October is a magical month. The leaves begin changing colors and the feeling of fall truly settles in all around us. From carving pumpkins to drinking hot coffee to Halloween there’s no shortage of reasons to love this time of year.
But with Halloween comes costumes and with costumes comes ignorance.
When Halloween first began the intention behind wearing costumes was to ward off evil spirits. In 2018, however, a time when evil spirits are freely sitting in the Supreme Court and in the Oval Office, it stands to reason that costumes have evolved.
These days, Halloween is about three things: candy, tricks, and sexiness. With costumes ranging from Sexy Mr. Peanut to Sexy Minion it is clear that in this day and age the only thing we have to be afraid of is not being provocative enough.
Luckily, finding the perfect fitting Sexy Goldfish costume isn’t a problem. In fact, it may very well be too easy. The issue is when white people decide to take the culture of various ethnic groups and turn that into a Halloween costume.
Crazy right? Apparently not, considering that costumes like “Native American Woman Costume” exist.
It seems ludicrous that this conversation even needs to be had, but culture is not a costume.
Blackface is not a costume.
Dressing as a different race is not a costume.
Yes, I’m sure that in 2013 when “Dancing with the Stars” alum Julianna Hough decided to dress as “Crazy Eyes” from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” that she meant simply to show her love for Uzo Aduba’s character – but instead, Hough donned blackface and darkened her hair in order to take her costume to the next level.
This is wrong.
Of course, Hough made an apology and as is so often the case with cultural appropriation the white person at fault was forgiven. But what’s horrifying is the fact that this continues to happen.
One would think that in our generation it would go without saying that blackface is a bad move.
Hilary Duff’s once boyfriend, Jason Walsh, was photographed with Duff around Halloween 2016 dressed as a Native American. Scott Disick in 2013 donned traditional Arabian clothing. Model Heidi Klum dressed as Hindu Goddess Kali in 2008 – the list of atrocities goes on and on and has been for eons.
While many may want to take the Kim Kardashian approach to cultural appropriation and claim it to be cultural appreciation, the fact of the matter is that – again – culture is not a costume.
However, that doesn’t stop costume stores from selling “Sexy Native American” costumes or costumes that sexualize Calaveras, or sugar skulls, that are typically representative of The Day of the Dead – which, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with Halloween.
Tragically, Halloween-ified cultural appropriation isn’t going to vanish until these costumes stop being marketed or until America wakes up and realizes that a culture is not some novelty like a clown that one can dress up as in order to collect candy or go to a party.
This has nothing to do with oversensitivity, an argument that gets thrown at Millennials and GenZers quite frequently. This is simply a conversation of right and wrong – and appropriating anyone’s culture is, without question, wrong.