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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

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bluemystique82
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

I have a question... a person on my friend's list on LJ dressed up as a black girl. She painted her skin and put on a wig and did all sorts of things... gave herself the 70's type look. Is this offensive to anyone? I've read the majority of these posts and they seem extremely logical. I can see how these types of costumes can offend people of other races and cultures... so yeah... are you opposed to whites dressing as blacks? This girl went to the EXTREME to make herself looks like a POC. I was astonished when I saw the pic of her. (fyi... she's also obsessed with being a POC... she wishes she was one... so it's wasn't just a costume idea... it's what she WANTS to be... KWIM?)

Lainey
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

I would say that is pretty offensive blue.

I dressed up as Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill. I made the costume myself, I didn't buy the skin tight jumpsuit they sell in stores (which actually is really different from the costume). Since I was a child my costumes have always been home made. As a baby I was dressed as a devil, as a child, often a belly dancer or a unicorn. Mostly my costumes since I've been choosing my own have been from movies and pop culture. Wednesday Adams from the Adams Family. Drusilla (vampire) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I've had a few "sexy" costumes. The year before last I was Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. That was as risque as I ever got for Halloween! Last year I was the evil stepmother from Snow White. And this year Kill Bill! I wanted to be Beatrix because she is powerful, very beautiful I think, the costume was gruesome and I loooove Kill Bill. I dyed a white sweatsuit yellow, used black electrical tape for stripes, and then used a make up brush to realistically splash fake blood all over it.

As far as dressing up "sexy" and what not that is never my first consideration when choosing a costume. I love Halloween, I love carving pumpkins, candy, cheesy decorations and all the kids dressed up. I LOVE to dress up. I'm not seeking to make myself objectified here. I want to play, to have fun, and most importantly wear an awesome costume that I've created myself.

Cultural appropriation is not cool. But Halloween is a night when I tend to let that slide. Children are not dressing up to be offensive, and neither are most adults. But then again I am not from an oppressed culture or race. So who am I to say what is offensive or not.

naivete
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Blue - I would say that the costume has high risk for offending people, whatever her intent actually was.

leilia wrote:
But then again I am not from an oppressed culture or race. So who am I to say what is offensive or not.

Thank you, for recognizing that fact. IMO, it is up to the oppressed people to decide what's offensive, not anyone else. It may not be with the intent to offend, but it's not up to privileged people to decide whether or not people are allowed to be offended.

bluemystique82
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

My intent wasn't to offend anyone with my post... I'm sorry if I did. I was just wondering. I dressed up as a movie character too... but her costume wasn't based on a an actual character... that's why I was asking.

julie
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

just to clarify, the purpose of my post in this thread wasn't to offend or take sides, but to discuss cultural appropriation and why it can be difficult to navigate.

mae
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

When I think of people who wear costumes that depict opressed cultures, I always think of when men dress as women; as a costume, not a way of life. When men dress as women on Halloween, they take on "female" characteristics and mannerisms. They have a limp wrist, whine about broken nails, act helpless....every stereotypical, possible negative aspect that women are supposed to embody. When do men dress as women who can juggle kids, errands, possibly work? Never. They act in a way which basically makes fun of women.
That's what upsets me so much about dressing up as opressed cultures. Most do not do it out of admiration. They take on every horrible aspect that society says certain group is famous for. Last night I saw men dressed as native americans with beer bottles and running around, screaming and doing some cheesy as fuck fake powow. It's all a joke, though...right? Who is punchline of said vote?

naivete
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Who's the punchline of that? Me.

I understand what you mean about men dressing as women. It's very offensive, the fake breasts, the helpless/ditzy act that they put on with the 'costume'. It's horrible and definitely stereotypes and furthers the oppression of women.

winter_fairy
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Quote:
i think the reason a lot of them ARE that way is because that is what sells.

that's exactly what it is. sex sells. period. so does insecurity. when you mix the two, it's an automatic cash crop. i think that advertisements in general feed so much off of the low-self esteem of many women in our society, making them feel (though not consciousely) that their sexuality is their only or at least their main asset. and a lot of us buy it. it's reinforced over and over again by comercials .. buy this and you'll look beautiful, sexy, young. if you don't, you arent worth anything (even if you are a strong, intelligent, witty, independant person with your own ideas and opinions).

this being said, i'm definately not one to censor costumes or everyday wear. on the contrary, many of my clothes are form fitting and many are somewhat revealing (especially since i've only bought two or three maternity shirts and the rest of the time i just wear my normal tee shirts, which now creep up past my belly button).

i think that women need to take their sexuality into their own hands and be very aware of what the media tries to tell them and what their own feelings are on it. choosing to dress in a revealing costume isn't necessarily degrading or offensive in itself, but one must look deeper into it and think about their own motivations, feelings and opinions. also, think "how does this affect other women?" if it's a stereotypically "sexy" outfit, might it give others (particularly others who might look up to you) the wrong idea about their own worth?

