The Downright Offensive Halloween Costumes

The Downright Offensive

By: Rachelle Rowe

I’m not going to lie: I love Halloween. I’m a theatrical person. I love costumes, glitter and makeup. I am in no way ashamed of these facts. I am, however, ashamed of the delightfully offensive costumes that seemed to be marketed towards me each and every year.

It is always fun to slip into someone else’s skin. Halloween is the ideal time of year to do this. Yet, it is crucial to wear another person’s mask without offending them.

Gangsta, Geisha, Illegal Alien, Indian Princess, and Terrorist are not okay costumes. These are not accurate representations of races and cultures. To reduce various ethnicities to horrible parodies of a costume is also not okay.

Take my personal favorite offensive costume, “Chinese Take Out” that comes complete with chopsticks, a fortune cookie hat and a dress that reads “Enjoy” across the bust and “Thank you” across the crotch. First of all, this costume is in no way Chinese.  It is simply a stereotype of an Americanized version of what “Chinese” is. Second of all, the hyper-sexualization of this costume feeds into already too-prominent stereotypes of Asian women. Thirdly, well there is not thirdly, this costume is just wrong.

Even though this costume is blatantly offensive it is still sold out. Yes, you read correctly. Every single one of the “Chinese Take Out” costumes has been bought. But before these people bought this awful costume, did they question it’s level of taste ( no pun intended, I swear)? Did they ask themselves if they were going  to perpetuate stereotypes?

First of all these costumes should not be sold. But secondly, consumers need to stop buying them. So please, before you buy a Halloween costume, ask yourself if it is okay or if it is offensive. And if you have to ask yourself that question, maybe you should find a different costume. Because remember, it’s not a costume that you’re wearing, it’s a culture.


About Margaret Sloss Women's Center - ISU

The Margaret Sloss Women's Center promotes equity on the Iowa State University campus. Through a feminist lens, the center advocates for individuals and groups; provides support, referrals, community and programming; and maintains a safe space in the Sloss House.

Posted on October 28, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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