What not to dress up as this Halloween — plus costume ideas for feminists

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 10.53.18 AMHey feminists! This is a scary time of year, and I’m not talking about children dressed up as spiders (shudder). What I mean is, around this time of year, there are always some folks who think it’s okay, entertaining, or even funny, to dress up as other human beings.

I’m talking about those people who put on a poncho and say they are dressed up as a Mexican, or throw on a feathered headdress and tell people they’re going as an “Indian” for Halloween, as if other human beings are jokes to be dressed up as and mocked. Um, no.

Here’s some helpful advice: Don’t do this! Don’t be racist on Halloween! Don’t culturally appropriate!

What does that mean? It means to take images that represent, or pretend to represent, the culture of others.

The “Indian” costumes with feathered headdresses are a perfect example. Yes, this is a tradition in some Aboriginal cultures and tribes, but not for all, and it’s racist to just assume that this represents something meaningful when you yourself are not a part of that community. Also, these depictions are never done in respectful ways, they are always meant to make fun of people, which is racist, and reasserts that white people are “normal” and everyone else is wearing “costumes” that can be mocked.

Just don’t do that! It’s rude, racist and not funny. It’s 2015, that’s what people keep saying, which means let’s move beyond this style of immature “costumes” and actually be more creative, funny, smart, and political.

There are plenty of respectful costume ideas out there, and some are feminist too!


Image credit: Tumblr/cliffordstromberg