FunkyMomma
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

maja wrote:

However if a POC wants to dress up as a white (you know, have a knit jumper over your shoulders the whole suburabnite drag) that might be kinda subversive.

.

My friend Eric dressed as a "Young Republican" a few years ago. I thought it was a funny and sort of similar idea. :)

naivete
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Halloween's in a month, bumping this up as it is good food for thought, and some people are probably thinking of costume ideas now.

Earth_moves
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

THANK YOU MAJA!

I was raised by a Pagan mother, and the idea of kids with green warts on their noses drives me up the wall. I'm all about honouring those who have gone before us, and those who were taken through persecution. Candles, Good Food, and carving a Pumpkin!!!

My mom never limited my ability to dress up for Halloween Parties at school, or afterwards however. I was a Witch, hmmmmm, most years. But she always did my make-up.... and I was always incredibly beautiful. We used it as a celebratory occasion. And I can guarantee that if I have a girl, her Grandma will have her dressed as a Witch. In fact, the costume is already bought/made. Also being Hungarian I can see how sometimes it's just downright hurtful to see the "The Gypsy" costumes. But you really have to look at where it's coming from. In a lot of cases, it's not surprising... With this costume idea and many others.... You just have to chose to wield the pen and not lower yourself to being too upset because some people just do not know any better.

I think that making a costume also avoids having to wear "The Sexy Nurse" if you don't approve. Second Hand Shops are fantastic. I've never worn a bought costume in my life... We always made it, and my mom is not a seamstress by all means!!!!!!!!!! Trust me there.

Earth_moves
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Oh, and since sex sells, and everyone wants to feel sexy sometime.... Halloween is KNOWN for allowing people to dress in costumes few could blow their nose on.... You can get away with it. Wear it on October 30th, and you'll be called a slut, wear it on the 31st, and people are impressed. I don't think it's right, but it's how it is. Everyone lets their hair fall down a bit.

naivete
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Being upset isn't "lowering" yourself, it's your right when you're faced with oppression and prejudice, and I'd rather let people know that insulting appropriation and offensiveness towards groups of people isn't cool, so that they may know better.

Earth_moves
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That would be what yielding a pen means. Or in this case a keyboard.

Earth_moves
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

And, in the situations where children are being disrespectful, you should mention it to the parents, because that's where the child most likely got the behaviour to begin with. Regardless of who you are, or what they are dressed as.

Simply being beside yourself upset, won't improve anything. And Girl Mom has a very limited audience.

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

ive never celebrated halloween because of religios reasons. first off most of mainstream society doesnt realize how comericalized all these holidays are. halloween-sells candy , christmans-sainticlause, presents, easter- easter bunny, more candy... we feed into these holidays that are just promoted by the business industry. its very interesting the whole sex side of halloween costumes. on one hand you have society telling you, you cant show your body or you are what they say you are, loose, immoral. women let society tell them how to dress, if you dont want to be judged you cover up. then there is the side that wonders why we want to reveal? what makes us want to shove our goods up and out of tight clothing? personally my take is, as a progressive woman ( or at least im trying to be, and dont speak for all woman) if i want to dress a certain way, i will and wont allow the world to attach their judgements to me and make me conform to their sterotpye ( ie. revealing clothing or flashy makeup means im easy or immoral) but i also question what in my upbring lures me to reveal myself? society dictates what a " good woman " looks like and what a " loose woman" looks like, i say there isnt a difference. i believe its whats in the inside and not the outside is what makes us beautiful. i know that phrase is so played out, but its true, ive met woman i judged as loose who were beautiful souls, and conservitive woman who did everything right, who were terrible people. just my perspective.

erinn
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

since being here for the last four years ive been very thoughtful of holloween. i can say yes or no to whatever it is my kid wants to be

thank gooddddess she wants to be an ice princess this year.

Earth_moves
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Well put Melissa.

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Yeah - being a pagan makes this holiday a little odd to navigate. On the one hand, I feel like the culture pretty much shits all over ALL of my holy days - but somehow, Samhain is beat up the worst. First, they completely commericialize a sacred day and make it a cultural joke I have to be surrounded by for a good month every year. But then there are the Xtian (I won't give them their real name because what they do don't have shit to do with Christ) fuckwads who stand about in the entrance to the train station I take every day with big signs that say that celebrating halloween makes you evil and that the pagans are just trying to steal your souls.

Sometimes I don't know which one pisses me off more.

As far as costumes - I find the fact that it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find attractive costumes for women that AREN'T slutty. I mean, I was looking for a pirate costume as my whole family was going to dress up as pirates. My son was really easy, and my husband was able to find something decent quickly. It took me 3 weeks to find something that wasn't god-awful slutty. I mean, the worst had to be the "Captain Hooker" costume.

