The glorious season of pumpkin-carving and slut-shaming is drawing to a close on this, pre-Christmas eve, and, quite frankly, I’m happy to see it go.
Remember the good ol’ days? You know, when we’d put our decidedly non-sexy homemade costumes over our snowsuits and hit up the good neighbourhoods for full-size chocolate bars and chips? And then we’d snuggle in with hot chocolate, watch It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, chuckle knowingly at the “I got a rock” line and call it a night? Yeah, me too.
Then adults got a hold of it and now Halloween is essentially used as a permission slip to be a terrible and tasteless human being. THANKS FOR RUINING EVERYTHING, EVERYONE.
And so, in honour of this once-wonderful time of year, here are 10 things we at SIAC hate about Halloween. In no particular order because, let’s face it, it’s all just a steaming pile of pumpkin-spice vom.
1. People dressing up in blackface. Still. In 2013.
What in the actual fuck? Why is this a thing that seems to be happening with alarming frequency? BLACK FACE IS NEVER OK. It’s racist. It was always racist. It will always be racist.
And yet, people continue to do it — like this dude, who showed up to Winnipeg nightclub Stereo and whose photo was published on the club’s Facebook page.
Or the whole debacle surrounding Julianne Hough, who darkened her skin to dress up as Crazy Eyes from Orange Is The New Black.
And then, of course, there’s the guy who donned blackface and a bloody hoodie to go as Trayvon Martin.
And not only do people continue to do it, people continue to debate it. “Is Dressing Up in Blackface Ever OK?” asked headlines this week. NO. THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS NO. This isn’t hard.
2. People defending blackface as a legitimate costume choice.
“It’s just a joke!” NOT FUNNY. “But I have black friends!” SO? “But I’m not a racist!” SO YOU JUST PLAY ONE ON HALLOWEEN? “How else is am I supposed to dress up as [insert black celeb].” PICK A DIFFERENT COSTUME. To those who claim they don’t see anything wrong with blackface or “didn’t know it was racist”:
O RLY? You didn’t know blackface was racist? Minstrelsy is a part of recent history and used blackface to other, dehumanize, mock and fetishize people via deeply hurtful, stereotyped caricatures. It is and always has been a disgusting display of privilege; white people play at being black people without having to ever actually live as a black person.
As many feminists of colour have suggested on Twitter, it’s not that people dressing up in blackface don’t know any better; it’s that they don’t care. (These also seem to be the same people that use the phrase ‘reverse racism.’ NOT A THING.)
As I’ve written before, wanting to don a pair of fishnets and animal ears is not some sort of punishable offense. If you want to dress as a sexy nurse/French maid/Scrabble board, cool. You do you.
I don’t believe in the policing of women’s bodies or choices on any other day of the year, and I don’t start on Oct. 31.
Also: let’s stop using the words ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ as adjectives for Halloween costumes. To quote Tina Fey in the modern cinema classic Mean Girls:
4. Rampant cultural appropriation.
Cultures are not costumes. CULTURES ARE NOT COSTUMES. You are not ‘appreciating’ or ‘celebrating’ someone’s culture by dressing up as this, this or this. No, what you’re actually doing is perpetuating, normalizing and, in the case of the skimpy iterations, sexualizing a stereotype. This hurts people. Real people.
5. This costume.
BECAUSE PINK FOR GIRLS!
6. Sexy as the only option.
If you lack time, energy or creativity for an awesome Halloween costume, or if you’re a semi-lazy procrastinator, or if you simply give no fux about Pinterest, your only option is a skimpy polyester number in a clear plastic bag. Not all ladies want a Sexy Halloween Costume TM. What if you want to be a regular Scrabble board, HUH? WHAT THEN?
7. This costume.
8. Sexy for kidz.
The sexualization of little girls is already a big fucking problem without a Katy Perry costume helping it along.
9. This costume.
“Music Award Man.” LOL, K.
10. Candy corn.
The worst of all the candy. It tastes like unscented candles.
Happy Halloween, Screamers!