“We’re a Culture, Not a Costume”

Whenever Halloween rolls around, I inevitably think of Mean Girls. Cady, the main character goes to a house party dressed as a zombie bride. When asked why she is dressed so scary, she simply states, “It’s Halloween.” She soon learns however that Halloween is not for fun, creative costumes. Instead, “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

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The notion that “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a slut” warrants a blog post all its own, but for this particular post, I would like to focus on something just as disturbing. I think it’s also fair to say that Halloween is the one time of year where people find it acceptable to dress in completely inappropriate and racist costumes. Last year, I went to a Halloween party dressed as Albus Dumbledore, my favorite character from the Harry Potter series. A white guy came up to me clad in a stereotypical Native American costume.

“Isn’t that inappropriate? You know he’s dead, right?”

Um. What?

Sigh.

Yes, I do know that he is dead. No, I do not think this costume is inappropriate. I’d be glad to discuss why you think that, but first, can we focus on your costume for a minute?

Your costume reinforces stereotypes. Dressing in a costume reflecting a culture or race is not funny. It’s offensive and demeaning and should not be tolerated.

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Students at Ohio University agree and have created an awesome picture campaign to raise awareness of this issue, using the tagline “We’re a culture, not a costume.”  The campaign has captured nation wide attention and will hopefully slow the annual epidemic that is inappropriate, offensive costumes.

Check out some of the flyers included in the campaign below. What do you think of this campaign? What is your costume this Halloween? Let us know in the comments below!

And if for some unthinkable reason you have not seen Mean Girls, or you just want to see it again, we have it in our feminist library for check out. Have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

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