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Hey, I don't mean to invalidate your feelings, but the part about christians could be very insulting to a person of that religion.

I know that it's hard to deal with some people from mainstream religions (I'm pagan too), and I especially understand how it feels to watch your festival bastardized by candy companies, but we should try not to let our anger get in the way of the issues. Many of those people are just misunderstanding our religion. I've been called everything from an animal sacrificer to an evil satanic worshipper (ex boyfriend).

I think we just need to approach the issue gently, and with understanding for others. We all just need to see things from a different angle.

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

That wasn't against all christians - just the ones who seem to think that the religion involves spreading hatred against others. Having previously actually been a christian, I've read the teachings of christ and hate has nothing to do with it.

I apologize if it was offensive to anyone.

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Bump-- this is a very important topic to think about around halloween, and really all year round.

Please discuss!

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

I was never allowed to celebrate halloween, my parents thought it was a "satanic" holiday. So, for the few years after I moved out I was halloween obsessed. In the past few years I've been a sexy fairy (a freezing cold one), a soccer player, a person in a bikini holding a beach ball (me in my bikini, holding my pregnant belly), and a child's version of a superhero (Striped tights, baggy soccer shorts, a t-shirt and a colorful beach towel around my shoulders). Those last three years I spent no money because I had none.
My halloween drive may be fading... I haven't gotten excited yet.

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

adcaela wrote:
a person in a bikini holding a beach ball (me in my bikini, holding my pregnant belly)

That's amazingly cute. Do you have pictures? How far along were you at the time?

I sympathize with the Pagans. Often their religious views aren't treated with much respect, and aspects of this denigration are integrated into Halloween rituals. At the same time, I don't see it as Christians appropriating Pagan holidays. Christianity spread across Europe, but before they were Christian, they were Pagan. Halloween isn't a Christian holiday. Halloween survived, because people who were Pagan retained their rituals and holidays after converting to Christianity. The ritual of Halloween has obviously evolved significantly, but I don't think that being a secular ritual makes it less important or valid than a religious one. As a culture, a day has been sanctioned for role reversal and letting off steam. I think it is important to maintain these rituals, while maintaining respect for other cultures. I think the discussion of race and the like about costumes was very beneficial in that regard. As a vegan, I'm not sure how my child will preserve these traditions, but I lean towards saying that they are important to maintain.

chatdelheure
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

The pagans didn't keep the holiday alive publically - they couldn't. If they were caught practicing rituals they were killed/burned/whatever. It was easier to convert Pagans if the Christians "adopted" their holidays and made them something else (ie. Yuletide).

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

i do think it's incredibly rude to dress as someone of another race and culture in a mocking way, but i also think that dressing as the heroes of that race in order to celebrate them, is pretty alright. keep in mind, i'm talking about kids. if my child wanted to dress up as pocahontas or harriet tubman, i would be cool with that. but i definitely wouldn't let her dress up, stick feathers in her hair, and jump around having a fake powwow because that's totally disrespectful. although i don't have any Native friends, i like to keep in mind when looking for costumes for myself and my child, how terrible i would feel if i saw someone dressed as gay or lesbian person, and perpetuating the stereotypes that really hurt my gay or lesbian friends.

in reference to the post about the girl whose friend dressed as a "black girl," I am not a POC and it outraged me. i can't even imagine what it would be like to see something that so mocked everything that i held dear or was personal to me.

for halloween last year (i was pregnant), i went as pregnant britney spears, because we were both pregnant at the same time, and it was a cheap and easy costume. i was going to be a pregnant nun for a little while, but then i thought that might be offensive, even to some members of my family, since we are catholic.

i don't know. it's really hard to say. i guess if you think, "this might be really damn insulting to someone," when you see the costume, you probably shouldn't buy/wear/make it.

notyouraveragemomma
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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

This year I am beng a barmaid from back in the day (renasiance [sp?]) it covers a lot and I still look damn cute in it (ok, I'm full of myself tonight--just one of those days).. Last year a girl in my calc class was a cop. Her costume was...well...exactly what the OP described. The only way she could be wearing anything less would be if she went as Eve from the christian bible :shock: It was really distracting durring class for obvious reasons and even then I saw no reason for it to be ok to wear something like that on such a cold day and to SCHOOL no less. That outfit would NEVER be tolerated any other day--so why on Halloween? Don't get me wrong,--it's my favorite holiday.....but if I wanted to see that, I'd stand naked in front of a mirror, you know?

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Halloween and what Lies Beneath the Costume.

Okay, maybe I'm alone here, but I like dressing a little sexier on halloween. It's the only day of the year I can really get away with it without being completely judged. I like celebrating my body, especially since I've had matt, I'm just so much prouder of it than I used to be.

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