackface isn't okay. Yellow face isn't okay. Painting your face to look like a different skin tone of someone more oppressed than you is never okay. Same thing goes for using tape to make your eyes almond shaped so you can dress up as an Asian person. While we're at it, afro wigs suck - you're bound to see a thousand of these every Halloween, but while black people continually get reprimanded at work, school, and in the US Military for the way their hair naturally grows out of their scalp, you can't don that wig for fun. You can dress as a celebrity, fictional character, or other person of your choice that is not of the same race you are. Ellen dressed as Nicki Minaj last year and crushed it WHILE NOT DOING BLACKFACE. IMAGINE THAT. It's entirely possible. All you have to do to dress as this person is still wear your costume, except don't paint your face black, Julianne Hough. Her Crazy Eyes costume would be acceptable and cute if it weren't for her blatant disrespect.Source: NY Daily News
You're Worried About Who You'll Run Into Dressed Like This"Ooh, I hope I don't run into anyone who's transgender," you think, while wearing this god awful Caitlyn Jenner costume. You know you're being offensive when you have to be careful about who you're okay with and not okay with seeing your costume. You know that certain people will be offended and call you out and people within your own class of privilege will find it non-threatening and might be more open to thinking your costume is funny. Either way you slice it, your costume is wrong and offensive and you should probably just dress as something else.Source: Huffington Post
You're Dressing Up As A Marginalized GroupOh, boy. Dressing up as a character from Orange Is The New Black? Pretty okay because it's somebody specific from a fictional program (just don't paint your face black, oh my god). Dressing up as an ambiguous prisoner because you love prison dramas? Not so much. Buying a costume called "jail bait" because statutory rape is hilarious? Even worse. America has a huge issue with it's prison system and prisoners are largely marginalized. If you need a handy go-to guide for wondering if your costume is of a marginalized group of people, ask yourself if you are afforded more rights and privileges than them. If you are, don't do it. It's as simple as that. Putting on a costume that mimics or makes fun of the every day struggles of people is not okay.Source: Costumes4Less
You Have To Find A Non-Offensive Way To Explain ItSee, it's funny because it's a play on Hooters, only instead of large breasts, they're saggy because saggy breasts suck and aren't at all desirable like the ones at Hooters - and it's funny because I'm a cisgender dude and I don't have boobs. Get it? It's a joke! You've practiced and rehearsed a well researched rebuttal for when someone gets offended by your costume. Why? Because you know it's going to happen because you know, deep in your heart, that you're being offensive and you don't care. Your sense of humor outweighs anyone else's justified outrage. You can't just say what you are. Part of your costume is tailoring explaining your costume to whoever you're around. That's a whole lot of work and effort put into tap dancing around what your costume is: totally asinine and definitely offensive.Source: Spirit Halloween
You Have To Cite Examples Of This Costume Being Cute In The Past"Well, my mom looks really cute in this Indian cheif costume in this #tbt so it's totally okay and vintage if I just wear her old stuff, right?" People who get nostalgic for the "good old days" when you could be as racist, sexist, and homophobic as you wanted are people you need to stay away from. For starters, stop saying indian chief. Using the excuse that because someone else did it, it makes it totally okay for you to do the same thing is an excuse tried by toddler and children, and to be honest, it doesn't even work when they use it. You sound childish when you try to use this excuse to justify a misguided costume idea when people tell you that you're being offensive. The past is irrelevant when we all know better and have learned from our mistakes.Source: CostumeDiscounters.com
You're Just Doing It For The AttentionYour main point of your costume is to cause as much hubbub as you can with your *~cleverness~* because to you, even bad attention is good attention. Dressing as a Syrian refugee, for example, is a one way ticket to getting slapped. Who thought it was a good idea to dress as a rape victim? Oh, but it's okay because you're dressing up as the rape victim in the act of getting raped by Bill Cosby and it's okay because he makes funny faces, talks about Jello, and wears hilarious sweaters. Um, no. Why? You're being so controversial and edgy, people just don't get your genius, right? When rape apologists are such a problem and we as a society have such a difficulty believing rape victims to the point of rapes going unreported and Brock Turner being released from jail after a laughable amount of time, you can see how this isn't a joke. It's offensive, repulsive, and it's never okay.Source: DailyMail
What’s the worst offensive Halloween costume you’ve seen? How do you know when something is offensive? Let us know in the comments!
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